12 museums you should visit if you travel to Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is a universal city, made in time and by time.

Known as one of the major spiritual centers of Europe, it has been able to transform itself into a modern city and preserve its place as a cultural reference in history.

One of the best ways to learn about its past, its art and customs, is by visiting the many museums that line its streets.

If you travel to Santiago, we suggest a visit to one of these 12 museums of special tourist interest: it is inside the Cathedral of Santiago. Here we can see exhibitions of material from excavations in the basilica.

It has three independently accessible areas:

  • Crypt of the Portico de la Gloria (under the steps of the facade of the Obradoiro): it houses reproductions of the musical instruments of the Portico de la Gloria.
  • Royal Pantheon and Cathedral Treasury: in the Royal Pantheon are the tombs of the Kings of Galicia and the Altarpiece of Relics with valuable gold pieces. The Cathedral Treasury is spectacular. It has liturgical elements, pieces of gold, ivory and crystal.
  • Cloister spaces: with four floors previously closed and now open to visitors.

It houses pieces of great historical and documentary value, such as the founding parchment of the temple (1136), pieces of the old Romanesque cloister and liturgical objects in gold and silver. It is located in the Monastery of San Paio de Antealtares.

It treasures some exceptionally valuable pieces such as the primitive altar over the tomb of St. James the Apostle or a unique copy of a 1610 edition of the Rule of St. Benedict. Famous for Pérez Lugin’s novel “La casa de la Troya” (The House of Troy), which describes the student atmosphere in Santiago at the end of the 19th century.

It is located in the Rúa de la Troia and is only open during the summer months. It is located in the monumental area of Santiago, in a 15th century building known as “Casa Gótica”.

Its function is to project the importance of the Camino de Santiago for European and Latin American culture throughout history.

It is divided into 8 rooms:

  • The Pilgrimage: A Ritual Way of Pilgrimage.
  • Origins of the Jacobean cult: The translation of the body of St. James.
  • Santiago, Cathedral and city: The tomb of the Apostle as a generator of the city of Santiago de Compostela.
  • Pilgrims to Santiago: Roads and rites.
  • Iconography of St. James: The image of St. James in history.
  • Craft guilds and traditions in Compostela.
  • Engravings of Compostela.
  • The Harmony of the Universe: The musicality of the Portico of Glory.

Designed by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, the CGAC was inaugurated in 1993 as a space for the cultural diffusion of Galician and international art.

In recent decades it has been a meeting place for established and emerging artists, both from the world of music and the performing arts.

Exhibitions, lecture series and workshops are some of the events hosted daily by the CGAC. It is one of the most important buildings of the “City of Culture” cultural complex.

It has an area of 6600 m2 and is divided into three floors, which offers the possibility of exhibiting works of art that, due to their size, could not be exhibited in other cultural centers in Galicia. In its twelve rooms we can contemplate collections of painting, sculpture, gold and silver work, engravings, liturgical objects, etc. It has a collection of more than 300 pieces made of jet and silver, both modern and authentic relics, works of master craftsmen from Compostela and Asturias. Located inside the convent of San Domingos de Bonaval.

It is the most important ethnographic museum in Galicia. It preserves a wide sample of the Galician popular culture: utensils used in agriculture, fishing or livestock, popular costumes, paintings and sculptures… It is located in the Plaza do Obradoiro and shows different aspects of daily life in the city of Santiago between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. Located in the Plaza do Toural.

It was created in homage to the figure of the painter Eugenio Granell and to promote the study of Surrealism and other related pictorial currents.

In addition to the artist’s work, it hosts various temporary exhibitions throughout the year, workshops, conferences and poetry recitals.

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