The name Santiago de Compostela derives from the name of its patron Saint, James and that fact that the sky in Galicia is full of stars. Compostela comes from the Latin Campus Stellae, or ‘field of stars’. It says it all really as the city of Santiago has a special feel to it that draws you in as it has done for millions of pilgrims who have trekked here over the millennia with the sole objective of finding a little bit of meaning.
Apart from the magnificent cathedral that has evolved over the centuries into a focal point for the many people who, every year, walk hundreds (sometimes thousands) of kilometres to stand before the tomb of St James, Santiago is now a modern city that boasts many attractions, most of which can be found on the excellent website devoted to all things from this exciting city.
Legend holds that the cathedral, which borders the main square, is the burial place of the mortal remains of the apostle James. The legend gained credence when, in 813, according to the ancient story, a bright star led a shepherd to the burial site in Santiago de Compostela. On learning of this discovery, the bishop of Iria declared that the remains were those of the apostle James. The news was immediately transmitted to King Alfonso II who, in turn, started the building of the cathedral on the spot where the remains of the saint were reported to have been found.
Since then there have been reports of many miracles, all of which have bolstered the legend and has ensured that the city has been a sanctuary for pilgrimage for thousands of years. And many other attractions await today’s pilgrims. More than ever and the city continues to open its doors with its hospitality and good food acting as a beacon of faith.