Spain Guide


Santiago de Compostela History

The city of Santiago owes its origins to Saint James ("Santiago") who visited this part of Spain to preach Christianity. At the time, the area's Latin name was Finis Terrae, meaning the End of the World as it then appeared to be.

Saint James was tortured and murdered by the Romans after his return to Palestine in 44 AD. His body was retrieved by fellow disciples and brought back to northern Spain for a secret burial in a wood.

The apostle's final resting place was discovered in the 9th century and a chapel was built in his name. The chapel later became a magnificent cathedral around which the town developed and the famous Santiago Way was born.

Visitors from around the world still make the journey along the Camino de Santiago although for many these days it's more of a holiday than a religious pilgrimage.

The city's history makes it the third holiest religious site in the Christian world, after Jerusalem and Rome. In 1993 the entire city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

The Santiago Way has been designated as the First European Cultural Itinerary if you've got a few weeks to spare and a sturdy constitution it's a great way to explore northern Spain.