4 important things about the CAMINO DE SANTIAGO

Important things about the Camino of Santiago

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Camino de Santiago is one of the oldest and best known pilgrimage routes in the world. Many people plan their holidays in Galicia just to get through this road. And not all of them are religious. Many are simply travelers, admirers of nature and hiking. And for them the road has many attractions, as it passes through the most emblematic places what to see in galicia, What Death Coast, Finisterre and  Rías baixas.

However, today we are not going to explain how to do the Camino de Santiago or what to visit during the tour. Today we will tell you the story of the road. And there is much to tell, since the history of the pilgrimage to Santiago dates back to the 9th century!



The name of the city comes from the Apostle Santiago: the ‘culprit’ of all these pilgrimages. But who was Santiago? and what does it have to do with Galicia? Now we clarify the doubts. Santiago el Mayor, patron saint of Spain, was one of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth.

According to medieval tradition, Santiago, after the death of Jesus, left for the territory of present-day Spain to evangelize the pagans. He then returned to Jerusalem where he was sentenced to death and beheaded between the years 41 and 44. According to legend, his remains were brought to Spain by his disciples and buried in Galicia, in the current location of Santiago de Compostela.




The history of Santiago de Compostelaoopti dates back to the 10th century A.D. when the Celts founded their villages there. Then the territory was occupied successively by the Romans, Swabians, Visigoths and Moors. However, the city gained importance in the 9th century when the hermit Pelayo found the remains of the Apostle Santiago (between 813 and 830) after seeing some lights or stars that illuminated the ruins of an ancient necropolis.

The name of the city is usually related to this finding: Compostela – campus stellae – star field. Since then, Santiago has become the third destination of pilgrimage most important in the world.



However, we are not going to explain the history of Santiago de Compostela now, but of the Santiago’s road. Which are obviously very intertwined, but we focus on the events that directly influenced the development of the road. We present you the key points of the history of the Camino de Santiago.

Between the years 813 and 830 the hermit Pelayo, who lived in a cave near the current city of Santiago, observed an extraordinary phenomenon. The stars shone brighter in one place, as if pointing to the ruins of an ancient necropolis. Since the phenomenon was repeated for several nights, Pelayo decided to tell the bishop of Iria Flavia, Teodomiro. Together they followed the indication of the stars and found the tomb with three bodies, which Teodomiro recognized as the remains of the Apostle Santiago and his disciples.

The bishop informed King Alfonso II of Asturias about the discovery. Alfonso II understood the importance of the discovery and in the year 829 left Oviedo for the burial place of the Apostle. Thus he became the first pilgrim and established the first Camino de Santiago (today known as Camino Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela).

In the year 834 Alfonso II founded the first church in the burial place of Santiago – El Monasterio de San Paio. From this moment on, the information about the miraculous find was already spreading throughout Europe, encouraging many people to make the road to Santiago.

Year 874 – Alfonso III ordered the construction of a new church in place of the monastery, which was small for the number of pilgrims who visited it at the end of the Camino de Santiago.

In the 10th century Santiago de Compostela becomes a spiritual beacon of Europe.

In the year 1075 the construction of the Cathedral of Santiago which was consecrated in 1211.

In the 12th century, the Codex Calixtinus was published, containing the first written ‘Pilgrim’s Guide’, with practical information on routes, accommodation, etc.

In the year 1495 San Martín Pinario opened the first school for the poor, which would later become the University of Santiago and would increase the importance of the city.

Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile at the beginning of the 16th century founded the Royal Hospital (also known as Hostal de los Reyes Católicos) to provide aid for sick or injured pilgrims.

In the 16th century, the popularity of the pilgrimage to Santiago began to decline due to church reforms and the rise of Protestantism throughout Europe.

The Camino de Santiago regained its importance in 1879 due to the ‘rediscovery’ of the remains of the Apostle Santiago (which were hidden from the English and later disappeared).

After the Second World War, in the 20th and 21st centuries, the Camino de Santiago achieved a boom in popularity.

In 1987, the Council of Europe qualified the road to Santiago as the first European Cultural Route.

In 1993 the Camino de Santiago was recognized as a World Heritage Site.

As you can see, the Camino has gone through several stages, some better, others worse, but it has always remained an element of Spanish culture and history. It lasted more than a thousand years and is still popular, in Galicia Travels we believe that this is reason enough for you to do the Camino de Santiago and see for yourself what its fame is due to!