French Route

The discovery of the tomb of St. James in Compostela, is one of the most important events of the Middle Ages in the West.

And the city that emerges around the grave becomes the third of the holy cities of Christendom, after Jerusalem and Rome, the capital of the West.

We will follow the Camino de Santiago to pick the most important visual traces of the pilgrimage. We do it in the middle of thousands of people cross it daily ...

It was already half a million a year that roamed in the twelfth century.

"We are all pilgrims, that way we walk," said Gonzalo de Berceo. But to be true pilgrim, the way it must be done on horseback or on foot. Our trip network release us, by this time, of such a practice. And we go to the border with France to start down the first of the Caminos de Santiago. Pilgrims came from Germany, Switzerland ... in Europe.

In France, arrived four routes. Three of them came together in Ostabat, in the French Basque country, and came together at Roncesvalles, and the fourth by Somport (Huesca).

The three channels were coming through Roncesvalles:




Then we will see over the French Way in Navarre.

VALCARLOS is the first Spanish town. There are in this town an inscription indicating Basque are waking dead stones of the road to Santiago. Here encamped when his nephew Roland Charlemagne was defeated in Ibañeta.
The place is known as Forest spears flowering because, according to tradition, the 50,000 maidens Empire nailed their spears into the ground as a tribute to the dead heroes, and when the spears flourished.
There's high of Ibañeta the Monastery of San Salvador from which was oriented with the pilgrim lost his bell and offered him shelter. It is believed that this is where Charlemagne begged the Lord for help.
A granite stele invited to pray a Hail to Our Lady of Roncesvalles. And a small monument reminds the hero Roland Chançon.
At the foot of Mount Royal Collegiate lies the Fort built by Sancho whose burial is saved in the chapter house.

LEYRE has a famous ancient Benedictine monastery, the true cradle of Navarre.
The Monastery of San Salvador de Leyre (named after the crucified Christ that houses), has Romanesque crypt and apse. Was pantheon of the kings of Navarre, and Episcopal Court to be refuge of kings and bishops in the Reconquista, which was driven from here.
Nearby, is the source of St. Virila, reminiscent of the monk who was abbot of Leyre the year 928, and who cared about how it would spend as much time in eternal life. As the legend goes, it was absorbed Virila listening to birdsong in the nearby forest. When he awoke, 300 years later, thinking he had left the monastery that morning, was surprised not to see the monks and their habits, as the Cistercian Benedictines had changed, and the black dress had turned white. Virila had spent 300 years as the Psalm says: A thousand years in Thy glory, Lord, are like yesterday that it happened.

From the pass of RONCESVALLES there are 800 kilometers - a million steps - to Santiago de Compostela.
As stated in the Liber Sancti Jacobi, Charlemagne saw in the sky a star path that went between Germany and Italy between France and Aquitaine through Gascony and Navarre, Spain ... and would die in Galicia, in the where Santiago's body lay hidden.
The apostle James appeared to the Emperor and told her to go there with great power and release land and then way for people of all lands of the Christians were on a pilgrimage, and had God's forgiveness for their sins.
Here the Basques fought the hitherto undefeated Charlemagne and Roland died in battle and the twelve peers of France, the flower of French chivalry. The Song of Roland in this battle became one of the most important feats in the history of Europe.
Here was a large hospital in the twelfth century to 30,000 attending pilgrims each year, receiving the necessary to continue the pilgrimage.
The Monastery of Our Lady of Roncesvalles was famous in the twelfth century, and he said:
The door opens to all sick and healthy, non solo Catholics, especially to outsiders, Jews, heretics, idle and vain.
The oldest building is the chapel of Roncesvalles Sancti spirits or Silo of Charlemagne (XII century). The chapel of Santiago is the S.XIII.
While the two ports were used since Roman times, Roncesvalles was preferred by pilgrims Somport, because it is a shorter route.

SANGÜESA identifies with Rocaforte the town of Roman origin. It was the former headquarters of Cortes de Navarra repeatedly.
Retains the Royal Palace of the time that was cut from the kings of Navarre. It dwelt the prince of Viana.
His Church of Santa Maria, with the magnificent Romanesque portal has three naves s.XII unequal in size with semicircular apses. It venerates Our Lady of Rocamadour.
His Church of Santiago, is Romanesque to Gothic transition (XII-XIII).

PAMPLONA, along the Arga. Its foundation is attributed to Pompey the Great in the winter of 74 BC, setting up camp next to the main town of the Basques.
He had numerous hospital foundations, and the General Jurisdiction of Pamplona watched over the property and persons of the pilgrims. Such was the strength of the pilgrimage, the foreign population widely surpassed the City.
The pilgrims came through the Portal of France, which still keeps the chains that once raised their doors, and was treated at the Hospital of San Miguel, attached to the Cathedral.
The cathedral, Gothic, in the upper part of the city, has a chapel of Santiago and one of the Pilgrims.
The cloister is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. It is believed that under the courtyard of the Cathedral are the walls of the primitive Iruña. Inside, sarcophagus of Doña Sancha.
From the late sixteenth floor is pentagonal citadel, built in the time of Philip II in imitation of Antwerp.
Notable is the church of S. Cermín or San Saturnino. The façade shows a picture of Santiago.
We went through the Lumbier Gorge area of ​​natural beauty.

EUNATE in Basque means hundred doors.
Octagonal Romanesque church and cloister that surrounds around its perimeter. Seems likely to be a funerary temple Romanesque Templar, in imitation of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, which were buried pilgrims to Santiago.

We arrived at the junction of two roads: PUENTE LA REINA.

From here one French Way to Compostela.

PUENTE LA REINA joined the two roads from France. It is a city created by the kings of Navarre for the installation of pilgrims and foreign settlers, especially francs, for which there were special privileges.
Your bridge over the river Arga is one of the most beautiful of Roman Spain. Its construction is attributed to Mrs. Mayor, wife of Sancho III of Navarre, in the eleventh century and hence the name.
The pilgrim should visit the church of Santiago in which there is the image of Santiago de Beltza (black, in Basque), named for the color darker than the image acquired by the smoke from the candles. The main street is a great monument.
Puente la Reina responded to the desire of the king of Navarre to improve roads and bridges in his kingdom.
At the junction of routes from Somport and Roncesvalles, a Monument to pilgrims remember the millions of people over the centuries have passed this place.

OBANOS is the village of Infanzones as it coalesced Navarre nobles to mark the real power.
In its medieval square is represented annually Obanos famous Mystery: the tragedy of the brothers San Guillén and Santa Felicia, sons of the Duke of Aquitaine, peregrinosa Compostela.
Felicia Startled by the announcement of his marriage, he escaped and went to a house where she worked as a maid Arnotegui. His brother Guillén, searched, and when trying to take her with him would not go saying it already had own. The brother asked where he was and she said her chest. There furiously thrust his dagger brother.
Guillén fled, before heading to Rome where he confessed his sin and penance imposed travel to Compostela. At Mount Arnotegui then as penitent remained until his death to atone for his guilt.

ESTELLA Lizarra former is known as La Bella, from the XVth century Toledo was known as the North by its rich heritage.
It is the main point of the Camino de Santiago. Was repopulated with Sancho V francs in 1090. To create this village, the king had to convince the monks of San Juan de la Peña, promising ten percent of the benefits of the new population. Here was born the Friends of the Camino de Santiago.
His palace of the Kings of Navarre, the twelfth century, is the only specimen of Romanesque civil of this land.
Notable are the church of the holy sepulcher with the 12 apostles in the facade, and the Chapel of Rocamador, the twelfth century, with virgin XIII.
The church of S. Pedro de la Rua, has a magnificent cloister (XII century)
In Estella, even in the fourteenth century ordinances were drafted in Provencal language and this language is commonly spoken.
IRACHE Monastery is one of the oldest of Navarra, perhaps the Visigoths. The temple is the twelfth century, with Romanesque apses and naves pointed. University was in the sixteenth century.

VIANA is the latest population of Navarre, and was - by its location at the top-sentinel against invasions coming from Castile.
Founded in 1219 by King Sancho VII the Strong, once had four hospitals. Is City since 1630 under Philip IV. In 1423, Carlos III endowed with the Principality of Viana, the heir to the Kingdom.
The church of Santa Maria (1250-1329), is Gothic.
A plaque recalls that there lie the remains of Caesar Borgia.

La Rioja

Then we will see over French route via La Rioja.


We walked into La Rioja, the qualified region - orchard. Vineyards and olive trees mark the route. It is the valley of the Ebro, and its waters reflected the capital, LOGROÑO.
Here he joined the road from Aragon and Catalonia, which pilgrims came from Mediterranean countries.
You enter the city by the Stone Bridge, almost two hundred meters long, replacing the medieval San Juan de Ortega.
From the eleventh century, Logroño comes alive on the Camino de Santiago. It is a linear city, from east to west, as the Way.
The route runs parallel to the River Ebro, near the church of Santa Maria's Palace, built on the palace donated by Alfonso VII. The needle of Santa Maria de Palacio, eight-sided, is one of the most characteristic images of Logroño.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Redonda, three Gothic naves, and two towers - the Twins - in its main facade, is a good example of baroque Rioja.
The city has a church dedicated to the Apostle church of Santiago el Real, with image of Santiago Matamoros.
Logroño is exited by the Puerta del Camino or Carlos V.

Very near Logroño is CLAVIJO, where tradition says the battle was fought army against Ramiro I of Abderrahman II with the decisive intervention of St. James.
Retains the castle walls. From the village overlooking a breathtaking panorama.

NÁJERA is the birthplace of the oldest Spanish jurisdictions and courts of kings of Navarre, besides ancient episcopal see.
City since 1454, the title was granted by Henry IV of Castile.
The two parts of the city are connected by the bridge whose construction is attributed to San Juan de Ortega.
The Monastery of Santa María la Real was founded by King Don Garcia, Najera called for his love of this city, when found in a cave an image of the Virgin with a child in her arms. The grotto is open in the rock under the altar.
In the monastery include the door of Charles I, Dome, Faculty of Knights, tomb of Dona Blanca, Pantheon of the Kings, and choir.
In this cloister is represented annually plateresco Najerense Chronicle, with scenes relating to the medieval pilgrimage.
From here, the pilgrims were diverted to San Millan de la Cogolla, where the remains of the saint, patron and protector of Castile. By Berceo, cradle of the Spanish language, went to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA was  city in 1134, by granting Alfonso IX.Conserva medieval remains of its walls. The pilgrims stop at the Compostela was called Rioja was required.
Santo Domingo was a saint by his eagerness builder of bridges on the road, like his disciple Juan de Ortega.
Under the direction of Santo Domingo was rectified the old Roman road that went north. He cleared the forest, built the bridge, up church and hospital (today a Parador) and pilgrims attended.
His remains rest in the Cathedral (Gothic, Romanesque on floor). This temple was added in the eighteenth century a tower - bell tower which is known as the best girl of the Rioja.
Inside the cathedral there is a chicken coop with a rooster and a hen alive to remember a great miracle.
Tradition says that in the fourteenth century, a young man goes on a pilgrimage to Santiago with his parents. A landlady, wanting revenge on the boy who has not served his provocations, hidden in his luggage a silver vase. After denouncing him, he is condemned to the gallows. His parents, check the next day that still lives on the gallows because - as manifested - a noble man has sustained by his feet. They go to Corregidor had at that time on the grill a cock and a hen, and said that the young would definitely alive as those animals.
And suddenly, they, jumped off the plate, walked on the table, and sang ... Since then, a rooster and a hen cage whites have in this cathedral.

In SAN JUAN DE ORTEGA's own monastery and hospital founded Ghost in the twelfth century. The Jeronimos monastery church has three apses of the XII-XIII, XV finished in.
The Romanesque tomb of St. John is kept in the church of her title.
Tradition states that when Queen Isabel of Castile wanted to move the tomb of the Holy traveler, arose from the grave white bees swarming symbolizing each soul of an unborn child. And since then the local women come to pray to the saint and ask a son.



A continuación veremos el paso del Camino Francés por Burgos

Here BURGOS, Caput Castellae, which was called Symphony of stone and cement. Here he joined the Basque way.
Diego Rodriguez Burgos Porcelos repopulated in 884. First it was city - castle, then the county town of Burgos, Castilian county, and capital of the kingdom of Castile and Leon.
The Cathedral has a Door of Forgiveness (now closed) through which came the peregrinos.Y inside Santiago chapel and image of the Cristo de Burgos (the s.XIII, believed to have been found at sea), of great veneration among pilgrims, who was taken to the cathedral in the nineteenth century, from the convent of St. Augustine.
The Romanesque Cathedral was begun to be built by Alfonso VI in 1075. Its foundations were used to raise the present Gothic Cathedral begun by Ferdinand III in 1221. In the magnificent cathedral, deserve special mention graves of members of the Castilian crown; chest Cid; chapel Constable of Castile and golden ladder of Siloam Diego (Renaissance, 1519).
The city once had 35 hospitals. The road ran through the streets Roads, San Juan, Fernan Gonzalez Avellanosy to Malatos Bridge. And from there it split up Hospitalel founded by King Alfonso VIII, current university. This is the land of the Cid and the church of St. Agatha is situated on the lot that occupied Santa Gadea, where Cid Alfonso VI swore to have nothing to do with the death of his brother.

LAS HUEGAS is a Monastery near the capital, in which poor pilgrims welcomed at any time. In the chapel of Santiago were kings knighted before a statue of the Apostle. Canned tombs of kings and nobles Castilians.
It is the most famous of the Cistercian monasteries of Spain. It was founded around 1180 by Alfonso VIII and his wife Doña Leonor de Aquitania in a recreation - to strike - belonging to the Crown.

CASTROJERIZ, preserves the ruins of the old castle. Romanized Celtiberian town came to have even hospitals. His street-road is almost 1,500 feet long.
Santa Maria del Manzano IX century. Your Collegiate is s.XIII. Inside, it retains a carving of the Virgin whose miracles are mentioned in the Cantigas of Alfonso X the Wise.


A continuación veremos el paso del Camino Francés por Palencia

We entered the province of Palencia. 

FROMISTA of Fromesta or Frumenta (rich in cereals), was inhabited by the Romans and was very important in time of the Visigoths.
Here Doña Mayor of Navarre founded a monastery Urraca added to Carrion and retaining the church of San Martín, European Romanesque jewel.
Santa María del Castillo is arched, with three naves and Renaissance façade. Fromista had two hospitals of retaining the Palmeros, become Hostería.
A monument reminds San Telmo, patron of sailors and Tui.

Sirga in Castile's driveway.

VILLALCÁZAR DE SIRGA is now a small village with a monumental Gothic church sta. Mary, the s.XIII.
The miracles of the Virgin ran on the route:

Romeus que de santiago
Ya fóron-lle contando
os miragres que a Virgen
Faz en Vila-Sriga.

At the top, on the banks of the river Carrion, CARRIÓN DE LOS CONDES, homeland of Marqués de Santillana, was residence of the Counts of Carrion.
Pilgrims came down the street where it is located Santa Maria del Camino, Romanesque, the twelfth century. The façade, reasons related to the payment of the tribute of a hundred maidens, believed to be made ​​on the site now occupied by the temple.
The Monasterio de San Zoilo has, in the words of Camon Aznar, one of the most beautiful Renaissance cloisters of Spain.
Retains the tombs of the Infantes of Carrion.
Here is venerated head of James the Less, which then was in San Isidoro de León and is now in the Cathedral of Compostela.
The facade of the church of Santiago, the s.XI, with twenty-four figures representing as many trades, and the twelve apostles and Christ Pantocrator, has been compared with the Portico de la Gloria of Master Mateo.


Then we will see over French Way by Leon

We went in León.

Aymeric Picaud SAHAGÚN for the city is full of all kinds of prosperities. It is named after San Fagun or San Facundo.
Grew to five hospitals. He had the main Benedictine Abbey of Spain, and retains splendid churches.

MANSILLA DE LAS MULAS, who was Jacobean hospitals, see, reflected in the Esla, the remains of its walls. It still has the bow called Santamaria, where pilgrims, entered.

In LEÓN joined the Camino Asturias, León and a fork in the road came to Oviedo, for pilgrims to visit the relics of the Holy House of the Cathedral. I read a romance:

Quien camina a Santiago
y no ve al Salvador,
visita al criado
y olvida al Señor.

2000 years old city, preserved medieval Roman walls and fences.
Here settled the Legio VII Gemina, at the confluence of the rivers Bernesga and thorium. In the Codex Calixtino is called Regia city and court, full of all happiness.
The Cathedral, with three ships, the most beautiful Gothic, is known as The pulchra (exquisite) lion, and possesses the richest windows of Spain. There was a Romanesque cathedral in the late twelfth and early thirteenth were replaced by the Gothic style of France.
Pilgrims stopped at the church of Santa Maria del Camino, Santa Maria Market today.
The Collegiate-Basilica of San Isidoro (which contains the remains of the saint), is the most comprehensive set of Romanesque art, and was built on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to San Juan Bautista, which was destroyed by Almanzor late sX
At the Royal Pantheon, the resting 23 real bodies, known as the Sistine Chapel of Romanesque art.
San Marcos, fronted Plateresque was headquarters of the Order of Santiago and said the most important of the seventeen hospitals that had the city.
Today is a luxurious parador.
Laffi, in the eighteenth century, mentions that in San Marcos de León mark the refrain, as do in Burgos to control the pilgrims, and not remain in the same hospital over five nights in winter and three in summer.
The Sanctuary of the Virgen del Camino enrecuerdo rose the appearance of the Virgin to a pastor in the early sixteenth century.
On the facade, bronze images of the Apostles, sculptor Subirachs.

Around Órbigo river created a Hospital of St John of Jerusalem monks of the bridge and immediately took its name: Órbigo Bridge Hospital. It preserves the remains of the church and pilgrim hostel Hospital today. The bridge dates from the twelfth century, but has been rebuilt in the middle of this century.
It has a length of 200 meters and twenty vaults sillería.Sendos monoliths on either side of the bridge remind the honorable Paso episode: Suero de Quinones, in 1434, out of love for his lady Dona Leonor, and to deserve it, placed a throat iron and promised not to remove it until breaking 300 lances in his honor. Forced to fight him and his companions for thirty days at the knights tried to cross the bridge over the Órbigo.
Nearly one hundred knights were defeated and three hundred spears were broken in nearly eight hundred races. After the "Step" or Fair, victorious knights grateful pilgrimage to Santiago the Apostle. And Suero de Quinones gave in memory of this feat a necklace of gold still looks the bust of James the Lesser that Doña Urraca gave to Gelmírez and is in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

ASTORGA, pre-Roman fort, legal Convent Capital, was described by Pliny magnificent and deserved the epithet of Augusta. Canned Roman walls.
Here he joined the Camino de la Plata coming from Merida.
The Episcopal Palace of Astorga was commissioned Gaudí made in 1887 by Bishop Juan Grau. A bishop's death, Gaudí resigned to finish the work and this was completed in a very different to the pyramidal roof designed by the Catalan architect. In this palace now houses the Museum of the Ways. In the museum there is a picture of the apostle on horseback, dressed in pilgrim attributes.
Its cathedral, the XV, is a beautiful example of flamboyant Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, on Roman remains. 

In FONCEBADÓN there an iron cross in artificial hill of stones carried by pilgrims, the style of the Galician milladoiros. Despite its simplicity, is one of the most famous and iconic Camino de Santiago.
In town, today only ruins, a council was held in the tenth century
Holly is the first village of Bierzo. Its inhabitants were exempt from taxes in exchange for renewed periodically eight hundred stakes that marked the path to the pilgrims.

PONFERRADA. Over the river Sil, in the eleventh century, the bishop Osmundo had built a bridge with iron railings was called Pons Ferrata, and that led to the present city of that name.
His castle, which was of the Templars, is one of the examples of military architecture in Spain. 

VILLAFRANCA, the villa free franchise or Villa of the Franks, as the place of settlement of French pilgrims, begins to matter to 1070, when there were established the monks of Cluny.
While there are no documents that mention the tradition is powerful: The sick pilgrims who crossed the road and reached Villafranca, if requested to grant indulgences to the door of Forgiveness in the church of Santiago, also won the Jubilee.
It is a Romanesque church of the twelfth century, which was next to Pilgrim Hospital. The Way of the Virgin call came to her door. Nearby, the pilgrims could quench their thirst at the fountain called San Lazaro.

1: O Cebreiro - Triacastela

O Cebreiro            

The pilgrim entered Galicia from Leon through the town called Cebreiro. He could either go on towards Lugo or take the route again in Palas de Rei. However, the true route followed the highest and steepest mountains to reach the Sanctuary of O Cebreiro at 1300 metres high. In this place, there was a monastery that was founded in the ninth century and run by the monks of San Giraldo de Aurillac for 400 years.

In O CEBREIRO, the pre-Roman homes called Pallozas are preserved. An ethnographic museum has been established in two of these houses. There is also a hospice for pilgrims.


O Cebreiro

Tradition has it that a great Eucharistic miracle happened about the year 1300. Wine turned into blood and bread turned into meat in the hands of a sceptical clergyman that rejected the effort of a peasant that reached the church after having walked through the deep snow to hear Mass.
On their going through O Cebreiro in 1486, the Catholic Kings, who were on pilgrimage to Compostela, knelt before the Miracle and donated the glass phials that nowadays hold meat and blood...

The Chalice of the miracle, which is Romanesque from the 12th century, is called the Galician Holy Grail and is thought to have been an inspiration for Wagner’s Parsifal.    
It is also thought that this miracle has to do with the devotion to the Holy Sacrament in Lugo, which is continuously exposed, and the appearance of the chalice in the shields of Lugo and Galicia.

In the temple, which a Romanesque jewel, we can find the Romanesque sculpture of St María la Real do Cebreiro, patron saint of the village. Tradition has it that the Virgin leant her head forward at the moment of the miracle to contemplate it better.

                                       Caliz            Caliz Cebreiro

An important procession in honour of St Mary and the Eucharistic Miracle has been celebrating for a very long time on September 8th and 9th.


                                    Virgen           Romería



We follow the route on the high mountain that replaces the old road. In HOSPITAL DA CONDESA there was a hospital in the late 9th century, which was founded by the countess doña Egilo. There was also a temple that depended on O Cebreiro.



At the beginning of the 8th century people already talked about Linar de Rege, nowadays known as LIÑARES. This was a good place for flax fields, a hospital, and a monastery.



Porto do Poio

In PUERTO DO POIO we begin to go down a beautiful mountain landscape that forms the basin of the river Navia.

The name Fonfría del Camino comes from a cold fountain that eased many thirsty pilgrims. From the 16th century to the 19th there was here a hospital for pilgrims dedicated to St Cataline where pilgrims were provided with fire, water, salt and a bed with two blankets.

Monte Poio


We pass through BIDUEDO (where there is a hermitage of the Command of St John of Jerusalem), Filloval, as Pasantes... Ramil, which is already mentioned in a document of the ninth century and get to Triacastela, which is the last stage according to the Codex of Calixtus.



The name TRIACASTELA refers to three castles that appear on the tower of the church. In the ninth century, the Earl Gatón founded a monastery that was later donated by Ordoño II to the Church of Compostela. Doña Urraca and Alfonso el Batalleador fought here. Alfonso IX wanted the big city Triacastela Nova to emerge here.

In Triacastela, the old hospital and the temple with Romanesque apse are preserved nowadays.
A monument to the pilgrim has been erected recently in this village. It is made of limestone similar to those the pilgrims wore in their leather bags to take part in the building works of the Cathedral in Compostela.

                                  triacas_hospi         triacas_monu


2: Triacastela - Sarria

Monasterio de Samos


Straying from the old road from Triacastela we get to SAMOS, whose abbey had an important role attending pilgrims.


Monasterio de Samos



The monastery may have been founded in the eighth century by Mozarabs coming from Andalusia. The building is baroque with a temple and two cloisters. It was greatly rebuilt after a great fire in 1951.
It was a very important spiritual and cultural centre and is even today a good place for having a working and secluded life in a remote valley that takes us back to the past.




Only the pre-Roman Capilla del Ciprés (Cyprus Chapel) is preserved from the first years.






We are already near SARRIA and go back to the road at San Esteban de Calvor, the old Villa Calvaria. The parish church lies on a Pre-Roman hill fort. There was here a monastery long ago, which was founded by the priest Adilán in the eighth century.

Sarria is not mentioned in the Codex but the village Santi Michaelis is. This village might be the nearby prehistorical area of St Miguel. Sarria may be the Flavia Lambies mentioned by Ptolomeo. It was already a county in the 12th century...




The tower, which is the remain of the castle of the Counts of Sarria, lies on the top of the village. This fortress was built in the 14th century and pulled down on the 15th during the revolt of the Irmandiños.





In the surroundings of the tower, we can find the Romanesque Church of El Salvador, with rectangular ground. It already existed at the end of the 11th century. In the early 12th century, it was donated by doña Urraca to the bishop of Mondoñedo. In front of this temple lies the building where the pilgrims hospital of St Anthony was. It is thought to have been founded by the Count of Lemos.


The convent of Magdalena, which today belongs to the Mercedarian Fathers, has a Gothic-Elisabethan style church. The hospital attended the pilgrims.




St Lazarus Chapel is also on the road. It is the remain of an old leper hospital for ill pilgrims.





The Church of St Marina is on the lot of an old Romanesque Church.






We leave Sarria along the medieval bridge called Ponte Áspera and go to Barbadelo.





3: Sarria - Portomarín


The Romanesque Church in BARBADELO is dedicated to St James and considered a national monument. It lies near the place called Mosteiro, which recalls the old monastery joined to Samos at the end of the 9th century. The tympanum, façade, and the northern side are the most outstanding in the church. The ruins of the old Benedictine priory are also preserved. Those who were sent by the hotelkeepers of Santiago de Compostela arrived in Barbadelo and even Triacastela offering lodging. Many unscrupulous men came as well trying to hold up the pilgrims.


At the end of Sarria, we find VELANTE, which is a good example of the humblest Galician Romanesque. We also find BREA, which is one of so many towns whose name comes for being on the bank of the route.

                                                    Velante   Brea




We are already in PARADELA.

In Mirallos there is a very interesting Romanesque church, which some years before had been established in Ferreiros. It was moved to Paradela in 1790.

Paradela paisaje

The route is clearly rural, very attractive to the traveller, with small towns and modest churches that recall old hospitals and leafy vegetation. Cortés is also very near the route. There is a block of slate that is thought to have been an altar for sacrifices. It is known as Pena da ferradura do cabalo because it is similar to a horseshoe.



The Monastery of St María de Loio or de Ribalogio existed in Lio and was restored in the ninth century by the monk Quintila, the birthplace of the Military Order of the Knights of Santiago in Galicia in the 12th century. Nowadays there are not even ruins of that great house. We are already near the Portus Marinus - Portomarín.




Viejo Portomarín


The old PORTOMARÍN consisted of the populations of St Pedro and St Nicolás on the banks of the river Miño. When 'Belesar' dam was built at the beginning of the 60’s, the old town disappeared and the most important documents were moved to the top of the hill stone by stone.Puente Portomarín

We cross the big bridge over the river and enter the village along the steps of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves. We can still see in the river the remains of the Roman Bridge, which was destroyed by doña Urraca's army and restored by Pedro Peregrino at the beginning of the 12th.

St Nicolás is the great temple-fortress in Portomarín. It was erected in the 13th century and belonged to the Order of St John of Jerusalem. It dominates the city and there is a wonderful view from here.  

The Romanesque Church of St Pedro, from12th century, La Casa del Conde from the 16th century and the Palacio de Berbetoros from the 17th century are the other monuments in Portomarín that were rescued from the water.


The new Portomarín is an urban mixture of modernity and history and continues to be a wonderful place to follow the route to Compostela.

San PedroCasa CondeBarbetoros

4: Portomarín - Palas de Rei


We go through CASTROMAYOR. The name comes from the great hill fort in the surroundings. There is a Romanesque church dedicated to St Mary. And we get to VENTAS DE NARÓN, the last population in Portomarín that was very important in the Middle Ages. In the year 820, there was here a great battle between Arabs and Christians where the latter got the victory. The Codex of Calixtus mentions it as Sala Regina.

                                    Castro Mayor  Ventas de Narón


In LIGONDE, a stone cross recalls the place of the old hospital, which was maintained by the Ulloas, and the pilgrim’s cemetery. Carlos I and Felipe II, who were on pilgrimage to Santiago, stopped at this village that was very important now.

In EIREXE, there was a deeply modified Romanesque church, which belonged to the house of St Marcos of León from the Order of St James.

                                    Cruz Ligonde  Ereixe


Palas de Rei

Many pilgrims deviated from Portos (Eirexe) to Vilar de Donas. Its Romanesque temple is a national monument.

In the 12th century, the knights from the military Order of St James established here. They fought against the numerous hold-up men on the road. This church was the burial place of the members of the Order in Galicia.

Apart from valuable tombs, there are beautiful paintings from the 14th century that showed us the donas (women) who lived in this monastery and paid for its construction.

                              Vilar de Donas Vilar de DonasLestedo


In Lestedo, where we can find a temple dedicated to the Apostle, there was a pilgrim’s cemetery and a hospital founded by the Ulloas.


Pico SagroWe arrived in Rosario. From here, Pico Sagro (Sacred Peak) in Compostela can be seen in the distance. The name of Rosario is believed to come from the pilgrims praying when they saw their goal about to be reached.Santirso

According to the Codex of Calixtus the twelfth stage of the road ended at PALAS DE REI, the so-called Pallatium Regis. This term might be related to the Gothic king Witiza who lived here. The final stage of the road started here and many of the pilgrims who had travelled to Lugo joined this road.

In the outskirts of Palas de Rei, there are many important monuments but the only trace of the past in the centre is the Romanesque gate of the parish church of St Tirso.


Although we deviate from our route, we visit the Pazo de Ulloa. The Ulloas were one of the most outstanding families in the Middle Ages whose surname came from the name of the nearby river. They attended pilgrims in their pazo (a big country house, typical in Galicia, which belonged to a rich family) which was the setting of the most famous novel by the Countess of Pardo Bazán titled Los Pazos de Ulloa.Pazo Ulloa

TThis is the Castle of Pambre from the 14th century. It is the most complete medieval fortress in Galicia and one of the few that survived the Irmandiña revolt. Gonzalo Ozores de Ulloa built this castle.

The Queen doña Urraca visited this place on several occasions. Back to the road, we get to Porto de Bois, which was the scenery of the battle between the house of the Trastámara and Fernando de Castro, the Count of Lemos, who was defeated and had to go into exile first to Portugal, then to England.

5: Palas de Rei - Melide


Melide is already in the province of A Coruña. Through Melide, we get to the population Leboreiro, called Campus Leporarius according to the Codex of Calixtus. There is here a Romanesque church dedicated to St Mary and the old pilgrims’ hospital is also preserved. This hospital had an escutcheon of the Ulloas, who founded it. The modest Bridge of Disicabo with an only arch let us cross the Dry River (Río Seco).
Much more majestic is the medieval bridge over the river Furelos, which is near Melide.


              Leboreiro  Ponte de Disicabo  Ponte mediaval

Monasterio de Melide


MELIDE is the capital of a wide and rich region. The Cabildo de Santiago (the Chapter of Santiago) went there to receive the new archbishops. In this city existed the Monastery of Santic Spiritus (The Monastery of the Holy Spirit), which was founded in the 14th century. The present-day parish church is a restored remain of that monastery that had an important and peculiar hospital where the pilgrim was provided with fire and bed and shelter and charity. In Melide joined the French route and the one coming from the Cantabrian coast -Vascongadas, Santander, Asturias- that went into Galicia via Ribadeo.


Melide San Pedro

Museo Melide


Entering Melide, we find St Pedro’s Church whose old Romanesque façade and beautiful cross are preserved.

The Museum Terra de Melide preserves interesting objects that are very important to look back into the past of this region.



Many years ago there was a castle and a fort in the place where today the Chapel of Carmen do Castelo and the cemetery are situated.

   Melide Cruceiro

In the outskirts of the population there is also a Romanesque church called St María and an outstanding cross. From Melide, we go through Boente where there is a parish temple devoted to St James to reach Castañeda. Here, in Castañeda, there were lime ovens to make the works of the Cathedral in Compostela. For this purpose, pilgrims brought limestones from Pedrafita and Triacastela.

6: Melide - Arzúa

The distance from Melide to O Pedrouzo is almost a walk. Distances are not measured in kilometres now. The goal is so near that we do not have to worry about physical distances. What marks time now is hapiness and satisfaction for the next arrival.
We see it in Melide (the ecclesiastic govern of Compostela came here to welcome the new archishops), Ribadiso (there are memories from five centuries ago) and Arzúa, the last village protecting pilgrims.


Melide is already in the province of A Coruña. Through Melide, we get to the population Leboreiro , called Campus Leporarius according to the Codex of Calixtus. There is here a Romanesque church dedicated to St Mary and the old pilgrims’ hospital is also preserved. This hospital had an escutcheon of the Ulloas, who founded it. The modest Bridge of Disicabo with an only arch let us cross the Dry River (Río Seco).
Much more majestic is the medieval bridge over the river Furelos, which is near Melide.

Melide iglesias

MELIDE is the capital of a wide and rich region. The Cabildo de Santiago (the Chapter of Santiago) went there to receive the new archbishops. In this city existed the Monastery of Santic Spiritus (The Monastery of the Holy Spirit) , which was founded in the 14th century. The present-day parish church is a restored remain of that monastery that had an important and peculiar hospital where the pilgrim was provided with fire and bed and shelter and charity. In Melide joined the French route and the one coming from the Cantabrian coast -Vascongadas, Santander, Asturias- that went into Galicia via Ribadeo.

Entering Melide, we find St Pedro’s Church whose old Romanesque façade and beautiful cross are preserved.

The Museum Terra de Melide preserves interesting objects that are very important to look back into the past of this region.

Many years ago there was a castle and a fort in the place where today the Chapel of Carmen do Castelo and the cemetery are situated.

Melide- Santa María

In the outskirts of the population there is also a Romanesque church called St María and an outstanding cross . From Melide, we go through Boente where there is a parish temple devoted to St James to reach Castañeda. Here, in Castañeda, there were lime ovens to make the works of the Cathedral in Compostela. For this purpose, pilgrims brought limestones from Pedrafita and Triacastela.
Crossing the river Iso in Ribadiso de Baixo, we find the building, which was a pilgrim hospital. According to a document of the 16th century, the chief of this hospital had to help pilgrims with charity.




ARZÚA is the last big village on the road a bit further than 30 km from Compostela. In the centre of the village is the Church of La Magdalena that a few years before had belonged to the Convent of the Agustines who supported an important hospital in Arzúa.


Leaving Arzúa there is a chapel in As Barrosas , which is dedicated to St Lazarus , a common devotion on the road recalling the Lazaretos for the attention of pilgrims with contagious diseases.



7: Arzúa - O Pedrouzo

At the exit of Arzúa, in As Barrosas, there is a chapel dedicated to SanLázaro, advocation common in the way the Lazaretto in memory of, care for pilgrims with contagious diseases.

And again Brea (sidewalk, road) ... And later, Rua (street) of dilapidated houses with stones ... to reach Arca, a name evocative of the ark, or chest that holds the remains of the Apostle in Compostela

8: O Pedrouzo - Santiago

From O Pedrouzo to Compostela, the capital of the West. It is the dreamt city, the capital of the end of the world that is there at the beginning of the Way, very far, behind mountains, rivers, snow and frost it is almost at hand's reach. There are only some steps left. Work, effort, tiredness and pain are over. As a first compensation, we arrived at Monte do Gozo.

Monte del Gozo

There are no churches in this last stage and there are no traces of old hospitals. Santiago is there at the reach of our hands. The Codex of Calixtus refers to the present-day Lavacolla as Lavamentula. Before entering Compostela, pilgrims used to wash themselves in this river after such a long journey because they loved the apostle so much. This water might also symbolize the purity the sufferings of the road had given to their spirits.


Now it is the time that the pilgrim sees the whole city for the first time, the Holy City , the third of the holy cities in Christendom.

They had to climb Mons Gaudí, MONTE DEL GOZO , Monxoi -an old hill fort- to see with the joy that the name of the mountain proclaims that the end of the great road is here.

Monte do Gozo

Pilgrims prayed in this mountain in front of the tomb of the Holy Body... Tradition has it that a pilgrim died on the road and his tomb was taken to Santiago miraculously by the Apostle.

We are already in the happiest and loftiest cities in Spain according to Americ Picaud.

9: Santiago de Compostela

Here is Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the West for over 1200 years, the third of the holy cities of Christendom. Rome and Jerusalem are very far. Faith came from Jerusalem. Rome turned into the eternal city. But only towards Compostela there is a star way coming in the sky, followed on earth by millions of pious people that outlined ways like this we finish today.

The pilgrim is supposed to have passed by the Chapel of St Lazarus and the Church of St Pedro to enter by the Puerta del Camino o Francígena where there were hospices and moneychangers and the archbishops received the keys of the city.

He went up the streets Casas Reales, Plaza de las Ánimas and then Plaza de Cervantes, Azabachería... And at last the first vision of the Cathedral "La Puerta de la Azabachería" (Azabachería door) .
The pilgrim had reached his goal: remission, grace, faith, peace. A thousand years later, today COMPOSTELA still attracts millions of pilgrims through a long road to give them some remission, grace and peace - for those who have faith - with the embrace of its old stones and the scent of its mystery and with the mysteries of faith.