The History to the Way of St James in Northern Spain and Galicia

The unification of the various autonomous regions of Spain and the resultant product which of course as we all know as a constitutional democracy has inherited a wealthy and varied legacy .

As you travel around the country you can see glimpses of a past wealthy in the heritage of former conquerors be they the Moors, medieval Spaniards themselves or parts of the country that have Jewish and other international flavours.

Organized religion has played such a dominant part in the history and culture of Spain down through the centuries and as a result there are numerous pilgrimage routes to be found throughout the country.

Of all of the pilgrimage routes possibly the most famous is the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James. It was in the ninth century that the Way of St. James became popular allegedly as a result of the remains of St. James being found. Because of this in the following centuries, pilgrims from throughout the world have travelled this route to have the experience of paying tribute to St. James.

the story behind the waves and James is like a lot of other holy shrines in that sometimes people do sometimes it hasn’t them particularly here between the 16th and 17th century there was no one will put an interest in their own way of St. James. Possibly part of the reason for this may have been the alleged instructions from one of the popes of the day who stated that it was possible for prisoners who have been serving time in jail for minor misdemeanours that it might be possible for them to serve penance by undertaking a journey along the way of St. James.

what possibly turned the fortunes of this particular pilgrimage route around was the fact that in the 20th century UNESCO after extensive lobbying finally recognized Santiago de Compostela as a World heritage site of some importance and the knock on benefit of this was increased visitor traffic and more pilgrims.

Nowadays the whole experience of travelling along the Way of St. James toward Santiago is more than just a mere holy pilgrimage though the importance of this has not declined but rather the entire event has become a major tourist attraction.

there are a number of starting off points for the Camino or Way of St. James, the most common of which are probably the English, the French or Spanish routes. Of these three the most frequented as far as pilgrims and travellers are concerned is probably the French and there are a number of routes which originate throughout France but all come to converge upon the town of Roncesvalles.

If most authorities are to be blunt and extremely honest they would have to admit that only the most ardent of pilgrims would start out alone the Camino from Roncesvalles and then journey along the 760 km route to Santiago. The experience and hardship of a 760 km pilgrimage is such that many pilgrims claim that having gone through this hardship on the way they therefore feel more spiritually prepared for the arrival at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela at the end of the pilgrimage.

An informal system of yellow arrows has grown up over the years and these are placed strategically at key points throughout the entire journey to make sure the pilgrims and travellers don’t get lost. Whether or not it is self interest but the system was accredited to Father Elias Valdinha who wanted to make sure that when pilgrims arrived to the end of the journey they were in reasonable shape.

A considerate man.