The Chapels

Chapels are areas devoted to the worship of a particular saint or Virgin. For centuries, many of them were built as burial places for noble families. The pilgrims who came to this cathedral would visit not only the relics of St. James, but would also go to the chapels to pray before the carvings of the saints that they worshipped.

Only three of the semi-circular chapels you will visit in the ambulatory still retain their original Romanesque features. Over the centuries, the fever for building meant new chapels were added in empty spaces and passages all over the cathedral, reaching the 24 that exist in total today. We will stop and take a look at the most interesting ones.

I am afraid that these areas are usually closed off by beautiful iron grilles. They protect the chapels from theft, but unfortunately it means you cannot enter them.

The naming of some of these chapels is slightly confusing, because of the series of names they have been given over the centuries. I will try to use their most well-known names.

Let’s start our tour of the chapels with the Chapel of El Pilar, which is the one on the corner of the ambulatory at the point where you emerge from the Reliquary Crypt.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Diego Laforga Marcos

Picture: Ambulatory
Source: Own work
Author: Diego Laforga (2013)

Picture: Map of chapels
Source: The internet