From the 9th century, people from many counties made the long pilgrimage (the Camino or " the way") to Santiago to worship at what is believed to be the burial place of St. James. In recent time the various routes are also traveled by those of many faiths who enjoy the beauty and the comradeship of the Caminos. The excitement of arriving in Santiago de Compostela is contagious.
Small Medieval Santiago has retained its beauty and charm and remains one of Spain's finest cities. The Santiago cathedral is unique -a Baroque masterpiece and Romanesque exterior with towers that soar against a blue sky. It is considered the third most important cathedral after Rome and Jerusalem.
Pilgrims and other walkers of the Camino strive to arrive in Santiago before the daily high noon mass which is always packed. Most days a dramatic ending to the mass is the lighting of a huge incense burner (Botafumeiro) hung from the high ceiling. A large group of men takes the end of the rope and lowers it for the lighting of the incense. Once lit the incense burner is pulled up near the ceiling and swung across the nave of the cathedral and again lowered by the men, tied down to await the next day's mass. An amazing spectacle.
Other period churches, public buildings and the historic hospital, (in the 1500's originally for the poor, but now a 4 star hotel) are found throughout the narrow, winding streets
Galicia, with its historic manor houses, wine estates and fishing villages, is my favorite part of Spain and hope to return again soon
PS - fabulous food (especially fresh fish) , local wines, traditional music, and more are in abundance.