The Rajoy Palace
(Click photos to enlarge)
It was archbishop Bartolomé Rajoy y Losada who ordered the construction of this neoclassicist building in the 18th century in a place that had formerly been occupied by the medieval city's walls and prison. It was to serve various purposes: as a seminary for musicians and members of the choir and for the priests who heard confessions in the cathedral as well as a residence for part of the town hall. Lucas Ferro Caaveiro designed the building and its realization was later put in the hands of the French engineer Charles Lemaur. Difficulties during construction were twofold. Firstly the difference in altitude between the Obradoiro square and the much lower western part of the terrain had to be overcome. And secondly those responsible for the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos were not willing to accept the planned height of the new complex for its shade would have effected the Hostal. They prevailed and finally the Rajoy Palace had to be built with one story less than had been intended initially. In spite of these complications the building was completed in about ten years (1766-1777).
The tympanum contains a representation of the Battle of Clavijo (844), in which, according to legend, the appearance of St. James on a white horse decided the clash in favour of the vastly outnumbered Christian troops of Ramiro I. of Asturias who were fighting the Moors under Abd ar-Rahman II. Above the tympanum there's a sculpture of St. James the Moor Slayer (Santiago Matamoros). This effigy repeats the subject of the tympanum and contrasts with the one of St. James the Pilgrim which is placed on the opposite side of the Obradoiro square, on top of the western facade of the cathedral.