Church of Santiago de Compostela: Romanesque Transition from Medieval to Gothic

Construction of the Church of Santiago de Compostela began in the 11th Century and continued 150 years until completed.  (1075 to 1122)   Will Durant claims that it contains the finest Romanesque sculpture in Europe.  It also became the ultimate goal of one of several Christian pilgrimages, beginning in the arduous time of the first crusades.

The website at  provides a most colorful oral history of the Cathedral in a piece entitled, Santiago de Compostela: The Pilgrim’s Road:

Santiago de Compostela is named after James the Apostle. After preaching the gospel in Spain, he returned to Palestine, where he was beheaded by Herod Agrippa in 44 AD. His followers stole his body and moved it to an undisclosed location. In 813 AD, his body was found after a hermit was said to have followed a star to it.  A church was built on the site (now the cathedral), and the town of Santiago de Compostela rose around it.

In 844, at the Battle of Clavijo, the Apostle is said to have appeared riding a horse. He led the Christians armies to defeat the Moors and became “Santiago Matamoros” – St. James the Moor Slayer, and Patron Saint of Spain.

See for the source of the following photograph of the cathedral:

See for pictures of the exterior, interior and treasures of this cathedral.

See for an excellent description of the cathedral’s history and photographs of its exterior, interior, and art. Durant describes this cathedral as containing a great wealth of Romanesque art.


Links to my site:


Graphic Arts




Home Page


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s