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The Way can take one of dozens of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Traditionally, as with most pilgrimages, the Way of Saint James began at one's home and ended at the pilgrimage site. However, a few of the routes are considered main ones. During the Middle Ages , the route was highly travelled. However, the Black Death , the Protestant Reformation , and political unrest in 16th century Europe led to its decline.

By the s, only a few hundred pilgrims per year registered in the pilgrim's office in Santiago. Since the s the route has attracted a growing number of modern-day international pilgrims. Whenever St. Depending on leap years, Holy Years occur in 5-, 6-, and year intervals.

The most recent were , , , , and The next will be , , and The main pilgrimage route to Santiago follows an earlier Roman trade route, which continues to the Atlantic coast of Galicia, ending at Cape Finisterre. Although it is known today that Cape Finisterre, Spain's westernmost point, is not the westernmost point of Europe Cabo da Roca in Portugal is farther west , the fact that the Romans called it Finisterrae literally the end of the world or Land's End in Latin indicates that they viewed it as such.

The scallop shell, often found on the shores in Galicia, has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago. Over the centuries the scallop shell has taken on a variety of meanings, metaphorical, practical, and mythical, even if its relevance may have actually derived from the desire of pilgrims to take home a souvenir.

Two versions of the most common myth about the origin of the symbol concern the death of Saint James , who was martyred by beheading in Jerusalem in 44 AD. According to Spanish legends, he had spent time preaching the gospel in Spain, but returned to Judaea upon seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary on the bank of the Ebro River. From its connection to the Camino, the scallop shell came to represent pilgrimage, both to a specific shrine as well as heaven, recalling Hebrews , identifying that Christians "are pilgrims and strangers on the earth". As the symbol of the Camino de Santiago, the shell is seen very frequently along the trails.

The shell is seen on posts and signs along the Camino in order to guide pilgrims along the way. The shell is even more commonly seen on the pilgrims themselves. Wearing a shell denotes that one is a traveler on the Camino de Santiago. Most pilgrims receive a shell at the beginning of their journey and either attach it to them by sewing it onto their clothes or wearing it around their neck or by simply keeping it in, or attached to the outside of, their backpack.

The scallop shell also served practical purposes for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. The shell was the right size for gathering water to drink or for eating out of as a makeshift bowl.

During the medieval period, the shell was proof of completion rather than a symbol worn during the pilgrimage. The pilgrim's staff is a walking stick used by pilgrims to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Codex Calixtinus. The earliest records of visits paid to the shrine dedicated to St. James at Santiago de Compostela date from the 9th century, in the time of the Kingdom of Asturias and Galicia.


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The pilgrimage to the shrine became the most renowned medieval pilgrimage, and it became customary for those who returned from Compostela to carry back with them a Galician scallop shell as proof of their completion of the journey. This practice gradually led to the scallop shell becoming the badge of a pilgrim.

The earliest recorded pilgrims from beyond the Pyrenees visited the shrine in the middle of the 11th century, but it seems that it was not until a century later that large numbers of pilgrims from abroad were regularly journeying there. The earliest records of pilgrims that arrived from England belong to the period between and However, by the early 12th century the pilgrimage had become a highly organized affair. Published around , the 5th book of the Codex is still considered the definitive source for many modern guidebooks. Four pilgrimage routes listed in the Codex originate in France and converge at Puente la Reina.

The hospitals were often staffed by Catholic orders and under royal protection. Donations were encouraged but many poorer pilgrims had few clothes and poor health often barely getting to the next hospital. Romanesque architecture , a new genre of ecclesiastical architecture, was designed with massive archways to cope with huge crowds of the devout. Since the Christian symbol for James the Greater was the scallop shell, many pilgrims wore one as a sign to anyone on the road that they were a pilgrim.

Pilgrims often prayed to Saint Roch whose numerous depictions with the Cross of St James can still be seen along the Way even today. The pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela was possible because of the protection and freedom provided by the Kingdom of France , where the majority of pilgrims originated. Enterprising French including Gascons and other peoples not under the French crown settled in towns along the pilgrimage routes, where their names appear in the archives. The pilgrims were tended by people like Domingo de la Calzada , who was later recognized as a saint. Pilgrims walked the Way of St.

City of the Soul: A Walk in Rome

James, often for months and occasionally years at a time, to arrive at the great church in the main square of Compostela and pay homage to St. Many arrived with very little due to illness or robbery or both. Traditionally pilgrims lay their hands on the pillar just inside the doorway of the cathedral, and so many now have done this it has visibly worn away the stone. According to a common medieval legend, the Milky Way was formed from the dust raised by travelling pilgrims. Subsequently the location was called "the field of the star" Campus Stellae , corrupted to "Compostela".

The Church employed a system of rituals, known as penance , to atone for temporal punishment due to sins. According to this system, pilgrimages were a suitable form of expiation for some temporal punishment, and they could be used as acts of penance for those who were guilty of certain crimes. As noted in the Catholic Encyclopedia : [20].

In the registers of the Inquisition at Carcassone James at Compostella [sic], St. Thomas' body at Canterbury, and the relics of the Three Kings at Cologne. There is still a tradition in Flanders of pardoning and releasing one prisoner every year [21] under the condition that, accompanied by a guard, the prisoner walks to Santiago wearing a heavy backpack.

During the war of American Independence, John Adams who would become the second American president was ordered by Congress to go to Paris to obtain funds for the cause. His ship started leaking and he disembarked with his two sons at Finisterre in From there he proceeded to follow the Way of St. James in the reverse direction of the pilgrims' route, in order to get to Paris overland. He did not stop to visit Santiago, which he later came to regret. In his autobiography, Adams described the customs and lodgings afforded to St. James's pilgrims in the 18th century and he recounted the legend as he learned it: [22].

I have always regretted that We could not find time to make a Pilgrimage to Saintiago de Compostella. We were informed Iago was this.

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What was the Pantheon made of to ensure such great strength? The crazy thing is that no one knows for sure. Many people believe that material is very similar to the concrete we use today for foundations.

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The Romans must have been pretty savvy to create concrete over 2, years ago. This amazing structure was erected by Emperor Hadrian. Like the dome at St. The Pantheon has survived wars, raids, and weather. Back in it served as a pagan temple but was saved from demolition because it was transformed into a church. Today, it still serves as a church. Read our tips for visiting the Pantheon. The Italian government meets here in the beautiful Renaissance palace commissioned by the Medici Family.

Before Italy became a unified country and the Papal States were independent, the building was used for the Papal law courts. At one point, this palazzo was Papal States police headquarters. The nearby Obelisk of Montecitorio also known as Solare , is an ancient Egyptian obelisk from some time in the early s BC. It is The obelisk was used as a big sundial, hence the name Solare.

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With the wear and tear of time, earthquakes war and the simple passage of time, the ancient obelisk crumbled and was partially buried. Several Popes worked to excavate it and finally, in , it was installed in front of the Palazzo Montecitorio by Pius VI. In , the column underwent restoration and the original statue of emperor Marcus Aurelius was replaced with a statue of apostle St. This fountain is probably one of the most recognizable sites in Rome. The main statue in the fountain depicts the god, Ocean. It was designed by Nicola Salvi and opened in The plans for the statue started over years earlier.

The original fountain was commissioned by Pope Nicholas V in and later abandoned. Yet when the pope died, the plans were scrapped.

The word Trevi comes from the Latin word, Trivium. As you can imagine, the fountain uses a lot of water—2,, cubic feet per day to be exact. Read our post on how to plan your visit to the Trevi Fountain.

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