Santo Domingo de la Calzada is a city, as its name and founding would suggest, closely connected to the St. James's Way. The cultural richness and the character of this town come from the heritage of a medieval past full of legends and traditions, and the passage of millions of people from all nationalities that cross these lands on the way to Compostela.
Saint James way already passed through here before the area was even populated. There was only an oak forest to which the hermit Saint Dominic withdrew. In his eagerness to help thousands of pilgrims that walked to Compostela, he decided to mark a way to a small temple for praying, a hospital, and to a bridge to cross the mighty Oja river. Now on his tomb there is a sickle preserved as a relic, which according to the legend was used by the saint to cut down the oaks.
Nowadays, the city is still devoted to the Way. There have been millions of pilgrims that have passed through this land, and all of them find Santo Domingo to be a city that is ready to receive them, with lodging and services that meet their needs, including two National Paradors. At the Interpretation Center of St. James's Way, all visitors can "feel" the spirit of the Jacobean route through the interactive exhibit.
Santo Domingo is the city of legends. The most well known is the one about the rooster and the hen, which is the reason why there is a henhouse with a pair of live animals in the cathedral. The legend goes as follows: "A German couple and their young son go on a pilgrimage to Compostela. Upon arriving in Santo Domingo, they stay at an inn. The daughter of the innkeeper falls in love with the boy, but since he did not love her back, she decides to take revenge by hiding a silver cup in the boy's luggage. When he leaves the city, the daughter reports the theft. When he was checked, the cup was found among his belongings, and as a result, he is accused of theft and sentenced to hang. His parents continued the pilgrimage and when they returned, they realize that their son is still alive, hanging from the gallows, because Saint Dominic is holding him up from below. They go tell the city's chief magistrate about what had happened. However, being sceptical, he says that the boy is as alive as the roasted hen and rooster that he was about to eat at that moment. Immediately, the birds recover their feathers and come back to life, bearing witness to the astonishing miracle." This is where the saying comes from that says: "Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where the hen sang after being roasted".
Since 1993, Santo Domingo de La Calzada has had a German sister city, Winnenden, and this legend units them. In Winnenden, there is an altarpiece that contains a wood carving of the miracle of the pilgrim who was unjustly hanged, which the legend says took place in Santo Domingo de La Calzada.
The Bridge built by the saint seems to have also been a subject of legend, as for example, the legend of the wheel: "A pilgrim who was sleeping at the bridge entrance was run over by a wagon loaded with rocks pulled by a couple heifers that had gone astray. The saint intervened to bring him back to life."
Another one of the saint's famous miracles is the miracle of the sickle, with which it is said he cut down an entire oak forest. "The saint asked the inhabitants of the area if they would allow him to cut down only the trees that he could using a simple wheat-harvesting sickle. The locals, amused, allowed him to do so, until they saw how easily that miraculous sickle cut down all types of trees." That sickle is located on the saint's tomb. In August, the theatrical performance of "The Miracles of the Saint," takes place in the town.