Monday, June 4, 2012

El Camino de Santiago -- The Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago is not a single route but rather a combination of possible itineraries featuring many points of departure – the pilgrims’ own dwellings for example – with a common destination, namely the Apostle Saint James’ sepulcher in Santiago. Those who journey along the Route with the intention of reaching Santiago can be called spiritual travelers, or even sacred wayfarers. El Camino de Santiago Primitivo (Primitive or Original Way) was the first pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela (Holy Place). This route was originally taken by King Alfonso II the Chaste in the 9th century to visit the tomb of James the Apostle when it was first discovered in 814 AD by the hermit Pelayo. At that time, nearly the entire Iberian Peninsula was under the Caliphs’ rule, except for a tiny Christian kingdom remained unconquered because it was protected by the mountains of Asturias. Peregrinos started the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela following the hardest but most protective way crossing the heart of the mountains range. After reaching Santiago, many pilgrims go on to Finisterre (the old "edge of the earth"), to perform the purification ritual, consisting of burning their clothing and bathing in the sea. So begins “life’s renewal.”

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