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The Way of St. James - Santiago de Compostela
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The Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela is the destination for thousands of pilgrims every year who follow 'The Way of St. James' in the belief that the Apostle St. James remains are buried there. They believe it grants them partial remission for their sins and as such these pilgrimages have existed since medieval times.
One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ 'Saint James the Greater' is one of the world's most popular saints. Saint James, Saint Jacob or Sant Iago as he is known in the Galician language, is also the patron saint of Galicia. July 25th, St. James' Day, is Galicia’s National Day.

St. James and his brother St. John made their living as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Both apostles were among the first disciples to join Jesus. James is believed to have been martyred on AD 44 by king Herod Agrippa, grandson of king Herod the Great.

Christians believe  that after James’ death his relics were taken to Spain and laid secretly in Galicia, where they were more or less forgotten. During the 9th century AD his burial place was re-discovered and his shrine became one of the three most important Christian pilgrimage destinations in the world, together with Jerusalem and Rome.

Later in the 7th century a small biography of the Twelve Apostles called the Breviarium Apostolorum started spreading the belief that 'James the son of the Zebedee' had been preaching the gospel in Spain. By the first quarter of the 9th century French deacon Florus of Lyon confirmed that the Holy Apostle was resting “contra mare Britannicum”, by the British sea. Tradition picked it up from there and between AD 818-843 the tomb of St. James was discovered where the city of Santiago de Compostella is located today.

More, it was said, according to Pious tradition, his disciples landed his body at Iria Flavia
( Padrón ) and buried it there. In the 9th century, a star miraculously indicated the site of the tomb and the body of the apostle was transferred to the place which was named Campus Sllae, Field of the Star ( whence, Compostela ). The news spread through Christendom, pilgrims flocked in, and , in the 10th century, a town was already established, with many monasteries and hostelries. But it was thanks to the First Archbishop of Compostela, Don Diego Gelmirez (1112) that it became one of the greatest spiritual centres of Catholicism. Compostela was demolished by the Arabs in 977 and rebuilt with the help of all Christendom. In 1589, the English Admiral Drake menaced the town, and the citizens were forced to hide the Apostle's body. In 1789 the town was occupied by the French.
 The belief exists that St. James's remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.
Europe wanted to believe that the remains of the Apostle were buried there. Christendom had now three great pilgrimage destinations: Jerusalem on the east, Roma in the centre, Santiago on the west.

All of Europe from Kings and queens, saints and bishops, dukes and counts, knights and noblemen,  to the bourgeois and peasants, began to mage a pilgrimage to Santiago. By the 12th century, the pilgrimage to Santiago was more popular than the one to Rome or Jerusalem. Indeed, the pilgrimage was officially supported by the popes of Rome and cleverly marketed by the Galician royalty. Santiago was a vibrant, truly international city.
Pilgrims on their way to Galicia were a common sight on the roads of medieval western Europe. The route of the  'way of St James' mainly by land through a road network that crossed France and northern Spain called "Camino Francés" or "French Way". The second most important pilgrimage route to Santiago was the "Camino Inglés" or "English Way", which was actually the Atlantic seaway that connected the Celtic nations of western Europe.

The pilgrimage to Santiago had far-reaching consequences for European civilization. Besides sharing their culture and fashions all across Europe, pilgrims also took a piece of Galicia back home with them. St. James and Galicia feature regularly in medieval literature from Iceland to Italy. Churches were built and dedicated to St. James everywhere in Europe. The scallop Shell of St. James, international symbol of the pilgrim to St James and one of the national symbols of Galicia, became a frequent feature in medieval European heraldry and guilds.

The Way of St. James has numerous variations but traditionally begins at the pilgrims home and ends up at the Cathedral.
 Some of the routes have more importance.
 The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
 Way of Saint James
Aragon, Spain

Turismo de Aragón - Real Maestranza
Calle Dormer, 21


 (Palacio de la Real Maestranza de Caballería)

Tel. +34 976294539




Way of St. James website



Town Hall Website



The Way of St James Santiago de Compostela Cathedral


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