The Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago). Compostela | Documentary Part 1

The Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago). Compostela | Documentary Part 1


The discovery of the sepulcher of the Apostle Santiago, in the first third of the IX century, compelled many Christians to make pilgrimages to Compostela to worship his relics. It had been a few years since construction of the second church in honor of the Apostle Santiago had ended. King Alfonso III, the Great, had provided enough resources to erect a more solid and ample temple than the humble shrine that housed the saint’s sacred tomb. Its needs had changed. The new building, besides guarding and honoring the relics of the Apostle and his disciples Teodoro and Atanasio, had to take in a greater number of pilgrims coming from the Peninsular kingdoms, as well as from the rest of Europe. These are the beginnings of a fascinating story, a fabulous saga spanning centuries carried out by thousands of people united in their devotion to the figure of the Apostle Santiago, in a remote corner of Finisterre. They called it Compostela: the field of stars. Today we can enjoy the fruits of so much effort, the dreams of those who dedicated their lives to the realization of this magnificent work and who were never able to see it completed. Because the present state of the Santiago Cathedral is the result of numerous changes, projects, works, remodeling; in short, an evolving and impassioned architectural and artistic creation developed throughout many centuries. Its builders traveled the world learning techniques and crafts in the main centers of Christianity in order to bring them to these lands of Finisterre, which back then were so remote from the rest of Europe. Their purpose was not only to construct the most perfect church dedicated to the cult of the pilgrims; they wanted to make Compostela a religious and artistic reference for the world, like Rome and Jerusalem. Under its vaults and towers, within its walls and columns, we will remember many of those stories. Through its magnificent works of art, we will know who its constructors and artists really were. As we cross its doorway, we will travel back to those years in which pilgrims from all over Europe arrived in Compostela to revere the Saint Apostle and relish the beauty of the artistic treasures of the cathedral. For all of them, nothing could be more thrilling, after carrying out such a long and difficult journey towards the lands of the ends of the earth. This is the magnificent Plaza del Obradoiro. Thousands of pilgrims from everywhere in the world have been traveling to this point for a thousand years. The perfect mix of touristic-sports adventure and religious sentiment make the Way of St. James (as it is known in English) an incomparable experience. Even though Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago have been the three great destinations for pilgrims since the Middle Ages, the Jacobean Route to Santiago is the only one that is still traveled the same way today as it was back then: on foot and with little else than a shoulder pouch. It had been a long time since news of the discovery of the Santiago sepulcher had reached France. Near the end of the millennium and in the fields of Aquitania, stories were told of pilgrims who went to worship the Apostle’s tomb to the far reaches of Galician lands, over in the Finisterre. Those were dark and dangerous times. Travelers from the peninsula spoke of bloody battles between Christians and Muslims. Terror broke loose when the Saracen army flattened Compostela. Almanzor had destroyed its basilica and other churches and monasteries. The monks who fled were barely able to safeguard a few codexes and objects of great value. But things later improved. With the Caliphate of Cordoba increasingly worn down, Christians had secured a stable border. Free from threats, the people of the north of the peninsula could rebuild roads, trace new ways and repair bridges, thus normalizing communication with France. The chronicles spoke of the miracles of the Apostle. They said that they had been decisive in the fight against the Muslims. These prowesses helped increase devotion for the Saint even further.

2 Replies to “The Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago). Compostela | Documentary Part 1”

  1. Wonderful I plan To visit Next Year wonderful Place for Walk the people very nice arould area
    On the Mouten , I Read from Books for sight seeing very long area must of Bird Fantastic Sing
    For Walk must be Wonder Nature…..

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