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The Route to Santiago in History

At a time when Europe needed to be united, the Route to Santiago was the first element that made it possible. The find of the sepulchre of the first Apostle Martyr became an unquestionable symbol, compatible with the diverse conceptions of the christian peoples.

Conscious of the importance of having the relics of Santiago el Mayor, the Spanish Monarchies contributed significantly to the success of the holy route. In those times the Peninsula had a growing need for money and soldiers to fight against the Moorish.

The kings of Aragon, Navarre and Castile made a great effort to attract to their possessions powerful rich people, and to that end, employed all possible means: interchange of presents, arranged marriages and the announcements of the favours dispensed by the Apostle. As the faith in the miracles performed by Santiago extended people began to make pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela in order to obtain his grace.

The first known pilgrim was Gotescalco, Bishop of Puy, who made the pilgrimage in 950 accompanied by his retinue; later the route was to be followed by the Marquis of Gothia, who was murdered on the way; a century later, the Apostle´s tomb was visited by the Archbishop of Lyon. And along these distinguished pilgrims, a growing number of believers of all conditions travelled by the same route.

The Way to Santiago has indissolubly connected the culture, the knowledge and the information. Everything that was said, preached, told, sung, sculpted or painting along the Route was known to more people and places. On account of its influence on literature and art, Compostela, along with Rome or Jerusalem, became a place of cult for Christian society, especially between the 11 and 14 C.