Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 7 - La Catedral (part 1)

I visited the Cathedral here in Santiago today, but I know that I was only able to see a small section of it and therefore am labeling this entry "part 1" since I am sure that I will return at some point during the week or the weeks to come. As today was Saturday, it was quite crowded with tourists and "pilgrims" who had reached the city and had one goal in mind - to see Santiago. It is believed that the remains of Saint James are located within the Cathedral.

Entry into the Cathedral is free, however there is paid admission to the museum and also to the roof (known as Las Cubiertas). The line to the High Altar was also quite long and better left to a slower day of the week. The person that I was with today was not interested in paying for the museum; the students are trying to get a group rate for the roof; and as mentioned, the line to the High Altar to see the image of Santiago was just too long. I will try to cover some or all of that information in a "part 2."

What we did do however was tour the Cathedral itself and also a free art exhibit that was in an upstairs portion of the building. As you can see from the pictures, the Cathedral is quite ornate and very large. The front of the building is known as the Obradoiro facade and was added to the Cathedral between 1738 and 1750. The Cathedral itself has been around quite a bit longer than that however. The first Catholic building on the site was a chapel constructed in the 9th century. It was later enlarged to a church but was destroyed in the year 997 by a Muslim army who was searching for the remains of Saint James. Construction on the Cathedral that stands to this day began in 1075 and it was finally consecrated in 1128. But as the date of the facade shows, many additions and embellishments were made throughout the centuries.

The art exhibit that we saw was a 21st Century portrayal of the saints. Of course I can't remember the name of the artist right now and I can't seem to locate anything online saying what the exhibition was called... but as you can see from the pictures, it was a sort of paper construction/origami rendition of various Catholic saints. (I will try to swing by tomorrow to write down the name and update this post for anyone who is interested!)

One last point that I think is quite interesting, is in regards to the Codice Calixtino. Apparently it was stolen from the Cathedral in July of 2011. It was considered the most valuable manuscript held by Cathedral and there was a long and detailed investigation into its disappearance. I have posted a picture of a facsimile of the codex taken at the Museo de Perigrinaje (Pilgramage Museum) so you can see what it looks like, but not to worry,the real thing has been returned. Just this week it was discovered who took the missing manuscript and an arrest was made against an electrician who had been working in the Cathedral and had been taking things for over 10 years! If you understand Spanish check out the following video clip:

Can't seem to rotate this... it started out okay
but now it's sideways... oh well
Santiago impersonator - "levitating"
Inside the Cathedral

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