MT Summit VIII

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About Santiago
View from Cathedral tower.
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Santiago is the capital of Galicia, the third most important city for Christian pilgrimage after Rome and Jerusalem, and an ancient city whose documented history dates back to the year 815 but which also boasts numerous prehistoric and Roman relics.
    Tradition says that here lie the remains of St James the Great, one of
View from Cathedral tower.
Saint with book
the twelve apostles, beheaded in the year 42 by Herodes Agrippa and whose body was transported to Galicia by his disciples in a stone boat and buried in what is now the Cathedral.
    Santiago has 95,000 inhabitants and a mild climate; it is situated at an altitude of 300 metres and is 30 kilometres from the coast. It owes its living largely to tourism, to its university (which has 32,000 students) and to the presence of the departments of the Xunta (regional government). It has one of the largest, most harmonious and best preserved historic quarters in Europe. For this reason and for its historic role as a pilgrimage centre it was in 1985 declared an International Heritage site by UNESCO. In the year 2000 it had European Cultural Capital status with eight other European cities.

About Galicia

Galicia is one of the 17 autonomous communities that make up the Spanish state (the autonomous community is an entity equivalent to a German Land or to a Federal State in the USA). It has its own regional government (Xunta de Galicia) and a parliament, both located in Santiago.
View from Cathedral tower.
Medieval doors
    The Galician area covers 29,575 km2 (similar to Belgium) and has a population of 2,800,000 concentrated mostly in the coastal areas. It is a relatively poor region (its GNP is equivalent to only 60% of the EU average) but has recently experienced a significant resurgence and sustained growth.
    Galicia has its own official language, Gallego, a Romance language from the Galicio-Portuguese-group, one of whose present day derivatives is actually Portuguese.

  Last updated: 26 Jul 2001