Santiago de Compostela, Spain

General Information

Regional secretariat

Administrative status

Capital of the Autonomous Community of Galicia

Old Town of Santiago de Compostela

Registration Year


Historical function


Location and site

In the northwestern corner of Spain, on an isolated site of high altitude, the town of Santiago de Compostela was erected in the midst of the hilly Galician landscape. The major pilgrimage routes of the Middle Ages – from Paris, Burgundy, Auvergne and Midi – converged on this site.

Urban morphology

The town of Santiago de Compostela is composed of an irregular network of streets which open onto squares, creating unexpected perspective views. The work of the 16th century, which involved the conservation of the monuments and urban fabric, is evident to this day.

In the historic centre, which possesses many monuments, Romanesque and Baroque styling mixes with elements inspired by Gothic, Renaissance and Neo-classical eras to create a harmonious ensemble. On the Plaza de España, which is a masterpeice of urban design, each of these styles is represented.

Registration criteria

“Around its Cathedral which is a world renowned masterpiece of Romanesque art, Santiago de Compostela conserves a valuable historic centre which is worthy of one of Christianity’s greatest holy cities.” (I) “[…] During both the Romanesque and Baroque periods the Sanctuary of Santiago exerted a decisive influence on the development of architecture and art not only in Galicia but also in the north of the Iberian Peninsula.” (II) “Santiago de Compostela is “associated with one of the major themes of medieval history.” (VI)

Historical reference

  • A basilica was erected on the burial site of Saint James The Greater around 818, under the reign of Alfonso II.
  • In 844, the battle of Clavijo took place; the victory of the Christians over the Muslims was attributed to the intervention of the apostle.
  • In 900, the Bishop’s Palace was transferred to Compostela from Iria Flavia.
  • In the 10th century, the first pilgrims arrived from France.
  • The town of Santiago de Compostela was destroyed by Muslim troops at the end of the 10th century. It was reconstructed in the 11th century and experienced, during both the 10th and 11th centuries, a period of great prestige. In 1164, the military and religious order of Saint James of the Sword was founded to protect the pilgrims.
  • The basilica became the symbol of Christian fervour and of the Reconquest. Until the 18th century, Santiago de Compostela was the most important pilgrimage destination in the entire Christian world.



Sr. Xosé A. Sánchez Bugallo

Ayuntamiento de Santiago de Compostela

Praza do Obradoiro s/nº
Santiago de Compostela, España

[email protected]

Sr. Jorge Duarte Vázquez

Concellería de Espazos Cidadáns, dereito á vivenda e mobilidade, Ayuntamiento de Santiago de Compostela

Concellaría de espazos urbanos, mobilidade e dereito á vivenda, praza do Obradoiro, 2º planta
Santiago de Compostela, España

981542326 / 981542326 / 981543036
[email protected]