From Saviour's Chapel to the St. Bartholomew

You are now in the oldest part of the Cathedral of Santiago, as the Chapel of the Saviour was the first part of the complex to be built, in 1075. It is also known as the Chapel of France, because of the donations made to its embellishment by King Louis XI of France.

In the Middle Ages, there were some confessionals here known as Lenguajeros, or “Languagers”. They were like a kind of translators’ room and exchange bureau, where each pilgrim’s confession could be made and their donations would be requested, all in their own language, to make things easier. Then they would be given the Compostela, the document that certified that they had completed the pilgrimage and which entitled them to free accommodation in Reyes Catolicos hostal. The Compostela is still given to pilgrims today, although the hostal is now a Parador hotel and available only to those who can afford it - and for thirty pilgrims who are given either breakfast, lunch, or dinner free of charge, in groups of ten.

Opposite the Chapel of the Saviour, you can see at the back of the high altar that there is a light illuminating an urn with a star over it. This is the point where the relics of the Apostle St. James lie buried underground.

You can continue your visit and take a look at the chapels of Our Lady the White and St. John, if you are interested to see what is left of the medieval structure. Otherwise, you can continue towards the chapel of St. Bartholomew, which has the best preserved Romanesque structure. The most interesting feature is the tomb on the left, which is that of a great grandson of Pedro the Cruel. According to art historians, this magnificent Renaissance creation is an almost photographic image of the deceased.

We have finished our tour of the ambulatory chapels. Now let’s go over to the ones in the transept.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Diego Laforga Marcos

Source: Own work
Author: Diego Laforga (2013)