As you take your final steps on the Camino de Santiago, leading into the Plaza de Obradoiro, you are walking down the very famous street, Rua de Acibecheria, or the street of Azabache. This street was once the designated street housing the only shops that sold the protective stone, Azabache, in the old town of Santiago de Compostela.
Azabache, otherwise known as black amber, comes from a family of jurassic trees that were extinct more than 65 million years ago. The black amber is found in the northern coast of Spain, in the region of Austrias, where there remains dinosaur imprints visible today. This old stone was a very popular jewellery item from the 16th century.
The stone is jet black and when polished shines bright. It was once highly valued due to the belief around the stone’s abilities. The stone would rid one of negative energy; as well as protect those who wear it from fear, indecisiveness and evil. To those who believe, Azabache is a magic and protective stone. Ages before, pilgrims would wear the stone to guard themselves from evil and some would carve their memories of the Camino de Santiago into the stone.
It is widely popular around the world and you will find many shops in Santiago de Compostela selling the black stone in a variety of forms. It is often carved into the scallop shell and other shapes representing the pilgrimage. Many Spaniards still believe the stone brings good fortune and protects from evil. New babies will often receive the stone as a birth gift. Girls will get a bracelet or earrings; and boys will be given a broach.
Make sure you check out one of the many jewellery stores selling Azabache once you have finished your Camino. You don’t have to find it on Rua de Azabacheria, but if you do you may be in an original shop dating back to the 1800’s. Do visit the Museo del Azabache to learn more about the stone yourself. Whether or not you believe the stone protects from evil, we still suggest buying a piece as it a lovely stone and makes a very pretty souvenir!
Museo del Azabache
Praza de Cervantes, 12, 15704
Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña
Open Monday-Saturday 11-2, 5-9 PM