Santiago de Compostela: Santiago, Praza Praterias
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The Ancient City of Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela (Old Town) is located in Galicia, situated in the far north-west of Spain. In the beginning of the 9th century, a hermit called Pelagius saw a mysterious light shining over a Roman tomb forgotten in the middle of a forest. Very soon, the incredible news spread all over the Christian world: the tomb of St. James the Greater, the beloved apostle of Jesus Christ, had been discovered in a far site near the finis terrae, the end of the known Earth, in the northwest of Iberian Peninsula. A few years later, this site became a famous pilgrimage town, one of the most important of Christianity. Pilgrims came from all over Europe following the Camino de Santiago to reach the city born around the Holy Tomb, exercising a great influence on the surrounding area. This is evidenced in the small towns, churches, hospitals, and monasteries that were built near the Camino to attend to the thousands of pilgrims who came to visit the tomb. This influence in the local architecture and art was especially strong and long-lasting in the north-west of Spain, but the fame and the reputation of the sanctuary of Santiago de Compostela went well beyond; Galicia was even known in the Nordic sagas as Jakobsland. This famous pilgrimage site also became a symbol in the Spanish Christians' struggle against Islam. Destroyed by the Muslims at the end of the 10th century, it was completely rebuilt in the following century. The Old Town of Santiago de Compostela, together with the outlying Santa Maria de Conxo Monastery, constitutes an extraordinary ensemble of distinguished monuments. The squares and narrow streets of the Old Town contain Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassicist buildings. This town is not only a harmonious and very well preserved historical city, but also a place deeply imbued with faith. The cathedral, considered as a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, keeps the remarkable Pórtico de la Gloria, a jewel of the medieval sculpture. However, the authentic symbol of the city is the Baroque western façade of the cathedral, which forms one of the sides of the square of Obradoiro, one of the world´s most beautiful urban areas. The phenomenon of pilgrimage is not only a relevant historical fact, but also a continuous movement thanks to the celebration of the Holy Years. 

the film
The facts

The French Way

EL Camino de Santiago

The most famous route taken by pilgrims is the "French Way".  There is information on this road since 1135, specifically in archives within the Codex Calixtinus, where you could find for the first time the distances separating the tomb of St. James from many of the main European cities. All this, added to the present time, make this route the most documented. Due to the Christian culture, this route of the Way of Saint James became the route with the greatest number of pilgrims in Medieval Europe, to be able to appreciate the so longed for tomb in Santiago de Compostela. This provoked that every time it had more relevance within the pilgrims and the people had knowledge about it, reason why it was won the honor of being the route more recognized in the whole world, which brought with it a great economic and social recognition. Today is the most traveled route as it is the most recognized worldwide, so it is also the best conditioned to be able to supply the large number of pilgrims who walk on it. It has a route close to the north of the peninsula of approximately 760 km divided into 31 stages and starting at Saint Jean Pied de Port.

Here are some key points about the Camino Francés:

  • Starting Point: The journey begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a small town located in the French Pyrenees. Pilgrims often gather here before crossing the mountain range to enter Spain.​


  • Route: The Camino Francés spans approximately 800 kilometers (500 miles) and passes through diverse landscapes, including mountains, rural countryside, charming villages, and historic cities.


  • Pilgrim Stages: The route is divided into a series of stages, typically ranging from 20 to 30 kilometers per day. These stages often have designated stops for rest, meals, and overnight stays.


  • Scenic Highlights: Along the Camino Francés, pilgrims encounter several notable landmarks and regions, such as the picturesque town of Pamplona, the wine region of La Rioja, the monumental city of Burgos with its stunning cathedral, the vast plains of the Meseta, and the Galician landscapes leading up to Santiago de Compostela.


  • Albergues: The Camino Francés offers a variety of accommodations for pilgrims, including albergues (hostels), guesthouses, and hotels. Albergues are designed specifically for pilgrims and offer affordable lodging, often in communal settings.


  • Companionship: One of the unique aspects of the Camino Francés is the sense of camaraderie that develops among pilgrims. People from around the world come together, sharing stories, experiences, and support along the journey.


  • Cultural Experiences: The route passes through numerous towns and villages, allowing pilgrims to experience the local culture, cuisine, and traditions of different regions in Spain.


  • Credential and Compostela: Pilgrims walking the Camino Francés can obtain a "credencial," a pilgrim passport, which is stamped at various points along the way as proof of the journey. To earn the Compostela certificate at the end of the pilgrimage, walkers need to complete at least the final 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) to Santiago de Compostela.


  • Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela: The ultimate destination of the Camino Francés is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Pilgrims attend a special mass there, often accompanied by the impressive swinging of the Botafumeiro incense burner.


The Camino Francés offers a transformative experience, providing pilgrims with the opportunity to reflect, connect with others, and immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the regions they traverse. Whether for religious, spiritual, or personal reasons, walking the Camino Francés is a journey that leaves a lasting impact on those who undertake it.

The mission


The End of the World

The path is unique amongst the camino routes in Spain as it is the only one that begins, rather than ends, in Santiago de Compostela. In fact it can almost be considered an "add on" to whatever route a pilgrim took to reach the city in the first place.

The Camino to Finisterre, also known as the "Camino Finisterre" or the "Camino Fisterra," is an extension of the traditional Camino de Santiago pilgrimage that continues from Santiago de Compostela to the coastal town of Finisterre (Fisterra) on the western coast of Galicia, Spain. This extension offers pilgrims the opportunity to further their journey and reach the symbolic "end of the earth."

Here are some important details about the Camino to Finisterre:


  • Route: The Camino to Finisterre covers a distance of approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre. The route takes pilgrims through the Galician countryside, charming villages, and eventually leads to the dramatic coastal landscapes of Finisterre.


  • Pilgrimage Symbolism: Finisterre, which translates to "end of the earth," was considered the westernmost point of the ancient world. Pilgrims often continue their journey to this symbolic endpoint to find closure, reflection, and a sense of accomplishment. Some pilgrims choose to burn items or clothing at the Faro de Fisterra (Fisterra Lighthouse) as a metaphorical shedding of burdens or a way to mark a new beginning.


  • Cultural Experience: Walking the Camino to Finisterre provides pilgrims with an opportunity to experience the unique culture of Galicia's coastal regions. The landscape changes from rural areas to breathtaking coastal views, adding a different dimension to the pilgrimage experience.


  • Accommodations: Similar to the main Camino routes, accommodations along the Camino to Finisterre include albergues (hostels), guesthouses, and small hotels. Pilgrims can find places to rest and rejuvenate along the way.


  • Credential and Compostela: Pilgrims walking the Camino to Finisterre can obtain a separate "credencial" or pilgrim passport for this extension. Some pilgrims choose to collect stamps along this route as well. While completing the Camino to Finisterre does not earn the traditional Compostela certificate awarded for reaching Santiago de Compostela, it is a meaningful journey in its own right.


  • Faro de Fisterra: The Faro de Fisterra, the lighthouse at Finisterre, is a significant landmark at the end of the route. Many pilgrims gather here to celebrate their journey, watch the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean, and participate in the symbolic act of burning items.

  • Muxía Extension: Some pilgrims choose to continue their journey from Finisterre to the nearby town of Muxía, which is about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away. Muxía has its own spiritual and cultural significance and offers pilgrims an opportunity for further exploration.


The Camino to Finisterre adds another layer of meaning and contemplation to the pilgrimage experience, allowing pilgrims to continue their journey beyond Santiago de Compostela and reach the historic and symbolic endpoint of Finisterre.

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