Combining history, art and tradition, the goal of pilgrims and the emblem of St. James, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, in the Plaza do Obradoiro, forms together with the cathedral one of the world's most remarkable, and most visited, urban settings. Since 1954 it has housed the Parador Nacional de Turismo "Hostal dos Reis Católicos". The Catholic Monarchs ordered the construction of this pilgrims' hospital, built by Enrique Egas, in 1501. The design was composed of a Latin-cross ogival chapel with the vault supported by pilasters decorated with the apostles in the blazing style, and on whose sides two courtyards opened out flanked by the quarters for men and women. They are both substituted by the Renaissance courtyards of Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón. The head space was occupied in the 18th century with two new courtyards, forming the present ground plan of Greek cross with four courtyards. The Plateresque facade (1519, French masters Guillén Colás and Martín Bas) is conceived as a stone altarpiece with an iconological message which is explained by the objective of providing clean, healthy lodgings for pilgrims. In 1678, Fray Tomás Alonso refurbished the Renaissance facade by adding a large balcony resting on large profusely-decorated corbels and three new windows. The chapel was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1912 and the whole building was declared one in 1931.
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