The Way of St James

The Way of St James (Camino de Santiago) was declared the first Culture Route of the Council of Europe in 1987. In 1993, UNESCO recognised it as a World Heritage Site. These events highlight the cultural, historical, religious and economic importance of the phenomenon of pilgrimage, which has been contributing to creating cohesion and connections in Europe for more than 1,000 years.

The province of Burgos has one of the longest and most interesting stretches of the pilgrimage route. It goes past the cathedral, which has been the destination of thousands of pilgrims of different nationalities since the Middle Ages.

The French Way and other historic ways (the Bayonne Way and the Wool Road) also converge in the city of Burgos, which is home to numerous reminders of St James, from the Way itself, to hospitals named after him, not to mention hundreds of images that represent the apostle and historical figures that encouraged pilgrimage, including St Lesmes and St Juan de Ortega, who were born in Burgos, and St Domingo de la Calzada.

Among the most important milestones along the Way in the province of Burgos are: the town of Villafranca Montes de Oca, which conserves a mediaeval hostel for pilgrims; the Sanctuary of San Juan de Ortega, a gem of Castilian Romanesque architecture and the saint's resting place; and Castrojeriz, on whose outskirts lie the former convent of San Antón and collegiate church of La Virgen del Manzano, a popular place of worship among travellers to Compostela. Remains of paths and historic bridges, churches with images and paintings of St James, towns whose urban layout includes consideration for the passage of pilgrims, beautiful, changing natural landscapes, and the meticulous network of hostels all mean that the Burgos stretch of the Way of St James remains an unforgettable experience for pilgrims as they embark on their adventure, following the footsteps of those who went before.

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