October 16, 2012

0360 SPAIN (Galicia) - Santiago de Compostela (Old Town) (UNESCO WHS)

¡Santiago y cierra, España! cried the reunited armies of Alfonso VIII of Castile, Sancho VII of Navarre, Pedro II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, which took place on 16 July 1212. That means "Saint James and strike for Spain!". And because in that battle the Christians massacred the Moors, Spaniards will continue to use this battle cry not only how long it lasted Reconquista, but by the end of the Spanish Empire. Invocation of Santiago (the local Galician evolution of Vulgar Latin Sanctu Iacobu - Saint James), wasn't accidental, because he was already patron saint of Spain, and appeared during the Battle of Clavijo (844) to fight for the Christian army. Since then was called Matamoros (Moorslayer). Oddly enough for an apostle of Jesus, I would dare to say.

Legends say that James The Greater (son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle) evangelized Spain before being beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I himself in the year 44, but these stories have no basis in historical fact. Legends say also that his body was taken up by angels from Judea, and sailed in a rudderless, unattended boat to Iria Flavia in Iberia, where a massive rock closed around his relics, which were later removed to Compostela (name derived from the Latin Campus Stellae - field of the star).

On the place where it's believed that his remains were found in 814 by the hermit Pelagius was erected a chapel. The recognition of the discovery first by the king Alfonso II of Asturias and Galicia, and then by Charlemagne and the pope, gave to this place a very special reputation, so that instead of chapel was built a small church in 829, followed in 899 by a bigger one, in pre-Romanesque style, burned in 997 by Moors. The construction of the present cathedral began in 1075, according to the plan of the brick church of Saint Sernin in Toulouse, the last stone being laid in 1122. The cathedral was expanded and embellished in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, with Gothic and Baroque additions.

The cathedral is the destination of El Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), a major Catholic pilgrimage route, which made it the third shrine as importance in all of Christendom, after the Basilica of Saint Peter's in Rome and the Holy Land. In 1985 Santiago de Compostela (Old Town) became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About the stamp
The both stamps are part of a series of fourth (with the same value - 0,36 €) named Todos con Lorca (Everybody with Lorca), issued on January 2, 2012:    

• the Virgin of the Orchards Sanctuary
• the Castle
• the City Hall - it's on the postcard
• the Guevara Palace - it's on the postcard
• St. Patrick´s Collegiate Church

Lorca is a town in the autonomous community of Murcia in southeastern Spain, 60km southwest of the city of Murcia.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela - Wikipedia
James, son of Zebedee - Wikipedia
Dia de Santiago - Spanish Fiestas
Santiago! - Wikipedia
July 25th - St. James the Greater - derkeiler.com

sender: Sheila / A poscard a day (direct swap)
sent from Santiago de Compostela (Galicia / Spain), on 04.06.2012

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