The ancient city of Santiago de Compostela is a wonderful place to visit at any time, especially the old town. Its attractive squares, magnificent buildings, and narrow streets are atmospheric and captivating, especially so if you’ve arrived there after making the epic walking journey along the Camino de Santiago.
That’s why we’re excited to share two pieces of good news. We hope they will spark your enthusiasm for following the Portuguese Camino trail in 2021 or 2022.
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is now fully restored
The 800-year-old cathedral is now gleaming in its full splendour after a decade of restoration works on this magnificent monument, just in time for Holy Year.
The meticulous project began in 2009 when an in-depth analysis revealed 534 issues that needed intervention, ranging from structural damage to deteriorating stonework. Over the past few years, the roofs, crypt, stained glass windows, sculptures, façade and main chapel have been expertly cleaned and repaired.
Perhaps the most significant improvement has been the work on the Romanesque Portico of Glory. This elaborately adorned entrance to the cathedral was commissioned by King Ferdinand II of Leon in 1168 and only fully completed in 1211, by which time the king was Alfonso IX.
Originally painted in colour and repainted in previous centuries, the sculptures of the Portico of Glory had become dull and grey. Nine years and 6 million euros later, much of the original colour has been recovered, making it a joyful, as well as impressive, double archway.
The renovations not only spruced up the paint, gilt and stonework, they also exposed surprises. Many artistic details that had previously been hidden under centuries of grime have been discovered.
Even if you’ve already visited Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, these are plenty of good reasons to return.
Holy Year has been extended
You probably know that 2021 is a Holy Year if you’re already a Camino fan. This occurs when Saint James’ Day (25th July) falls on a Sunday.
Since that doesn’t happen very often, there are celebrations and special events in Santiago de Compostela and along the pilgrim trails to mark the occasion.
A Holy Year is also an opportunity to get a complete absolution on your sins, thanks to the plenary indulgence that was first established by Pope Calixto II in 1122.
As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic means that international travel is still very much restricted for the time being. Because of these exceptional circumstances, the Pope has pronounced the extension of this Holy Year throughout 2022.
This gives more people the opportunity to travel to Santiago de Compostela in safety, whether on foot, by bike or by other means. This way, you won’t have to miss out on the festive and spiritual atmosphere of Holy Year if it’s not possible to make the journey in 2021.
Our tireless team is available to help all those who wish to discover the Camino de Santiago in a calm and comfortable way.