Santiago de Compostela, the Galician capital, embodies a flagship of culture and a symbol of European history. The pilgrimage to Santiago forged an European identity, and it was the channel through which medieval lyric and Romanesque art spread all over Western Europe. Around 150.000 people live in Santiago and its metropolitan area, a significant part of the nearly three million inhabitants of Galicia.
Santiago de Compostela – a renowned venue for international conferences – is one of the most visited cities in Spain, also by reason of its artistic and cultural heritage. Its old town is one of the most beautiful, harmonious and best preserved in Europe, as well as an example of the most beautiful Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. In 1985, the UNESCO awarded Santiago de Compostela the label of World Heritage City , the Council of Europe awarded it with the European prize in 1985 and the EU chose it as European Cultural Capital in 2000. Santiago is one of the most dynamic and vibrant cities in Galicia, being the seat of important theatre and cinema festivals, as well as of art exhibitions and concerts.
Santiago de Compostela is not a city encapsulated in the past, but has instead modernised itself and became a contemporary and competitive city, which is full of leisure and relax spaces alongside with sites of learning, such as its five-centennial university, one of the best known and most prestigious universities in Europe.
All these factors make Santiago a youthful city, bustling with student life, joyful and welcoming, abreast of new architectural trends. Internationally renowned architects such as Hejduk, Siza or Rossi have left their trace in Santiago. The American architect Peter Eisenman develops since 2002 its new project still in construction, the City of Culture (Cidade da Cultura), which will shape an outstanding cultural and architectonic complex.