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(Translation done from Spanish with Google Translate)


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The Holy See has decreed the extension of the Holy Year 2021 throughout the year 2022 due to the exceptional circumstances surrounding its celebration due to the covid-19 pandemic.

(Last update: 11-18-2021)

Santiago el Mayor, son of Zebedeo and Salomé, brother of John the Evangelist, was born in Jaffa.

He was one of the four first disciples chosen by Jesus, his favorites:


Pedro, Andrés and the brothers Santiago and Juan.  These apostles were witnesses of very special moments in the life of Jesus: among them the transfiguration and the agony. Santiago had an impulsive and passionate character, which is why Jesus called him "son of thunder." He begins his apostolic work in Jerusalem. Later by ship it arrived at an Andalusian port, continuing through Portuguese lands until arriving at Iria Flavia in Galicia. Later, he would return to Palestine, dying beheaded in Jerusalem  in AD 42 under Herod Agrippa.

He is the apostle who furthest from Jerusalem preaches the teachings of Jesus Christ and the first apostle to die martyred.

According to Saint Jerome, it had been arranged that, as the Apostles went out to all places on earth to preach the gospel, each of them would rest in the province in which they had preached the gospel.

Bishop León (bishop of Jerusalem), tells in an epistle addressed to Franks, Vandals, Visigoths and Ostrogoths that, in a synod, four of the disciples of Saint James the Greater appeared to him and they told him that they had collected the body of the apostle and they had taken him on a ship to Galicia. At the end of the epistle, Bishop León exhorts Christendom to travel to the place and pray because "Santiago certainly lies hidden there." (Five main versions of this epistle are preserved with slight variations from one to the other).

The conclusions of the aforementioned epistle were collected by the martyrologies that circulated throughout the West.

Consequently, according to tradition (possible legend), his corpse was stolen by his disciples Athanasius and Teodoro and taken to Iria Flavia. Upon reaching land, the disciples placed the body of Santiago on a large slab that "with the weight and as if it were melted wax" became a tomb that they carried on a cart drawn by oxen. During transportation, upon arrival in the forest  from Libredón, the oxen refused to continue. This was considered a divine sign and was chosen as the burial place. They placed the body of the apostle in a marble ark, marble ark, and buried it.


In the Breviary of the Apostles, from the end of the 6th century, it speaks of the preaching of Santiago in Spain and of his burial in the Ark Marmárica.

Saint Isidore of Seville in his treatise "De ortu et obitu patrium" also says that Santiago has preached in Spain and is buried in the Ark Marmárica.

In the second half of the 7th century, Bede the Venerable accurately describes where the body of the apostle is located.

Later in the time of King Mauregato (King of Asturias between 783 and 789) the hymn “O Dei Verbum” (attributed to the Blessed of Liébana) was composed in which Santiago el Mayor is described as “the golden head of Spain, our protector and national patron ”.

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Concordia de Antealtares (dated 1077) tells that a hermit named Pelayo who lived in Solovio, in the Libredón forest, between 820 and 830 AD, observed mysterious glows at night. He informs the bishop of Iria Flavia (Teodomiro) that when he goes to the place, he finds that the light marked the place where the Ark Marmárea was buried. In the sepulcher there were three bodies attributed to Santiago the Greater and his disciples Theodore and Athanasius.


Teodomiro informs King Alfonso II the Chaste that he had residence in Oviedo. The king who had grown up in the monastery of Samos receives the news with enthusiasm and decides to travel to the place through the route:

Oviedo, Alto del Acebo, Lugo, Melide, Santiago.

Upon reaching the "Campo de Estrellas" (Compostela), he ordered the construction of a small church (found in archaeological excavations). Teodomiro moved the episcopal see to this place and died in 847 (his sepulchral lauda appeared in archaeological excavations).

Tumba de teodomiro en la Catedral de San

Alfonso II El Casto is considered to be the first pilgrim to

Santiago de Compostela.


the path followed by him:

"Oviedo, Alto del Acebo, Lugo, Melide, Santiago"

is currently called


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Alfonso III the Great made a pilgrimage to Santiago in 872 and did it again accompanied by his wife Jimena in 874, donating to the apostle a gold and gemstone cross that disappeared in 1906. In 2004 a replica was built, which is the that can currently be observed.

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Some outstanding pilgrims of the 10th century are: Bretenaldo in 930; King Ramiro II in 932; Bishop Gotescalco de Le Puy in 950; the abbot Cesáreo de Santa Cecilia de Montserrat which increased the prestige of Compostela as the seat of the western peninsula.


The facts mentioned are disseminated orally throughout Europe. In addition, the place was close to Finisterre and there was a belief that the world ended there and that the Atlantic Ocean was the tomb of the Sun.

Thus arises, the mystical component

of the Camino de Santiago:

"walk to reach the hereafter."

Finisterre could be reached from anywhere in Europe by following the Milky Way. Hence, the Milky Way is also known as "Camino de Santiago".

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In the Middle Ages, the pilgrims used to go out in groups to protect each other and the entire town would go out to see them off, because some never returned, victims of the difficulties of the road, of diseases or of bandits and thugs.

On the other hand, during the 9th and 10th centuries, the Arabs carried out various military incursions through the peninsula.

The Asturian and Leonese Kings consider that the tomb of the Apostle Santiago, Jesus' preferred disciple, can be useful to consolidate his kingdom and Christian culture in the face of Muslims as well as to make himself known to the rest of European Christianity.

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They make Santiago el Mayor the standard bearer of the Christian armies and the legend of his glorious intervention in the battle of Clavijo is created in which on May 23, AD 844 Ramiro I defeats Abderramán II. Since then, Christian armies go into battle with the cry:

"Santiago and closes Spain"

In 899 Alfonso III, El Magno, consecrates a new cathedral.  In the year 977 Almanzor destroys Santiago although he respects the apostle's tomb. Two bells are carried to the Mosque of Córdoba.

The order of Cluny echoes the prestige of Compostela and during the 11th century it promoted pilgrimages to Santiago. In return, Christian kings make generous donations to their monasteries.

Throughout the 11th century the influx of pilgrims intensified and bridges and hospitals began to be built in the necessary enclaves. A main route begins to be established with its respective stations (French Way).


In 1073, Bishop Diego Peláez and King Alfonso VI began the construction of the current cathedral.

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The first archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, Diego Gelmírez, was born in the Torres del Oeste castle in Catoira, where his father, Gelmirio, a member of the lower nobility, was the governor of the castle under Bishop Diego Peláez. He stood out from a young age for his talent. Perhaps he studied in Paris and in some French convents of the order of Cluny.

He definitely promoted the construction of the current cathedral.

He greatly promoted the pilgrimage to Santiago, which becomes a goal of Christian pilgrimage at the same level as Rome and Jerusalem.

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Those who made the way to Santiago de Compostela were called "PILGRIMS"; Those who traveled to Rome were called "ROMEROS" and those who went to Jerusalem were called "PALMEROS".

The pilgrims to Santiago were very numerous, generally Christians from all over Europe, who created a social, cultural, religious and economic framework along the roads that led to Santiago de Compostela. The order of Cluny created numerous monasteries all along the way.

In the Middle Ages, the pilgrims used to go out in groups to protect each other and the entire town would go out to see them off, because some never returned, victims of the difficulties of the road, of diseases or of bandits and thugs.


In 1214 San Francisco de Asís made a pilgrimage to Santiago, and founded the convent of San Francisco. Of the first building, only five pointed arches are preserved in the main cloister. The new cloister was built by Ginés Martínez in 1607. The church was built by Simón Rodríguez in 1742.
It has been declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1986.

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The educational, evangelizing and fraternal work of the Franciscans increases the popularity of the pilgrimage to Santiago


In the Middle Ages, a popular religiosity arises, whose most visible form was the pilgrimage, in accordance with the work of St. Augustine who developed the idea that

life is just a path, a pilgrimage to the other life.

Comienzo de la peregrinación

The Camino de Santiago was a means of communication, generator of a social and economic life that gave rise to the formation of cities and towns and, consequently, to a transformation of the landscape. It has been key to the development of various European cultures. The Jacobean routes have favored communication and the exchange of ideas, techniques and projects that, based on religious beliefs, generated over the centuries a set of their own cultural forms common to all European peoples. The great cultural and artistic movements such as Romanesque, Gothic, cantigas and deeds songs have spread throughout Europe creating a common culture.


It is a compilation in five books of all the liturgical texts, Jacobean traditions, miracles and memory of the pilgrimage path, made in Compostela in the 12th century. It began in the times of Diego Gelmírez (1100-1140) and was concluded in the decade of 1170-1180 with the addition of some folios with musical notation, which constitute the oldest polyphonies in the West.

  • Book I: compiles the liturgical texts (masses, homilies, sermons) in honor of the apostle. In the sermon Veneranda dies, it is about the meaning of the pilgrimage in the Middle Ages.

  • Book II: compiles the 22 most famous miracles of Santiago el Mayor.

  • Book III: dedicated to the transfer of the body of Santiago from Jerusalem to Galicia.

  • Book IV: dedicated to the adventures of the Emperor Charlemagne in Spain. The fight of Charlemagne and heroes such as Roldán against the Muslims, the discovery of the tomb of Santiago, the construction of the city of Santiago and the liberation of the pilgrimage route are narrated.

  • Book V: describes the roads to Santiago in France and Spain. Includes the Liber Sancti Iacobi.

  • Musical appendix to the codex. The oldest polyphony in Europe. Collection of twenty-one pieces possibly by French musicians who worked in the cathedral scriptorium of Santiago.

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The best-known book in the Codex is the book V. Aymeric Picaud, a 12th century French monk who made the Camino de Santiago. He is the author of Liber Sancti Iacobi, considered the first guide to the Camino de Santiago, included in book V of the Codex Calixtinus, in which the Camino from France to Santiago is narrated. Reference is made to the dangers of the Camino because, during his pilgrimage, he was attacked by bandits who killed his horses. He also criticized the tolls, called "portazgos" at the time (payments that travelers had to make for rights of way over roads or bridges), he thought that the nobles of the area were taking advantage of the situation.

It describes the geographical elements, customs, anecdotes and dangers of the pilgrimage, distances between towns, sanctuaries and monuments, as well as observations on gastronomy, potable water, character of the people and customs of the towns. Includes a list of diseases cured by Santiago.

Aymeric was the personal secretary of Pope Callisto II, to whom the monks of Cluny attribute the book, hence its name. In principle, the work was attributed to him so that it would have greater dissemination.

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The Xunta de Galicia has agreed to promote the inclusion of the Codex Calixtinus

in the register of the “Memory of the World” of UNESCO,

intended for the protection of documentary and bibliographic heritage.

The 12th and 13th centuries are traditionally considered the golden age of the pilgrimage to Santiago. The confluence of interests between the Kings (from Alfonso II to Alfonso VII or Sancho Ramírez), the Vatican (popes Calixto II and Alejandro III), Monastic Orders (Cluny and Cister) make the popularity of the Camino a Santiago soar.

Thousands of pilgrims from all over Europe make the pilgrimage to Compostela with their cane and their gourd-canteen. The scallop obtained will credit, upon return, your stay in Compostela.

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The Liber Codex Calixtinus was written to give prestige to Compostela and Galicia and to connect them with the rest of Europe. In it the legend of the appearance of Santiago to the Emperor Charlemagne and his arrival in Compostela is created.

In the S. XII, various reproductions of the Calixtino Codex were made in Compostela with the aim of spreading the cult and pilgrimage to Santiago throughout Europe, reaching important centers of worship and intellectuals of the time throughout the continent.

One of the copies (from the 12th century) is in the archive of San Pietro c. 128 of the Vatican Apostolic Library.

Another copy (from the 14th century, ca. 1325) is in the General Historical Library of the University of Salamanca.

The copies of the Liber Sancti Iacobi of the Vatican and Salamanca take as a model the Compostela codex and include miniatures that show the scene of the meeting between Santiago and the emperor. They are two of the only three illuminated Calixtin codices (in addition to the original from Santiago de Compostela) and allow us to observe graphic details lost in the original Compostela, such as the face of the Emperor Charlemagne.

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It belongs to the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge.

The Sawley Map (dated around 1190) was discovered in the library of Sawley Abbey, a Cistercian monastery in Yorkshire. It is one of the first European world maps and is considered the oldest surviving encyclopedic map (geographical aspects and historical, biblical and legends are represented) of the British Isles.

It reveals what was known in Europe about the Kingdom of Galicia in the 12th century, during which time Galicia had a great cultural, economic and institutional flowering. The map places the Cathedral of Santiago as the most important building in Europe, representing it with a larger size than the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.


Through the sacrament of penance, a person who, repentant and with the purpose of amendment, confesses his sins to a confessor, obtains God's forgiveness for the sins committed, but only the guilt is forgiven and not the temporary penalty associated with each sin. .

Indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal penalty of sins already forgiven in terms of guilt in a confession. if certain conditions are met.

The indulgence may be partial or plenary, depending on whether it partially or totally frees from the temporal penalty corresponding to sins forgiven in terms of guilt in a confession.

Any faithful can profit for himself or apply for the deceased, by way of suffrage, both partial and plenary indulgences, but he cannot apply them to other living persons.

In the year 1120, Pope Callisto II granted Compostela the privilege of being Holy Years or Jubilee Years every year in which July 25 (Santiago's day) falls on a Sunday, which happens every 6, 5, 6 and 11 years.

This is confirmed in 1179, by the bull Regis Aeterni of Pope Alexander III.

Initially the granting of the plenary indulgence was not something stable, there is discussion among historians about when it became permanent, some say that it occurred in the first half of the 15th century (holy year of 1428 or 1434), others that it was necessary to wait until the holy year of 1484 in which Pope Sixtus IV established the final confirmation.

Today, in the world there are five places that have been granted a permanent jubilee:

  • Santiago de Compostela.

  • Santo Toribio de Liébana.

  • Caravaca de la Cruz.

  • Rome.

  • Jerusalem.

The pilgrimage is not linked to the jubilep (obtaining a plenary indulgence), there are places of pilgrimage such as Fatima and Lourdes that do not have a jubilee.

Currently, in Compostela, the holy year is inaugurated with the opening of the Holy Door on December 31 of the previous year in the afternoon. From the outside, the Archbishop of Santiago strikes the wall that covers the door three times with a silver hammer. The door will remain open for the next twelve months and will be the access that pilgrims will traditionally use to enter the cathedral.

Puerta Santa Catedral de

By winning the jubilee, a plenary indulgence is granted (forgiveness of all temporal penalties for sins committed and confessed), it can be earned once a day. To obtain it, the following conditions must be met:

  • First: Visit (by any means, on foot, by car, by plane, ...) in the Holy Year the Compostela Cathedral where the Tomb of Santiago el Mayor is kept.

  • Second: Pray a prayer (the Creed, the Our Father and ask for the Pope's intentions). It is recommended to attend Holy Mass.

  • Third: Receive the Sacraments of Penance and Communion, within the period between the fifteen days before and after the visit to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

When a pilgrim fulfills the conditions for obtaining the plenary indulgence, it is said that "he has won the jubilee"

The rites of entering the Holy Door into the cathedral, embracing the statue of the apostle on the high altar, and praying in the crypt before the ark containing the relics, are neither necessary nor sufficient to win the jubilee.

The first condition can be replaced by the following:

  • If a pilgrim dies during the trip or in Santiago itself, intending to fulfill the other two, he automatically wins the plenary indulgence.

  • If a pilgrim in a Holy Year is injured or feels unwell and cannot reach Santiago, he can win the plenary indulgence if he visits the Church of Santiago de Villafranca del Bierzo and fulfills the other two conditions.

  • If a pilgrim visits the cathedral of Santiago on July 25 (feast of Santiago)  of any year and meets the other two conditions.

  • If a pilgrim visits the cathedral of Santiago on April 21 (feast of dedication of the cathedral) of any year and meets the other two conditions.

  • If a pilgrim visits the cathedral of Santiago on December 30 (feast of the transfer of the apostle's body to Galicia) and meets the other two conditions.


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A confessor is a priest licensed to confess. Priests may be given the faculty to confess "ipso iure" or by concession of the competent authority.

The Pope and the Cardinals have "ipso iure" the faculty of hearing confessions from the faithful throughout the world, and likewise the Bishops, who also exercise it lawfully anywhere, unless the Diocesan Bishop opposes it in a case. concrete. The rest of the priests licensed to confess, cannot make confession anywhere as regulated in articles 965 to 986 of the Code of Canon Law. There are also sins that normal confessors cannot absolve, they must be confessed to a Bishop.

During the jubilee:

Any priest licensed to confess may:

  • Confess in the cathedral, in the parishes of the city of Santiago de Compostela and on Monte del Gozo.

  • Absolve of "censures" except those reserved to the Holy See (see Code of Canon Law 1367, 1370, 1378, 1382 and 1383) but with the powers granted by 976 and 1357.

  • Commute and dispense vows under the conditions established by the Church.

The Code of Canon Law can be consulted at:

See the Code of Canon Law

In addition, there are numerous books that deal with the jurisprudence and interpretation of the Code of Canon Law. 

Codex Calixtinus

For various reasons, pilgrimages begin to decrease


It is a century in which there were many negative events:

The feeling of intellectual poverty grows  

Petrarca starts a campaign to recover classical culture. He believed that after the fall of Rome, artistic and literary creation had fallen into its bottomless pit and that the Muses had gone into exile.

Hundred Years War  

A conflict between England and France spread to their areas of influence, maintaining intermittent conflicts for 116 years.

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Little Ice Age or Little Ice Age

After a hot period called the Medieval Climate Optimum (10th to 14th century), due to various causes such as low solar activity, increased volcanic activity, ocean-atmosphere interactions, natural climate variability and depopulation of Europe Because of the Black Death, intermittent cold spells occurred that affected the northern hemisphere, especially Europe, from the early 14th to the mid-19th century. There were three lows: one in 1650, another around 1770, and the last in 1850. Millions of people died from the cold. Huge glaciers spilled across Europe, rivers remained frozen for a long time, and Eskimos could kayak down to Scotland.

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Peste Negra (1347 a 1353)

It is the most serious plague pandemic in the entire history of mankind. It started in Asia and spread to Europe through trade routes. Long trips create problems. The number of deaths varies greatly from one region to another, while some were devastated, others hardly suffered its effects. According to current estimates, between 75 and 200 million people died. On the other hand, they were immediately found guilty and the Jews were accused of causing the pandemic through the poisoning and poisoning of wells, which caused the extinction of the Jewish communities in certain localities.

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Capitulations of Granada (2-01-1492)

The Capitulations of Granada take place in which the Muslim King Boabdil hands over the keys to the city and the Alhambra to the Catholic Monarchs. With the conquest of Granada the Catholic Monarchs finalized the Reconquest.

Santiago Matamoros is no longer necessary.

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Discovery of America (12-10-1492)  

Discovery of America. Columbus demonstrates to European citizens that the world does not end in Finisterre, that beyond there are other lands and not other worlds outside the Earth.

The Earth is no longer the center of the Universe

In 1543 the work of Copernicus "On the revolutions of the celestial spheres" is published, the Earth revolves around the Sun. In 1610, Galileo publishes the "Sidereus Nuncius" ("The Sidereal Messenger"), the Moon has mountains and valleys , Venus has phases, Jupiter has satellites that revolve around it. That is to say,

Finisterre is not the end of the world.

Protestants dissuade their followers from pilgrimage to Compostela

Luther states the following: “I mean, it is not known whether Santiago or a dead horse or dog lies there…     "... so let him lie down and don't go there ...".

Hiding the remains of Santiago Apóstol

In 1589, Juan de Sanclemente y Torquemada (archbishop of Santiago in the period 1587-1602) hides the remains of Santiago the Apostle without telling anyone. According to the minutes of the Cathedral Chapter, they are hiding before the threat of the privateer Francis Drake.

As England's response to the unsuccessful attack by the Invincible Armada, the English privateer had attacked the city of La Coruña months before and it could be suspected that one of his targets could be a center of Christianity such as Santiago de Compostela.

The historian Ofelia Rey, professor of Modern History at the University of Santiago de Compostela, has stated that “the remains of the Apostle Santiago were hidden from the end of the sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century, without anyone trying to search for them. crude, because that was not the cause ”.

At that time, the  lipsanoteca of the monastery of El Escorial , with the idea of gathering there the most outstanding relics of the world. The chronicler Ambrosio de Morales, sends Felipe II a very critical report on how the relics distributed around the cathedral were cared for. A later report recommends  Philip II  that the remains of the Apostle Santiago be taken to the Escorial. In addition, during a lawsuit between the five bishoprics of the crown of Castile and the Compostela cathedral, one of the Castilian lawyers based his defense on the fact that the documentation of the cathedral of Santiago and the remains of the apostle are false, therefore, it is requested a visual inspection of them.

According to Ofelia Rey, the remains of the apostle are hidden for fear that they would end up in a place other than the cathedral of Santiago.

As a consequence, on July 25, 1867, only a few dozen pilgrims had come to Compostela.

Nuevo Eje Integrador
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In 1878, when Payá Rico was the archbishop of Santiago, some works on the main altar reveal a tomb with three bodies. The Spanish ecclesiastical and scientific authorities of the time, consider that it is the remains of the apostle and two of his disciples. Which is ratified in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII in his Bull Deus Omnipotens.

In the last quarter of the twentieth century there was a resurgence of pilgrimages to Santiago, playing a prominent role  Mr. Víctor Vázquez Portomeñe (Counselor of Education, Counselor of Institutional Relations, Counselor of  Culture, Councilor for Parliamentary Affairs of the Xunta de Galicia; Spanish Senator) and Mr. Elías Valiña Sampedro (pastor of O Cebreiro).

The definitive impulse for the pilgrimage was the visits to Compostela de los Papas; John Paul II in 1982 and in 1989 on the occasion of World Youth Day, and Benedict XVI in the Holy Year 2010.


Víctor Vázquez Portomeñe in his stages as Councilor of the Xunta de Galicia, the first program for the celebration and dissemination of the Jacobean Holy Year was developed in 1993 and the Cultural Heritage laws of Galicia (Law 8/1995) and the Protection Law were approved. of the roads of Santiago (Law 3/1996).

Elías Valiña Sampedro, in 1965 read his doctoral thesis "The Camino de Santiago. Historical-legal study". In 1982 he directed the publication of the "Pilgrim's Guide. Camino de Santiago". As of 1985, as Coordinating Commissioner of the Camino, he promoted the creation of most of the Spanish Jacobean associations and directed the Bulletin of the Camino de Santiago in its first stage.

A student of the Camino de Santiago, he recovered lost sections of the French Way that he marked with yellow arrows from France to Santiago.


The European Union is being built. It is interesting to once again promote the Camino de Santiago to contribute to the union of the various European countries.

Currently, the Camino de Santiago is a space linked to the idea of Europe. Associations, fraternities, brotherhoods, study centers and institutes proliferate everywhere whose purpose is the study and dissemination of the Jacobean event and its projection in European history and culture.

At the same time, the pilgrimages are back in force. Spiritual, cultural, historical, artistic, sports reasons move people of all nationalities and ideas to travel the Camino de Santiago to Compostela.

“The route of Compostela, towards the  Finis Terrae of the continent, account  with a millennium of existence and concerns the whole of the European territory ...... the movement towards Compostela, which previously had a fundamentally religious character, today acquires another objective: to promote the meeting of people from all corners of the continent and to show them a path that unites past and future ”.

Jose Maria Ballester

The Camino a Santiago has been and is a source of transmission of culture and art.


In 1987 the Council of Europe granted the road the title of "European Cultural Route".

In 1993 the Camino de Santiago was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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In 2020 due to COVID the number of pilgrims drops to 53,896

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The different routes traveled by pilgrims who go to Santiago de Compostela on pilgrimage are called the Camino de Santiago.

It could be said that there are as many Camino de Santiago routes as there are pilgrims.

However, officially certain routes have been established

so that pilgrims have a minimum of services and signage.

In Spain there are more than fifty and there are hundreds throughout Europe.

For a route to be the Camino de Santiago

It must have a documented history of the passage of pilgrims and the reception of walkers through hospitals or shelters.

The best known route is the "French Way", which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. In 1998, UNESCO also declared the Ways of Saint James in France a World Heritage Site (Camino de Tuy, Camino de Limoges, Camino de Tours and Way of Arles or Toulouse). In 2015, the following were also declared World Heritage Sites: the Camino de la Costa, the Camino Primitivo, the Camino Lebaniego and the Camino Vasco del Interior. But there are many more routes.

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The scallop shell, also known as the shell of Santiago, is the symbol par excellence of the various official routes to Santiago. However, before the Camino de Santiago was established, it already had a meaning as it appears carved in various tombs of the first Christians.

At the beginning of the road to Santiago, when pilgrims arrived in Santiago, they acquired a scallop shell that they placed on their cape or hat to indicate that they had reached Compostela.

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They indicate the direction to follow when reaching a certain point. They are painted on the trees, on the streetlights, on the ground, on the walls ...

The idea came to Don Elías Valiña (parish priest of O Cebreiro) and later it has been followed by the Public Administrations and the Associations of Friends of the Way.

In the image you can see Aida Menéndez Lorenzo, president of the association “Camiños a Santiago pola Ribeira Sacra”, painting a yellow arrow on a traffic light in Monforte de Lemos.

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Currently, to indicate that we are on a road to Santiago, it is inserted in the walls, milestones, signs, information panels, shelters, it is a scallop shell logo formed by yellow lines (which simulate the channels of the shell) on a blue background. These colors are used, as they are the official colors of the flag of the European Union.

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At certain points on the roads to Santiago, the Public Administrations have placed markers with the logo of the scallop shell engraved on the most visible face for the pilgrim, to indicate that they are on an official road to Santiago. The orientation of the logo does not indicate the direction to follow, only that it is on the road, the direction is indicated by the yellow arrows. In Galicia, the remaining kilometers to reach Santiago are also indicated.

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Mysticism tries to spiritually connect people with the extra earthly.

In the Neoplatonic school the inner illumination of the soul was sought by deepening the intuitive intelligence instead of the purely rational intelligence. Mystical experiences cannot be rationally understood or expressed in words, they cannot be verified by reason or the senses, but they can be felt. It is about performing a spiritual activity with the aim of merging the human soul with divinity.

Most of the time, today's society is only interested in material or earthly things and concerns, forgetting the connection with the transcendent, taking into account the mystical side.


("Proverbios y Cantares" del libro Campos de Castilla)

Caminante, son tus huellas

el camino y nada más;

Caminante, no hay camino,

se hace camino al andar.

Al andar se hace el camino,

y al volver la vista atrás

se ve la senda que nunca

se ha de volver a pisar.

Caminante no hay camino

sino estelas en la mar.

For Antonio Machado, only what is lived matters: "Caminante, the path is your footprints, and nothing else ...", to live you have to decide to walk the path, what you want and imagine matters little.


(Ven con nosotros)


Cuando me han visto solo y recostado

al borde del camino,

unos hombres con trazas de mendigos

que cruzaban rebeldes y afanosos

me han dicho;

–Ven con nosotros, peregrino.

Y otros hombres con portes de patricios

que llevaban sus galas intranquilos,

me han hablado lo mismo:

–Ven con nosotros, peregrino.

Yo a todos los he visto

perderse allá a lo lejos del camino…

y me he quedado solo,

sin despegar los labios, en mi sitio.

The path is a unique, contagious and blissful experience that cannot be lived if we do not do the path.


The path can be done with a double objective:

On the one hand as a leisure to enjoy nature, the landscape, monuments, food, find new landscapes, new people, new places, and on the other, as a reflection on oneself and on the teachings that the lifetime.

  • Walking alone allows us to reflect on life, on the importance of each moment, on the passage of time, the way to face existence and discover new horizons. Each person has to travel their path "Walker there is no Path" and they have to decide to travel it facing the uncertainty of what will happen.

  • Walking in a group allows us to share experiences with other pilgrims.

In both cases, whether we walk alone or in a group, we can and must understand the traces (objects, buildings, ...) left by those who have preceded us on the way, from ancient times to the present. To have a good memory of the road, it is convenient to walk light, sensitive (capturing everything), free (without ties).

Doing the Camino is a mystical activity.

It is about reflecting on oneself, on nature,

on the social relations of our time and of earlier times,

about the transcendent.

The material way in which the path is made is secondary: it can be done on foot, on horseback, by bicycle or by car.

The Cabildo Compostelano does not consider that the road can be made by car, I think they are wrong. There are many older people and children who cannot perform the physical effort of the other procedures, but they can perform the same or greater mystical activity by taking the road by car.

Walking makes you put on automatic pilot in many moments and that is where your inner echo comes in: you listen to what hurts you physically and emotionally and you understand what you want to return to and what not. The Camino is a wonderful cure.

I discovered that I was capable of being independent. Going alone, meeting a lot of people and having a great time showed me that I could walk the world alone. We are not used to going alone to places we do not know. I had never traveled alone. I discovered that nobody eats you.

Even if you go with people, you do it alone: ​​you have to walk at your pace and be alone with you. It is essential to go at your own pace, and that each one arrives when it arrives. You will not miss anything, you will find someone who will help you.


“It is essential to go your way and be alone with your inner echo. It is a wonderful cure "


Dolores Redondo


The credential is a document that certifies that a person is making the Camino a Santiago and therefore is a pilgrim. initially it was a letter issued by the pastor of the parish to which the person belonged or a similar authority. The great variety of roads and the high number of pilgrims and origins have led to the elaboration of an official accreditation model.


Today there is an official model of credential distributed and accepted by the Pilgrimage Office of the Diocese of Santiago. It can be obtained by requesting it in person at the Pilgrim Welcome Office or at other institutions authorized by the Cathedral of Santiago for distribution, such as parishes, Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, pilgrim hostels, brotherhoods, etc. In Spain and outside of Spain, some associations related to the pilgrimage have been authorized to distribute their own credentials with a reference to the goal of the pilgrimage in the Cathedral of Santiago.

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The official credential and others recognized by the Cathedral of Santiago are printed on cardboard and consists of sixteen pages that open in the shape of an accordion. The first pages are illustrated in the photo that accompanies the text. The first page works as a cover letter and should be filled in at the distribution association with the pilgrim's information. There is also a space at the top for the stamp of the entity that delivered the credential; At the bottom of the same page, the date and the seal of the Cathedral will be placed once the pilgrimage is completed.


You must collect stamps from the places you go through in the "Pilgrim's Credential", which acts as a certification of passage. The stamps of churches, hostels, monasteries, cathedrals and all the places related to the Camino are preferred, but in the absence of these, it can also be sealed in other institutions: town halls, cafes, etc. The credential must be stamped twice a day, at the departure and arrival of the corresponding stage, including the corresponding date, so that it is seen that the pilgrim has resumed the Way in the same place where he had left it ( must always seal in the place where it begins, even if we had already sealed in the same place at the end of the previous stage).

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The credential is essential to be able to use the shelters along the way and to obtain the Compostella


When the pilgrimage to the Tomb of Santiago was institutionalized, it acquired social and religious considerations, therefore, it became necessary to prove that it had been carried out. Initially, an insignia was used (the scallop shell) that was only acquired in Santiago. These badges were easy to counterfeit so they were sold at the entrance to Santiago, which led the Pope to decree a penalty of excommunication for counterfeiters. For this reason, in the thirteenth century the so-called letters of evidence were established as accreditation, which were much more difficult to obtain.  falsify. These letters are the origin of the Compostella.


The boom in tourism made the Cabildo of the Metropolitan Church of Santiago fear that the effort and sacrifice in atonement for the sins of the pilgrimage on foot, would become a playful activity to spend the holidays, so it is only granted the "Compostela" for those who make the way to Santiago on foot, by bicycle or on horseback for religious and / or spiritual reasons.


Make the pilgrimage for religious or spiritual reasons.

Do the last 100 km or the last 200 km on foot or on horseback. cycling.

Present the perfectly stamped credential to justify that the required conditions have been met.

Children and the pilgrimage

Children who make the pilgrimage with their parents or in groups, and who have received the sacrament of Communion, or who have the ability to understand what the spiritual or religious nature of the Way means, can receive the “Compostela”. If they are not mature enough due to their young age, they are awarded a special certificate with their names. In the case of babies or very young children, their names are included in the “Compostela” of their parents or accompanying adult.


The Compostella is written in Latin. Its translation into Spanish is as follows:

The Cabildo of this Holy Apostolic and Metropolitan Compostela Cathedral Church, custodian of the seal of the Altar of Santiago Apóstol, to all the Faithful and pilgrims who arrive from any part of the Orb of the Earth with an attitude of devotion or by reason of vote or promise, pilgrim Tomb of the Apostle, Our Patron and Protector of Spain, accredits all those who observe this document that:


He has devotedly and Christianly visited this most sacred temple after having traveled the last hundred kilometers on foot and on horseback or by bicycle the last two hundred in a Christian sense (pietatis causa).

In faith of which I give you this document endorsed with the seal of this same Holy Church.

Given in Santiago de Compostela on the day… month… year of the Lord…

The Dean of the SAMI Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.


In the 16th century the Catholic Monarchs  They constituted the Royal Hospital Foundation and ordered the construction of the building that today occupies the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos. The pilgrims when presenting the Compostella acquired the right to be hosted free of charge  during three days. In 1954 it became a Parador de Turismo, which, according to the PILGRIM'S WELCOME OFFICE, continues to offer free meals to the first 10 pilgrims who come to the hostel each day with the "Compostella", or a photocopy of the herself.

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If when presenting the correctly filled out accreditation it is said that the journey has been made for cultural but not religious reasons, a diploma can be requested to serve as a reminder that the Camino de Santiago has been completed.

Diploma de haber realizado el camino-WEB

From the month of July 2020, the pilgrim can register online on the website of the Pilgrim's Office. At the following address you can choose the language used:

Eleccion de idioma en el registro del pe

The form to fill out is the following:


As of January 1, 2021, pilgrims, through a mobile application, will be able to register their route on a digital credential, in which they will be able to enter the places they have passed through.
There will be an OFFICIAL WEBSITE in which the establishments that provide stamps to the pilgrim credentials will be able to register to digitize their image and obtain a QR code with which, when scanned by the pilgrim with their mobile, it will be automatically incorporated into their digital credential.
The image of the stamps that are incorporated virtually will be the same as that of the paper credential, with which it will coexist.

By not using the paper credential, interpersonal contacts are avoided and procedures are expedited. In addition, it will be synchronized with the digital registry of the pilgrims, thus streamlining the entire process and those responsible for the Pilgrim's Office can make an estimate of the number of pilgrims who will arrive in Santiago in the next few dates and apply the resources of those who have.


The Pilgrim Welcome Office has announced the development of an online platform to facilitate the pilgrim's obtaining the Compostela.

The pilgrim will register in advance on the Pilgrim Office website and will fill in the submitted form. In this way, the data is anticipated for when the Compostela is to be obtained and the attention time is expedited.

Once the pilgrim has finished his tour and arrives at the Welcome Center, located on Carretas de Santiago street, he will be able to withdraw a ticket that allows a virtual queue. The tickets include a QR code through which users can check the status of the queue and their position in it in real time, as well as an estimate of the waiting time. In this way, each person can calculate the moment in which they must report to the office.


The Xunta has developed an online platform , to reserve a place in the public hostels on the Camino de Santiago. Through it you can access a search engine with all the establishments of the public network, you can locate the hostels depending on the route you follow and you can make a reservation from the day before until 1:00 p.m. to go to stay overnight. The name, email and date of the reservation and optionally a contact telephone number are requested. Reservations can be made for groups of up to five people. You don't need to register, but doing so will speed up the process.

Alternatively, you can get a place when you arrive at the establishment as long as it has capacity.

The Xunta is developing another analogous platform to reserve a place online in private hostels.


The Jubilee is a spiritual grace by which the forgiveness of temporal penalties is obtained for all sins committed already confessed and forgiven as regards guilt. To obtain it, you do not have to walk the path, it is enough to meet the conditions seen above.

Entering through the holy door, embracing the apostle and praying in the crypt before the ark that contains the relics are rites established by tradition that are neither necessary nor sufficient to obtain the Jubilee.

The Compostella is a document that certifies that the last 100 km of an official path or the last 200 km by bicycle have been traveled on foot or on horseback for religious or spiritual reasons, in any year and on any date. You don't have to visit the cathedral or pray, or go to confession, or take Communion.

Consequently, the four possible combinations can be given:  

  • Get the Jubilee and the Compostella.

  • Get the Jubilee but not the Compostella.

  • Get the Compostella but not the Jubilee.

  • Obtain neither the Compostella nor the Jubilee. If it is accredited to have completed the path, a diploma / reminder can be requested


There are numerous beliefs / legends about the miracles performed by the apostle Santiago for which he has been professed a great devotion, the result of which is the creation of numerous temples dedicated to the apostle and numerous representations in painting and sculpture. Not only in Europe, since the 16th century, there is a great devotion to Santiago in Latin America.

According to Payo Hernández, Santiago is the apostle who has been represented the most times and with different characterizations over time. Several types of representations have been made:

  • Those that refer to his martyrdom.

  • Those that refer to the transfer of his body.

  • Those that refer to the arrest of the oxen to indicate the place of burial of their remains.

There are several characterizations of Santiago:

  • As an apostle (with a tunic, cloak, the holy book, bare feet and a label with his name or a phrase from the holy texts).

  • As a seated majesty (he is represented as an apostle but seated on a sumptuous chair or throne and an archiepiscopal staff in his hand that recalls the staff on which the apostles leaned when walking. Sometimes a crown is put on him).

  • As a pilgrim (short tunic, wide cape with a cape, wide-brimmed hat with a scallop, a staff with a hanging pumpkin and a satchel).

  • As a knight / rider or Santiago matamoros (on a white horse brandishing a sword and sometimes carrying a banner and at his feet Moorish heads. Sometimes on the chest of the apostle the cross of the order of the Knights of Santiago is represented).

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On the other hand, the clothing used reflects the diversity of uses and fashions according to the times and geographical areas where the images were made.

Allegorically the bag symbolizes the poverty and generosity that every pilgrim should have. The staff according to book I of the Codex Calixtinus is like a third foot that symbolizes the Trinity and the scallop symbolizes the virtue of charity or good works that must be performed.

Santiago Matamoros is a symbol of the defense of the Christian Faith. The sword can symbolize the fact that he died beheaded.

Santiago is the only apostle who presents such an iconographic variety.

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The equipment to take depends on how the path is carried out. If you have hired hotels, hostels or pensions or if you are going to sleep in hostels or sports centers.


  • Good walking boots, made of hydrophobic material and with a strong grip and non-slip sole. The footwear will never be released, it will have been previously used to adapt it to the feet and check that it does not produce chafing.

  • Some slippers or sandals for the rest periods.

  • One or two canes with double support (or crutches) foldable and adjustable in case of injury. They also facilitate the passage of puddles and streams and serve to scare away annoying animals.

  • A cap with a visor.

  • Sunglasses.

  • Comfortable clothing, suitable for the season in which the journey is made, with an assortment of trekking socks. Even in summer you have to wear some warm clothing and waterproof gloves in winter.

  • A layer of water.

  • An anatomical backpack with wide, padded adjustment straps.

  • A canteen.

  • A multipurpose knife.

  • A flashlight.

  • If you have not previously booked a room with a secured bed, you will need to bring a sleeping bag, a mat, a pillowcase and personal hygiene items (including toilet paper).

  • Some food.

  • Personal documentation. In addition, a chain with a plate showing: name and surname, address, possible allergic reactions and telephone number to call in case of an emergency or that our wallet is stolen.

  • A pilgrim's credential. Without it, the shelters cannot be used and it cannot be proven that the path to obtain the compostella has been made.

  • Basic sewing items: needle, thread, tweezers.

  • A notebook, pencil and pen for taking notes, sketching or drawing.

  • A basic first-aid kit with: cotton, hypoallergenic tape, bandages, alcohol or betadine, plasters, hypodermic needles and compeed (patches, dressings) for blisters, nail clippers, sunscreen, Vaseline, Cuatrocrem, insect repellent ...

  • 10x25 wp binoculars.

  • A compact camera with a wide focal length range (21mm to over 1000mm) with manual or bridge controls.

  • In case of an emergency: phone without data, without WIFI but with GPS. You can use the mobile you have by deactivating the data network and WIFI and use Google Maps off-line by previously downloading the map of the place.

For more information, click on the following link or image:

Fisioterapia en el camino.jpg

"Aware man, the road is safe"

"Long way, short step"

"Camino de Santiago, both the lame and the healthy walk"

"He who walks in a hurry, stumbles on a flat road"

"If you are on a strange path, do not raise your tunic much"

"In bad rain, good umbrella"

Requisitos oficiales

For a route to be officially declared as the Camino de Santiago, it is considered necessary to present documents in which the following elements are justified:

  • The route has a documented history of the passage of pilgrims. For example, reception centers for walkers through hospitals or shelters.

  • The route has a documented history of its influence on the structuring, conformation and characterization of the territory it crosses.


Other documents that favor the official declaration are: there were Roman roads before they were pilgrimage routes, archaeological remains, specific signs, cults and places related to the pilgrimage have been found, such as: toponymy, local traditions, archival documentation, ordeporic literature (treats of the events and things seen during a trip, stories of pilgrims that are preserved), literary texts, historical cartography, etc.

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