What is the Compostela?

Posted on September 18, 2019

What is the Compostela? Is it the same as Compostelana or the credential? Many pilgrims ask themselves these questions the first time they make the routes.

It is practically impossible to talk about the famous Routes of Santiago, without naming the Compostela, but what is it?

The Compostela is sometimes mistakenly called “Compostelana”; therefore, the Compostelana as such does not exist, since it refers to the official document, La Compostela.

If you want to know what is La Compostela, where you can get it, and all the information about it keep reading to discover all its features.

What is the Compostela?

It is an accrediting document that is delivered in the city of Santiago to any pilgrim who has made the Routes of Santiago for religious, spiritual, or any other reason.

In other words, it is a certificate issued by the Chapter of the Cathedral of Santiago certifying the number of kilometers they have traveled, whatever the starting point of their pilgrimage. Every good pilgrim has his Compostela!

How to get the Compostela?

To get the Compostela document issued by the Cathedral, you have to fulfill a series of essential characteristics and conditions to get it.

You must have three basic requirements as a pilgrim: make the routes for religious or spiritual reasons, have traveled any of the Jacobean Routes, at least 100 kilometers on foot or horseback or 200 kilometers by bicycle, and prove that you have traveled this distance.

To prove these conditions, a document must be provided, and many pilgrims confuse it with the Compostela; the Pilgrim’s Credential.

This credential is the document that accredits you as a pilgrim, it is personal and non-transferable, and you can get it in different Associations of Routes of Santiago Friends, in numerous hostels, parishes, and brotherhoods of the Apostle Santiago.

In the credential you can have all the stamps you want, although to receive the Compostela, Santiago Cathedral has established that it is necessary at least to stamp this document twice a day in the last 100 kilometers of the road.

The route can be done in stages, as long as they are arranged chronologically and geographically.

If this happens, it is important to stamp at the beginning and end of each stage including the date, so that it can be seen that the pilgrim has resumed the route in the same place where he had left it.

That is, in a simple way, stamp the document again in the same place where you finished the previous stage.

 Where to get the Compostela?

Once all these conditions are fulfilled, you are ready to obtain your Compostela!

When you arrive in the capital, Santiago de Compostela and finally visit its magical Cathedral, approach the Pilgrim’s Office, the end of the trail.

It is the place of reception of all pilgrims who arrive in the city of Santiago after walking on foot, horseback or by bicycle, and have reached the Apostle Santiago Tomb.

Here you will get the final Route stamp, Cathedral of Santiago stamp. Once this is done, the official and traditional pilgrimage certificate are issued, you will officially have your Compostela!

If you are still thinking of doing the Camino de Santiago, in the following link you will find the most popular routes to help you choose.


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