A tour of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela: the floor plan of the Cathedral and its naves (3rd part)

Undoubtedly, the most memorable moment of our tour – Camino de Santiago will be the entrance to the interior of the Cathedral and the obligatory visit to the tomb of the Apostle.

The Cathedral of Santiago was built in different stages and we can appreciate in it the artistic traces of many generations. However, there were also other buildings on the same site that were lost over the centuries. The excavations that were carried out in the subsoil of the same in 1946 determined that other works of smaller size were erected there previously.

The first primitive basilica was ordered to be built by King Alfonso II, the Chaste, to house the remains of the Apostle. He was the first pilgrim monarch in history.

Later the influx of pilgrims increased considerably, so King Alfonso III ordered the construction of a larger and architecturally richer church in 872.
After the invasion of Almanzor in 997, the temple had to be rebuilt again.

After these primitive buildings, the need arose to undertake a large-scale work to accommodate all the pilgrims travelling to Compostela. The construction of the present Cathedral began in 1075, during the reign of Alfonso VI. It was practically completed in 1122.

From this initial construction, new chapels were added and the building was enlarged.

The Cathedral has a Latin cross plan with three naves and a tribune. The central nave is almost 100 meters long by 8.5 meters wide and is about 20 meters high. It is covered with a barrel vault while the lateral naves support groin vaults. If we add to this the 65 meters that have the naves of the transept, the feeling of space that is achieved when entering the temple is difficult to match. The proportionality of the whole is almost perfect.


The entire elevation is composed of ten bays open to the side naves. Cruciform pillars that support the semicircular arches and beautiful mullions with capitals decorated with vegetal motifs.


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