The landscape on this “internal journey” also changes along the way: Santiago can only be reached by crossing the forests of Navarra, the rivers of Rioja, the barren plains of Castile-Leon and, finally, the mountains of Leon and Galicia.
St. James Way is a truly unique experience for everyone who dares to lace up their boots and start walking.
From East to West Many roads lead to Santiago, the most popular of which is the Camino francés, the French Way, which crosses the Pyrenees Mountains at two different places: Roncesvalles (Navarra) and Somport (Huesca).
These two routes come together in Puente la Reina (Navarra) to become a single “Way” that traverses northern Spain from east to west. Centuries of continuous travel by pilgrims have made this camino one of Western Christianity’s primary economic and cultural routes.
Over time, cities were built, trade developed and, in particular, an incredibly intense cultural and artistic exchange extended among pilgrims, who brought skills and news from very different places and backgrounds. In view of this, the Route of Santiago de Compostela was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.Christian Art Following identification of the apostle’s relics, Charlemagne and the Christian kingdom of northern Spain supported the development of the Camino. This led to the extraordinarily rapid development of cities and villages along the way. The Camino also offers an overview of medieval Christian art, as some of the most fascinating creations from that period can be found along the routes.
The Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, in Jaca, is a modest example, but it is the first major construction on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees and foreshadows the magnitude of the buildings that appear later along the route. Churches such as Santo Sepulcro in Torres del Río, San Martín de Tours in Frómista, and the San Nicolás in Portomarin; monasteries including Santa María la Real in Nájera, San Juan de Ortega in Burgos, and San Julián de Samos in Galicia; and cathedrals, like those in Burgos, Leon and Astorga, all reflect the artistic splendor that is a hallmark of the Camino which leads to the Cathedral of Santiago, indubitably one of the most magnificent buildings in the history of European architecture.
Well-known examples include Holy Week in Andalusia and Castile-La Mancha, San Fermín in Pamplona, and Fallas in Valencia, but there are also lesser-known events which are just as captivating: the Gregorian chants by monks at the Silos Monastery; the magical night of bonfires and water, for St. John’s Eve, in Alicante; the mystery play of Elche; the Moors and Christians festival; Castellers in Catalonia; the Tamburrada in Calanda…
These events are fascinating from an anthropological standpoint, but actually being there is a completely different story. Join us and live a unique experience.