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The Lure of Santiago De Compostela

Spain, is a country that as has been mentioned on numerous occasions before is more than perhaps the sum of its constituent parts.

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

As you would expect for a country where organized belief has played such an important part in its history, throughout Spain you will find lots of individual pilgrimage routes.

The way of St. James otherwise known as the Camino de Santiago is possibly the most famous of all of these routes. This first became a popular route for pilgrims in the ninth century when apparently the sepulchre of St James was discovered. The alleged last resting place of St. James the Apostle has been such an attraction that in the centuries following its discovery pilgrims from around the world have walked this particular pilgrimage route.

As is the way with a lot of sacred and remarkable sites interest has been sporadic sometimes good sometimes not so good. The 16th and 17th centuries probably saw the least interest in this particular route. It was on the instructions of one of the Popes of the day that apparently prisoners were told that they could seek penance for former misdemeanours by walking the Way of St James.

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

The combination of Santiago de Compostela and the Way of St. James has become so successful and quite frankly so massive that an entire tourism sub industry has grown up alongside it.

The English route, the French route and the Spanish routes probably are the most common starting off points for the Journey along the Way of St James. That having been said to be honest the most popular of all originates from the north of France right down through northern Spain to Santiago.

Nowadays unless you happen to be a completely devout, fervent and ardent pilgrim it is unlikely that you would travel the entire 760 common to route from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela. Those who do manage the entire route claim that the hardship and suffering that they go through stands him in good stead for being able to appreciate the whole experience once they get to Santiago.

To ensure all of pilgrims who are on the route don't stray from the straight and narrow of the Way of St James an informal system all markers and signposts at strategic points along the way has been developed. These primary consist of yellow arrows placed strategically at various points and are widely credited to be the brainchild of Father Elias Valdinha. Of course his motive may well have been to ensure that pilgrims when they arrived at Santiago arrived in the best possible condition. No matter what, it is a good system and it works.

About The Author Stephen Morgan writes about a great many Internet Travel based issues and more on the above can be found at Accommodation in Galicia . For a more complete overlook at Tourism in Galicia try
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