The most famous of the many doors on the east side of the Cathedral facing the Praza da Quintana is the Holy Door. This door is usually open only during Holy Years, that is when the Feast of St James on July 25th falls on a Sunday. The last Holy Year was 2010. The next Holy Year is 2021. But Pope Francis called for a special Holy Year in 2016 and so the Holy Door was open last year, too.
The actual Holy Door is a few feet behind the iron gate. That’s St James dressed as a medieval pilgrim on top of the gate. He is flanked by his two disciples, Athanasius and Theodore.
Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.
The stone Biblical figures date from the 12th century and were part of the choir inside the Romanesque Cathedral but were moved outside during the Baroque reconstruction of the Cathedral in the 17th century.
The 12 biblical figures on the left side of the Holy Door.
The 12 biblical figures on the right side of the Holy Door
Praza da Quintana and Praza das Praterias meet at Berenguela, the clock tower on the southeast corner of the Cathedral.
The southeast corner of the Praza. The building in the center is the Treasury tower of the Cathedral’s cloister. On the left is the Casa da Conga, built to house the Cathedral’s canons in the 18th century. Today you will find mostly shops, bars and cafes in the building. On the right is Berenguela, the Cathedral’s Clock Tower.
The Praza is the second largest square in Santiago and is a popular place for public concerts.
A break in a concert. The crowd has just watched a flamenco demonstration. Lots of stomping! The Praza steps separate the Square of the Living on top from the Square of the Dead in the foreground. This portion of the Praza used to be the Cathedral’s graveyard. The Casa da Parra in the background dates from the 17th century. The building on the right is an old monastery called San Paio de Antealtares that was originally built in the 9th century to house a group of Benedictine nuns. Reconstruction began in the 16th century but was not completed until the end of the 18th century.
The concert then switched from flamenco music to local folk music. A disabled boy in a wheelchair (just left of center) was honored prior to the group’s first song.
We’ll continue our walk around the Cathedral in my next posting with another look at the Praza da Inmaculada on the Cathedral’s north side.