It's not unusual to find some gaiteros playing bagpipes in the streets of Santiago de Compostela.
The gaita (bagpipes), is a tradicional instrument form Galicia (apart from Asturias, north of Spain, and some other places in Europe).
By Car: How Far/How Long...?
Santiago de Compostela is in Galicia, the northwest of Spain. From Madrid, take road A-6 and follow the signs.
Some road distances to Santiago de Compostela from:
- Madrid: 600 kms.
- Sevilla: 929 kms.
- Paris (France): 1.488 kms.
- Zagreb (Croatia): 2.526 kms.
Checking the website, you can find some more road distances together with the driving times and the best routes.
Catedral de Santiago (3/14): Pórtico de la Gloria
The main entrance (west façade), was completed in the year 1.188 with the masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture: The "Pórtico de la Gloria." Conceived as a vestibule of the Cathedral, this complex work sculpted by Maestro Mateo in only 20 years consists of three arches. It has more than 200 granite figures making a theological message centred on the idea of salvation.
Note: Unfortunately, it was under restoration, so, just two pics.
I went to Santiago again in October 2010 (Holy Year there), and there was a temporary exhibition were you can admire The Pórtico (although just through pics; third one).
Catedral de Santiago (7/14): Some Chapels
Among the chapels, I'd ike to point out four of them:
- Capilla de la Virgen del Pilar (main pic):
This chapel was the sacristy until 1.713 when Arbishop Antonio de Monroy dedicated it to the Virgen del Pilar, who is the Patroness of Spain.
- Capilla de San Antonio (second pic):
Parish of San Fructuoso in the past, the altarpiece dates back to the XVIIIth century.
- Capilla de Santiago Matamoros (third pic):
Sculpture from the second half of the XVIIIth century.
- Capilla de Santa Catalina (fourth pic):
Former Royal Pantheon.
Cathedral Portico of Glory- Head bangingly Good!
This facade is through the entrance door from the Obradoiro Square.
It was the first scene to greet early pilgrims, as it was the original facade to the Cathedral, before being covered with the 18th century Baroque outer wall.
I was quite fascinated by it, and spent quite a while looking at the various sculptures
This is an outstanding piece containing hundreds of finely sculpted statues and carvings which cover the columns and archways of the portico.
It was created in the 12th century by Master Mateo, between 1168 and 1188, on the orders of King Ferdinand 11 of Leon.
The sculptures depict the Last Judgement, with scenes and characters from the Old Testament.
Left arch - Joel and Hosea face Ezekiel and Habbakuk. At the top is Limbo
At the base of the 1st and 2nd column are Vices
Central Arch Left- Jeramiah, Daniel, Isaiah and Moses
Above the arch - The elderly Musicians of the Apocalypse sit above - Angels, The Faithful, Luke, John, Seated Christ, Mark and Matthew.
The Tree of Jesse, is between The apostle James ( Santiago) and The Heavenly Father on the thinner column.
The figure at the base is often mistaken for Maestro Mateo, where traditionally You bump Your head on it 3 times to acquire some of his genius -'MM' is actually to be found behind the portico, kneeling facing the altar
Another tradition is to place Your fingers in the 5 holes created in the marble above the sculptured head, and offer a brief prayer.
I didn't know of this tradition (until I read my guide book later) but I had instinctively placed my fingers in the eroded holes!
Central arch Right -Saints Peter, Paul, James the Pilgrim and John. Around the base are Vices
Saints Andrew, and Matthew face Philip and James the Lesser
Above these are Purgatory and Hell
UPDATE, as mentioned elsewhere in my page- visiting in Summer is a very different experience to 'off peak' You might have a long wait, and a battle to reach Mateo - I was quite surprised to see how crowded the Cathedral was.(pic 4 gives you an idea)