Santiago de Compostela

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Santiago de Compostela (Galician pronunciation: [sãnˈtjaɰo ðe komposˈtɛla], Spanish: [sanˈtjaɣo ðe komposˈtela]) is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain. The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James. In 1985 the city's Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Toponym

Santiago is the local Galician evolution of Vulgar Latin Sanctu Iacobu "Saint James". As for Compostela, folk etymology presumes it proceeds from the Latin Campus Stellae (i.e. "Field of Stars"), but it is unlikely that such form could yield the modern Compostela under normal evolution from Latin to Galician-Portuguese. More probable etymologies relate the word with Latin compositum, and local Vulgar Latin Composita Tella meaning "burial ground" as an euphemism, or simply with the hypocoristic compositellam, "the well composed" . Other places in Galicia share this toponym, akin to Compostilla in León province.

The city

The cathedral borders the main plaza of the old and well-preserved city. Legend has it that the remains of the apostle James were brought to Galicia and in the early 9th century on a boat made of stone, and were later discovered at Santiago de Compostela.[clarification needed] The cathedral was built in his honour on the spot where his remains were said to have been found. Across the square is the Pazo de Raxoi (Raxoi's Palace), the town hall and seat of the Galician Xunta, and on the right from the cathedral steps is the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, founded in 1492 by the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand II of Aragon, as a pilgrim's hospice (now a parador). The Obradoiro façade of the cathedral, the best known, is depicted on the Spanish euro coins of 1 cent, 2 cents, and 5 cents (0.01, €0.02, and €0.05).

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