Santiago de Compostela cathedral reopens

by Deborah Cater
Santiago de Compostela cathedral has reopened
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SANTIAGO – After ten years of careful restoration, the Pórtico de la Gloria at Santiago de Compostela cathedral opened its doors to the public again in the summer of 2018, until the pandemic led to its closure last year. A phased reopening is now underway.

Last week, the masterpiece of the renowned master builder and sculptor Maestro Mateo opened again. The reopening of the 12th century Galician Romanesque sculpture will take place in phases. This is possible due to support from the Xunta de Galicia and the Axencia de Turismo. The Dean of the Cathedral, José Fernández Lago, the Director of the Cathedral Foundation, Daniel Lorenzo and the First Vice-President of the Xunta de Galicia, Alfonso Rueda attended the reopening.

Cautious start

In the first phase, groups of up to 20 people may visit the Pórtico. A maximum of two tickets per person will be allocated.

Participants gather in the reception area of the cathedral’s museum on Plaza del Obradoiro. From there, you can also visit the stone choir room of Master Mateo and the archaeological room of the museum. The reception room is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.

The opening hours of the Pórtico are adapted to the services: from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 11:30; from 13:00 to 14:30 and from 16:00 to 18:00. On Sundays, the Pórtico will be open from 10:00 to 11:30 and from 13:00 to 14:30.

During the first phase, visits are free and should not exceed 25 minutes. The Cathedral Foundation offers visitors the opportunity to download an app and purchase a guidebook with background information.

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Second and third phase

In a second phase, access will first be through the Crypt of the Pórtico de la Gloria, where restoration work is currently taking place. Then the full tour of the architectural ensemble of the Pórtico de la Gloria will be possible again.

During the final phase, when the pandemic permits, the intention is to combine free and paid visits in a proportional way. The groups will remain small and advance booking necessary. 

Looking ahead

In a press conference, Vice-President Alfonso Rueda said Galicia is ready to receive pilgrims, as soon as the pandemic restrictions allow.  The regional Minister for Culture, Román Rodríguez, stressed the work carried out both in the Pórtico de la Gloria and in the rest of the basilica will make it possible to “leave to future generations a preserved and protected asset that will last for at least eight centuries”.

About the cathedral

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela stands on the tomb of the Apostle James. According to legend, a man discovered it there at the beginning of the 9th century (813). For centuries it has been one of the most visited Christian pilgrimage sites, next to St. Peter’s in Rome.

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is one of the largest Romanesque church buildings in Europe. In 1985, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. The Spanish euro 1, 2 and 5 cent coins depict the sanctuary.

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