The Santiago De Compostela Pilgrim Routes

Since the discovery of the supposed tomb of Saint James Major in the 9th century, the Santiago routes have played a vital role in the development of European culture. For pilgrims travelling to Rome, Jerusalem or to Galicia, the symbolic significance of the goal to be reached was the principle consideration.


Pilgrims really did gain an incomparable cultural experience. They could discover various new customs, languages and ways of life and return home with a breadth of knowledge rare at a time when long-distance travel exposed the traveller to considerable danger. Pilgrimage as an anthropological structure gave rise to a rich material heritage in the form of places of workshop, hospitals, accommodation facilities, bridges, etc., and an intellectual heritage of myths, legends and songs. For today's pilgrims, the journey, the track of events and the encounters are as enriching as the aim of the trip itself.

What was, for centuries, a religious phenomenon based on expression of the Christian faith took on an additional dimension with the Council of Europe’s Declaration of 1987 and the adoption of a common European graphic identification system. By providing people of varied backgrounds, believers and non-believers, Christians and non-Christians with an opportunity to gather together, the Santiago Routes serve both as a symbol, reflecting over one thousand years of European history, and as a model of cultural co-operation for Europe as a whole.