Your Hotel in Coimbra downtown

The Church of Santiago and the Path of Santiago: the portuguese central way

The Church of Santiago, located in “Praça do Comércio” Square in downtown Coimbra, is one of the largest medieval monuments in the city. The construction of the Church started in the last decades of the 11th century and was sacred in 1206. Over the centuries it has undergone some transformations, the last one in the early 19th century.

The Church of Santiago – “Praça do Comércio”

Outside the Church, you should contemplate and observe the beauty of the main and south side portals. In the main portal, the capitals contain animal and plant motifs and the columns are decorated with spiral-shaped geometric and plant motifs. The south portal is composed of several undecorated archivolts, surrounded by a vine-shaped frame and capitals and columns with plant motifs. Inside the Church, we highlight the altarpiece of the chancel, with gilded carvings and marbled in rococo style and the Gothic portal of the chapel.

One of the theories that explains why the Church invokes Santiago involves welcoming pilgrims heading to the Sanctuary of “Santiago de Compostela”, in Spain, a path that is still taken by many devotes.

There are many pilgrims who, for centuries, have walked the path of Santiago (Caminho de Santiago) towards the Cathedral of  “Santiago de Compostela”, in Spain. There is buried the apostle of Saint James. The cult of this Saint became popular in the middle ages, giving rise to pilgrimages from all corners of Europe.

In Portugal there are several ways to Santiago, from south to north: “Santiago de Compostela” is located in Galiza, 120 km from the border of Valença, in the north of Portugal. We can identify three main routes: the North Way, the oldest; the Interior Path; the Portuguese Central Way. And this, the central road (which passes through Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto) is the most traveled Portuguese road to Santiago: fully marked with the famous yellow arrows and, sometimes, with a yellow scallop shell on a blue background, the official symbol of the path of Santiago. Starting at the Lisbon Cathedral, we continue along the banks of the Tejo River through Alverca, Vila Franca de Xira, Azambuja, Santarém, Golegã and Tomar. From here we continue towards Coimbra where we can visit the tomb of Queen Santa Isabel, in “Monteiro de Santa Clara-a-Nova”. Queen Santa Isabel also made a pilgrimage to Santiago and was buried with the symbols of “the Scallop Shell, the Cross and the rod”. Then we continue through Mealhada, Águeda, Albergaria-a-Velha, São João da Madeira, Grijó until reaching Porto where the north paths begin.

Path of Santiago in downtown Coimbra

The path of Santiago has a wide and consolidated network of accommodation and assistance. You can choose to plan the route and book accommodation or sleep in public hostels that do not require a reservation.

The reason doesn’t matter: by faith or by the desire for adventure and contact with nature, the path of Santiago is a good challenge for fans of long walks while providing an unforgettable inner journey.

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Hotel Oslo - Coimbra
Av. Fernão de Magalhães, 25
3000-175 Coimbra, Portugal
Tel. +351 239 829 071
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