The chapels of the Cathedral of Santiago

A walk around the Cathedral of Santiago's Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical chapels.

By The Catedral de Santiago Foundation

Capilla de la ComuniónThe Catedral de Santiago Foundation

Wandering around the inside of the Cathedral offers visitors a chance to see works of art and architecture from different periods, particularly in the chapels. It was in these chapels that pilgrims from different countries found the saints of their devotion.

Main Chapel

The location of the tomb of Saint James the Apostle just below the Main Chapel has meant that the Chapel's Romanesque structure has remained essentially unchanged. Today, it is dominated by the baldachin and the majestic piece of Baroque silverwork surrounding the stone statue of the seated Saint James. The latter is the work of the workshop of Master Mateo, and is accessed via some steps from the aisle, and traditionally embraced by pilgrims.

Girola de la Catedral de SantiagoThe Catedral de Santiago Foundation

Chapels in the ambulatory

A walk through the ambulatory, from left to right

Chapel of Santa Fe

The Chapel of Santa Fe (Holy Faith), also known as the Chapel of St. Bartholomew, is dominated by a Renaissance altarpiece. This in turn is presided over by Our Lady of Good Counsel, flanked on either side by Saint James the Greater and Saint Bartholomew. The main feature of this chapel is the sepulcher of the canon Don Diego de Castilla. The sepulcher is the work of Master Arnau in 1521, and is an important example of funerary art of the period.

Chapel of St. John

The Romanesque chapel of St. John was transformed and expanded during the Baroque period, during which time the large lintel was installed. The lintel was the work of Simón Rodríguez, who was also responsible for the altarpiece, with an image of Saint John at the very top. At the same time, an image of Saint Mary Salome was added to the center.

Chapel of Santa María la Blanca (Saint Mary the White)

This chapel was established in the late 13th century by the poet known as Juan de España. Today, it has a Neogothic altarpiece by Maximino Magariños, and is presided over by a Baroque image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, made in 1744 by Gregorio Fernández.

Chapel of El Salvador (The Savior)

This is the central chapel in the ambulatory, and it was here that work on the Cathedral first began, in around 1075. At the entrance are two founding capitals with Latin inscriptions: "This work was built in the reign of King Alfonso," and "This work was begun in the time of Bishop Diego." In ancient times, pilgrims would come to this chapel to confess in different languages, and to receive their Compostela certificate.

Holy Door

The Holy Door is only opened in Jubilee Years. On the inside, the door is flanked by two figures that were originally part of Master Mateo's stone choir, and bronze plaques featuring reliefs alluding to the pilgrimage to the city, by the Santiago de Compostela-based sculptor, Jesús León.

Chapel of St. Peter

This chapel, which still retains its original Romanesque layout, is famous for its mural paintings. Discovered in 1998, they were likely to have been part of the work sponsored by Mencía de Andrade in the late 16th century.

Chapel of Mondragón

This chapel was built in 1521 by Canon Juan de Mondragón, and is also known as the Chapel of Piety or of Santa Cruz. The chapel is dominated by a magnificent altarpiece, which is the work, made in Seville, of the Burgundy-born Miguel Perrín. Made in 1526, this work in terracotta represents the Mourning of Christ.

Chapel of the Pillar

Construction of the Chapel of the Pillar began in the late 17th century. It was originally intended as a new sacristy for the Cathedral, but once work had begun, Archbishop Monroy reversed the decision of the Cathedral's Chapter, instead putting an altar dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar there. Its intricately decorated marble features scallop shells and stars.

Nave del transepto norteThe Catedral de Santiago Foundation

Chapels of the north transept

Between the ambulatory and the Platerías door

Chapel of the Conception

This is a Renaissance chapel, built in 1523, whose Baroque altarpiece by Simón Rodríguez was a later addition. It has two vertical sections: one with a relief of the Descent from the Cross by Diego de Sande, while the other side has an image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the work of the sculptor known as Cornielles de Holanda.

Chapel of the Holy Spirit

This funerary chapel and its sepulchers date from the mid-13th century, and its design was clearly influenced by Master Mateo. In 1946, the altarpiece of Virgen de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude) was added. It had previously been in the Cathedral's old retrochoir since the mid-17th century.

Iglesia de la CorticelaThe Catedral de Santiago Foundation

Church of the Corticela

The Corticela was a foundation set up by Alfonso III, which he handed to the Benedictines for the care of the Altar of St. James. In 1527, it became the church that was known for foreigners and people from the Basque Country, and this is still the case today. As well as its interesting architecture, the tympanum depicting the Epiphany at its entrance, which is similar in style to the work of Master Mateo, is of particular note.

Capilla de San AndrésThe Catedral de Santiago Foundation

Chapel of St. Andrew

This chapel was founded by Archbishop Girón in 1674, and has a Baroque altarpiece presided over by an image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by Rodeiro. Rodeiro was a 19th-century religious sculptor who continued the tradition of religious sculpture relating to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela that had begun in the previous century.

Chapel of St. Anthony

Located on one side of the Azabachería door, this chapel has an altarpiece by Manuel de Leis dated 1762. It is presided over by an image of Saint Anthony, and was partially altered in 1948 to accommodate an image of Our Lady of Fatima, which is now in the lower part of it.

Chapel of St. Catalina

This chapel sits on the site previously occupied by the Royal Pantheon, which was created by Master Mateo during the Middle Ages. The Royal Pantheon was moved in the 16th century. The current altarpiece dates from the late 18th century and was modified to accommodate an image of Our Lady of Lourdes in the lower part.

Theodemar's Tombstone

Bishop of Iria when the body of the Apostle was discovered, Theodemar's tombstone was discovered during the archaeological excavations that took place in the Cathedral's south transept in 1955. In 2021, it was moved to a new home in the Cathedral, along with an image of Saint James as a pilgrim that dates from the 15th century and belonged to Archbishop Nuñez de Isorna.

Cúpula de la Capilla de la ComuniónThe Catedral de Santiago Foundation

Chapels of the main nave

Chapel of the Communion

Capilla de la ComuniónThe Catedral de Santiago Foundation

Sitting on the site that was previously the chapel of Archbishop Lope de Mendoza Rajoy, this chapel was built thanks to the efforts of Archbishop Rajoy. Its original design was by Domingo Lois Monteagudo, and after 1770, the project was managed by the Santiago de Compostela-born architect, Miguel Ferro Caaveiro.

Chapel of Christ of Burgos

Capilla del Cristo de BurgosThe Catedral de Santiago Foundation

This chapel was founded by Archbishop Pedro Carrillo y Acuña, who commissioned Melchor de Velasco to build it in 1665. Its name is derived from the central image of the altarpiece, which was made in the city of Burgos in the mid-18th century. The altarpieces on the side altars, like the central one, are the work of Mateo de Prado.

This chapel was founded by Archbishop Pedro Carrillo y Acuña, who commissioned Melchor de Velasco to build it in 1665. Its name is derived from the central image of the altarpiece, which was made in the city of Burgos in the mid-18th century. The altarpieces on the side altars, like the central one, are the work of Mateo de Prado.

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