Santiago de Compostela is the capital city of the region of Galicia in Spain. This area is in the north west of Spain facing the Atlantic Ocean.
The city is famous as its cathedral is at the end of the old pilgrimage route, the Way of St James, or Camino de Santiago in Spanish. It is one of only three pilgrimages in which all sins can be forgiven, the others being pilgrimages to Jerusalem and to Rome. Santiago de Compostela is the end of the route as it is said that the remains of St James were buried there after being transported to Spain from Jerusalem.
Another relic to see in the cathedral is a gold crucifix dating from 874 and which is said to contain a piece of the True Cross.
Santiago de Compostela is broadly divided into the old town and the new. The old town is comprised of many narrow twisting streets, the home of street markets, bars and souvenir shops. Most of the streets are cobbled and are pedestrian only. The old town was inscribed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985. It is here also that most of the architecture for which Santiago de Compostela is famous can be found. Its rich history has left buildings of baroque, gothic, Romanesque and neo-classical design and most of them are of monumental proportions.
The cathedral is located on one side of the Plaza del Obradoiro which is in itself a tourist attraction. This is the main square of the city and is the venue for many of the festivals that take place throughout the year. At the rear of the Cathedral is another of Santiago de Compostela’s squares, the Plaza de la Azabacheria. This square used to be the centre for making jewellery and other items from jet, the black gemstone. The people who worked at this trade were called "azabacheros" and it is from them that the square gets its name. There are still shops specializing in the sale of jet jewellery and ornaments throughout Santiago de Compostela.