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Catalunya. The way of St. James

July 2011 | Места | Barcelona

From Le Perthus and Sant Pere de Rodes to Girona, Montserrat and Lleida, or from Barcelona, Tarragona or Tortosa, the various pilgrim routes to Santiago crisscross all of Catalonia.
  • Sant Pere de Rodes
  • Montserrat
  • Lleida

Whether you follow it on foot, by bicycle or on horseback, the pilgrim route to the tomb of St. James in Santiago is not only a path of the spirit and of personal insight, but one that provides the marvellous opportunity to enjoy the great natural, scenic, culinary and cultural wealth of the Way of St. James as it crosses Catalan territory in the direction of Zaragoza (the Ebro Way), Jaca or Logroño (the Old French Way). The route leads from France and runs across the whole of Spain from east to west.

The pilgrims who arrive from elsewhere in Europe along the Way of St. James, passing through La Jonquera, can visit the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, which stands on a mountain top overlooking the sea and the Cape Creus area and was one of the major pilgrimage centres of the West during the Middle Ages. An indispensable halt is the city of Girona, whose monumental and cultural wealth, as refl ected in the grandeur of the Gothic nave of its cathedral, the tomb of St. Narcissus, the Carolingian wall and the ancient Jewish quarter, forms one of Europe’s best preserved medieval settings.

Farther along lies the holy mountain of Montserrat, an emblematic site of Catalonia. The unique appearance of the mountain, which is a Nature Park, and the religious, spiritual and cultural importance of the sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat (“La Moreneta”, or the Dark One), have always made this an indispensable halt for the pilgrims along the Way.

Before leaving Catalonia, pilgrims should visit Lleida, dominated by its splendid Seu Vella or Old Cathedral. Standing by the old King’s Highway of Aragon (heir to the Romans’ Via Augusta), Lleida has a rich pilgrimage tradition in addition to being a crossroads and the confluence of almost all the Catalan routes to Santiago. According to tradition, it was St. James himself, still widely venerated in the city, who evangelized Lleida. The pilgrimage route can also be started in such places as Barcelona, Tarragona and Tortosa, which were traditional points of arrival of pilgrims by sea.

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