The Way of Saint James is the pilgrimage path to Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) on which Cathedral, as per tradition, the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.
After the discovery of the remains, the site grew and became one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites during medieval times. The faithful made their way to Santiago the Compostela either by horse or on foot, to pay tribute to the Saint and as a way to clean their souls of sin. It also was an important route for pagans since it was the path that led to the “End of the World”, the Galician cape called Finisterre (end of land) by the Romans which was thought to be the most western point in Europe.
Historic facts such as the Black Death and the Protestant Revolution led to a decline on the pilgrimage trips, but in the last decades of the XX century there was a notorious increase on the amount of pilgrims reaching the Cathedral, especially after being declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is extremely visited during Holy years (those when July 25th is a Sunday) every since 1179, when Pope Alexander granted plenary indulgence to whoever made a pilgrimage during such years.
The primitive route, done by King Alfonso II in the 9th Century, started from Oviedo heading to Santiago through Lugo. Nowadays the Way runs through all the North of Spain and there are two main paths to perform it. The most ancient one is the Northern route, which starts on the French frontier heading west all along the coastline passing by San Sebastián, Bilbao and Gijón. When reaching Oviedo you can either go on by the coast or take the primitive route. It is very picturesque due to its spectacular coastline against backdrop of mountains and the Cantabrian Sea sightseeing.
On the other hand, the French way was developed after the recovery of the northern region from the Muslims. It is nowadays the most popular path and has two possible start points: Roncesvalles (through Navarre) or Somport (through Aragon). They both meet to continue through the lands of La Rioja and Castille Leon.
All along the Way of Saint James there are several facilities and different kinds of accommodation for pilgrims, so it is good to investigate a little before departing in order not to carry unnecessary stuff, and allow yourself to focus all the energies in this spiritual, adventurous and cultural wonderful experience.
For more information about the path to Santiago de Compostela or other tourist routes in Spain, contact us and we will gladly send you further material about any subject of your interest. We will e-mail this information at no cost within 72 hours and it will be specific to your requirements.
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The Way of Saint James is the pilgrimage path to Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) on which Cathedral, as per tradition, the remains of the apostle Saint...