Culture on the Camino: the emblems of Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is a city whose identity was forged during centuries of history. It is not strange that in our walks along the “rúas” of Compostela we observe that many houses bear on their main facade, on a side or on the arches of the arcades certain marks or inscriptions whose meaning we do not know. These signs are of property or belonging to various institutions of the city (convents, monasteries, the cathedral chapter or the University). In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a practice began to mark the properties that were acquired, mainly through donations. Some of these marks appear so frequently that they can be considered authentic emblems of Compostela.

Those that we will be able to see on more than one occasion during our tour are:

* Scallop shell: it is a very repeated emblem. The houses that bear it belonged to the Church of Compostela. Some appear with the letters S and T, which correspond to the initials of Santiago.


* Pino: these houses belonged to the monastery of San Martiño Pinario. That is why some of them bear the initials S and M.


* Cross of Calatrava: the houses bearing this emblem belonged to the convent of San Domingos de Bonaval, founded by Saint Dominic himself in 1219.


* Cross with a circle around it: this sign refers to the Royal Hospital, nowadays Hostal de los Reyes Católicos.


* Dove: refers to the third person of the Holy Trinity. With or without the letters PV S, it corresponds to the chapel of the Holy Spirit of the Cathedral of Santiago. The houses bearing this emblem belonged to it.


* Cross of Malta and bars: the buildings engraved with this coat of arms belonged to the convent of Santa María la Real de Conxo.


* Five stars coat of arms: it belonged to the Fonseca family, founders of the University of Compostela.


What are you waiting for to get to know Santiago de Compostela and discover all these places by yourself? Contact us and find out about our tours. Enjoy the Camino de Santiago as you had always imagined.

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