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Santiago de Compostela

The ancient story of the founding of Santiago de Compostela, with its variations and embellishments, has become shrouded in myth. According to legend, two disciples transported the body of St James back to Spain in 44 AD, after he was executed in Jerusalem. After transporting his body back from the Holy Land in a stone boat, they landed and travelled a little way inland - to the site of the present-day city - and here St James was buried.

In 813, the largely-forgotten grave was rediscovered, by a religious hermit who had been following a guiding star. The city was then named, and its name means "field of the star". The discovery was of immense interest in the Christian region of Spain; a church was built on the site of the burial, and the city soon became a major pilgrimage site.

Today the city remains as popular as ever, and small wonder; Santiago de Compostela retains both its medieval core and its splendid religious structures. With its mix of fabulous architecture, spiritual charm and lively atmosphere, the city is a celebrated UNESCO World Heritage site.

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