Pilgrims in the Cathedral

The main purpose of the Pilgrimage to Santiago is to arrive at the Cathedral of Compostela and venerate the Saint Apostle. There pilgrims, apart from fulfilling an spiritual mission, can admire one of the most magnificent centres of holy art, that offers beautiful attractions, some of them unique.


The Holy Door is only opened in Holy Years, that is, when the feast day of Santiago falls on a Sunday. It is opposite the Obradoiro Square and it contains elements from the former Stone Choir created by Maestro Mateo. Pilgrims should walk in the Cathedral through this door.

The tomb of the Apostle -which caused the pilgrimage- can be visited from the two doorways leading to the Ambulatory. The holy relics of Santiago and his two disciples, Teodoro and Anastasio are preserved in silver caskets.

The relics were lost for three centuries, after the Archbishop San Clemente removed them to a safe place for fear that Drake, the pirate, would disembark at Santiago.

The image of the Apostle that dominates the Mayor Chapel -a wonder by Maestro Mateo- is traditionally hugged by pilgrims. 

The Doorway of Glory is the greatest masterpiece of the Cathedral.

Inside, you should perform the pagan rite of the bumps. It consists of trying to reach a branch from a mullion, beneath the figure known as the saint of bumps. It is believed to impart talents and wisdom to whoever bumps his forehead against it. The pillar beneath the figure of Santiago bears finger marks on the stone made by pilgrims.

Finally, you should also view the Botafumeiro, a huge incense burner, the Berenguela bell, not working anymore, the equestrian statue of Santiago and the High Altar.