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Church of St. James

Pilgrim's Way to Santiago
Churches and chapels


Church of St. James - Church of St. James
icono pie de fotoChurch of St. James
Church of St. James - Church of St. James
icono pie de fotoChurch of St. James


Church of St. James
The influence of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela is clear in this church in Sangüesa. Apart from revering the Apostle, its ornamentation has several references to St. James. Located in the street of the same name, it was originally built in the late Romanesque style and its construction was continued in the Gothic period. Two stone images show the Apostle as a pilgrim; the first, polychrome, presides the tympanum over the entrance, while the second, Gothic, is inside the church. These two representations, together with the 16th-century Plateresque altarpiece of San Eloy are some of the jewels that are preserved here. The church is crowned with a battlemented tower, making it look like a fortress. It suffered the disastrous effects of the wars in the 14th century but was completely restored in 1966, eleven years before being declared a Historic Artistic Monument.

The church of Santiago, declared a Historical Artistic Monument in 1977, is located in the street of the same name in Sangüesa, a town in the Central Zone of Navarre, and is a beautiful example of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture. Its three apses in the header and the façade correspond to the former style, while the three naves that are covered with a vault of simple cross ribbing were built in the 13th century. The construction of the church continued in later years; the solid square tower that emerges from the building and is crowned by merlons was built in the 14th century.

Simplicity is the feature that defines the façade, on whose tympanum (17th century) there is an image of St. James resting on a shell (the symbol of the Pilgrim's Way). He is flanked by representations of pilgrims praying to him on their knees. They are wearing the usual dress of the travellers to Compostela -a brown cassock, a shell hanging from the neck, a black hat, and a stick their hands-.

The interior of the church has clear examples of the culture of the Pilgrim's Way in the adornments that depict the route such as staffs, shells or pumpkins. It has three naves of four sections, a triple semi-circular header and several side chapels. One of these chapels holds a stone sculpture of St. James (14th century) that remained hidden under the floor of the chapel until 1964. Its great size -almost two metres high- is surprising; the saint holds the Gospel in his left hand and a partially damaged staff in his right hand.

The 18th-century main altarpiece and the chapels (called Corazón de Jesús, San Román, el Crucificado and Nuestra Señora de las Nieves) and the baptismal font, where the altarpiece of Eloy is kept (16th century) are other notable artistic elements inside the church.

As you leave, take a look at the noble house with its double stone entrance with a semi-circular arch opposite the church. It was an old pilgrims' hospital that is now used as the abbot's residence. The voussoir (wedge stone) over the porch shows the attributes of pilgrimage.


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Practical information

  • Locality SANGÜESA
  • Zone The Central Zone
  • Address Calle Santiago
  • Interesting links
  • Tel. 948870132
  • Style Romanesque, Gothic
  • Protected work or place Monumento Histórico-Artístico