Holy doors of Santiago

The Holy Door of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

There is something magical about entering the Cathedral of Santiago after walking the Camino, but being able to cross through the Holy Door is an experience that one will always remember.

If you are lucky enough to arrive to Santiago de Compostela while this Door is open, your pilgrimage will end on a high note. But before you get there, let’s dig into everything this Door means for pilgrims.

Nightview of Santiago de Compostela Holy door, pilgrim entrance
Nightview of Santiago de Compostela Holy door, pilgrim entrance

What Is The Holy Door?

The Holy Door (or “Porta Santa” in Galician) is nothing more than an alternative access to the Cathedral. there are several reasons that make this access a very special one.

It is a symbol of the Camino, just like the scallop shell or the yellow arrow!

The Holy Door is closed from the inside, and it remains closed most of the time – it only opens in Holy Year which occurs when the 25th of July, feast of the Apostle, falls on a Sunday. On December 31st, the Door closes again until the next Xacobeo year.

Why Is The Holy Door So Important For Pilgrims?

According to Jacobean tradition, pilgrims who walk to Santiago de Compostela during a Holy Year and pass through this special Door into the Santiago Cathedral are forgiven all their sins.

This is called a plenary indulgence and was started by Pope Calixto II.

By walking through this Door, the pilgrim arrives almost directly at the main altar where the tomb of Santiago is. Here, they can perform the popular pilgrim ritual of embracing the Apostle.

Are There More Holy Doors?

There are many Holy Doors around the world. Some have been Holy Doors for hundreds of years, others are granted this status for special reasons.

The one in Santiago de Compostela is one of the three Holy Doors in Spain – and also the most important and known!

Where Can I Find It?

The Holy Door of the Santiago Cathedral is around the back of the Cathedral and is accessed from the Plaza de la Quintana.

The outer door surround is beautifully carved. An Image of Santiago with his disciples stands over the top of the door, and many smaller carved figures are on either side of the door.

Panoramic picture of Praza do Obradoiro, where the Holy Door can be found
Panoramic picture of Praza do Obradoiro, where the Holy Door can be found

When Will It Open Again?

Once the Holy Door closes by the end of 2022, it will remain closed until the next Xacobeo year – in 2027.

If you don’t want to miss your chance to walk through this door – contact us and book your Camino before the end of the Holy Year!

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