The Archive of the Cathedral of Santiago, no doubt one of the most important in Europe, houses books and documents of a high artistic value, whose origins go back as far as the first centuries of the Middle Ages. Together with the Library it is the trustee of the history of the Compostela See.

The same building houses the Archive, which guards and is responsible for the organisation, classification and service of the chapter documents. The Library, which amasses important collections from the 15th to 19th centuries, as well as other collections focused on documentation and support for research is also located here. Both work as a single activity, following common regulations and parameters that focus on facilitating the work of researchers.

Access: Sacristy (users must first be accredited at the Security Control Centre, located on the Treasury corridor).

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 1:30 pm; Monday to Wednesday, 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm; closed in August.

Telephone: 981 575 609

​Archive (general matters):
Medieval documentation area:
Modern and Contemporary Documentation Area:
Library (general matters):
Journal Annuarium Sancti Iacobi:


Archive - Library services

Norms for acces and consulting

Norms for loans for exhibits

Norms for reproducing


Click here to download the application form for reproducing documents and images from the ABCS for private use

Click here to download the application form for reproducing documents and images from the ABCS for public use

Click here to download the application form for borrowing documentation for temporary exhibits

Click here to download the application form for borrowing documentation of bibliographical collections for temporary exhibits

Click here to download the application form for attested copies of documents from ABCS

Click here to see the reproduction rates of the ABCS


Entities that collaborate with the Archive-Library



The Archive of the Cathedral of Santiago (ACS) is a private historical archive owned by the church and dependent on the Council of the Cathedral of Santiago. It keeps, preserves and serves the historical documentation it generates as it performs its activities, as well as that of other institutions related to it. It is managed by the Archivist-Librarian, a stable post whose functions correspond to a canon or may be temporarily carried out by staff who are not members of the Council, under the conditions established for each case with the agreement of the Archbishop. According to the Estatutos de la S.A.M.I. Catedral de Santiago de Compostela (Bylaws of the Holy, Apostolic and Metropolitan Church of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela), his competencies are:

>Preserve and catalogue the document and bibliographic collections, as per the valid norms. He will also be in charge, in coordination with the master canon of the chapel, of the preservation and growth of the Musical Archive.

>Increase the Chapter Library, especially with publications related to the Saint James theme.

>Provide access to the Archive and Chapter Library to researchers for the time and under the conditions established by the Cathedral Council. The documents and books may not be removed from the Archive or Library as loans, but must be consulted in situ.

>Inform the Cathedral Chapter regarding any matters that concern it.

According to the Regulation for Spanish Ecclesiastic Archives, “the cathedral archive consists not only of historical information, but also of all the historical documentation that is preserved therein, both the modern and also the one which is kept by the different council commissions, posts or offices. Once it has served its administrative purpose the documents must enter the archive in full order to become part of the documentary testimony of the life of the council”. This definition corresponds more accurately with that for the cathedral archives system, where the ACS functions as a chapter archive and periodically receives transfers from the cathedral administrative offices: Secretary (after forty years), Administration, Building, Museum and Pilgrimages.

History of the Archive

Description instruments

Chart for the classification of Collections



In the Library of the Cathedral of Santiago ancient volumes, some incunabula, can be found alongside the most recent works of reference and published research. This fact reflects the triple dimension of the centre: chapter library, Saint James library and auxiliary library to the Cathedral Archive.

Through the donations by the precentor Alonso Sánchez de Ávila and Archbishop Álvaro de Isorna, the cathedral library was completed in 1454 and it was located in one of the cloister towers. It consisted of an ensemble of books put together to cover the needs of the canons: liturgical and biblical texts, which they used for their worshipping, and legal works, which they used to defend the interests of the cathedral Council, to advise the prelate or for their tasks of archbishop audience. The first documented reference to the temporary charge of guardian or doorman of the library is from the second half of that century. The guardian was in charge of the custody of the cathedral library, whose functions were constitutionally established by archbishop Gaspar de Zúñiga (1569): having the key to the library, opening it two days a week during established hours, cleaning the books and the library; remaining inside to prevent thefts.

After the founding of the University of Santiago, where from the beginning the most intellectually valuable canons were professors, the interest of the Council in its own library dwindled. This would explain its small size during the entire Modern Era, as mentioned by Ambrosio de Morales. It was not until the Enlightenment when the bases were established for what would later be the Chapter Library―which today can be visited as part of the cathedral's museum itinerary―thanks to the testamentary donations from the canon maestrescuela (head of the Cathedral school), Diego Juan de Ulloa (1762) and the prior from Sar, Pedro Acuña y Malvar (1814).

With the general opening to the public of the Cathedral Archive in the 1980s, the role of the Library as the auxiliary centre for research carried out in the archive was strengthened. But with the new century two events took place which established the Saint James orientation of the Cathedral Library. The first was the approval, in the chapter session of 27 June 2000, of the general plan for the creation of a Saint James Documentation Centre. The second, which took place on the following year, was the allocation of a specific place for the creation of the Saint James Library.

Click here to browse the Bibliographical Collection

Click here to acces the Opac website for Bibliographical Collections


The Cathedral Archive-Library has promoted cultural dissemination through activities such as exhibits, conferences, presentations, guided tours, webs and blogs, etc, but also through the publication and joint publication and distribution of various of its own works or works on the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

With respect to the publications by the ABCS (Spanish acronym for "Cathedral of Santiago Archive-Library"), collections, journals, monographs and exhibit catalogues were published, highlighting:

>the Colección Histórico-Documental de la Iglesia Compostelana, which began in 1998 and is devoted to the publication of monograph studies on medieval history, modern history, history of art, philology and musicology and, above all, to the systematic transcription of the most interesting documents that are kept at the Cathedral Archive.

>the Colección Archivium Sancti Iacobi, which began in 2007 with an initial series for the publication of Instrumentos de descripción from the Cathedral Archive.

>the journal Annuarium Sancti Iacobi which began in 2012 and whose common denominator is the documentary sources, research and works related to or issued by the ABCS, as the cultural expression of that centre, also including works on the documentation of the Church Archives and Libraries and, in general, on ecclesiastic documents.

The publications may be obtained through purchase, subscription or exchange. The Catálogo de venta de publicaciones can be browsed (Catálogo de publicaciones 2014). To view the journal Annuarium Sancti Iacobi, you may visit the website For the exchange of all the other publications from the ABCS, there is a bulletin of duplicates available.

If your institution would like to participate in this bibliographic exchange programme with the ABCS, please write a letter of proposal to our email or postal address  (, attaching a copy of the publication to exchange or your institution's publications catalogue. Clearly specify your postal address for deliveries.



Among the services offered by the Cathedral of Santiago Archive-Library (ABCS), the guided tours are an instrument for cultural activation, to attract society and educate users. Its purpose is to share the wealth of the documentary and bibliographic collections that it keeps (which include the Codex Calixtinus, Cartulary A and the Breviary of Miranda). But its purpose is also to disseminate the documentation and preservation technical works carried out in its interior, as well as to confirm the identity and memory of the Church and of the society it forms part of. All in all, the services it fulfils dissemination, cultural, educational, social and pastoral services.

Guided tours for groups between 6 and 20 people.

a) Special tours: Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 am. Approximate duration: 1 hour.

Price: 15 Euros/person

b) Educational tours: subject to availability. Approximate duration: 45 minutes.

Price: 3 Euros/person

Information and bookings at: 981575609 or by email to (during opening hours).


Further información and norms for visit