Pilgrimage on foot is considered important from the religious and spiritual aspects in most parts of the world and Camino Portuguese is recognized with a World Heritage status due to its historic origin. Read our guide for more facts and informationÃƒÂ¢
It is believed that James, the renowned apostle of Jesus Christ carried the gospel to Spain and sacrificed his life as a martyr after he returned to Jerusalem. It is said that his body, kept in a stone boat was taken by angels to the northwestern region of Spain and his remains placed inside a marble tomb were remembered no longer. However about eight centuries later, a hermit happened to discover the lost tomb being led to a star-field (campo-stella) in a vision, and the local bishop identified the remains of the apostle James. Thus, Santiago gained importance as a pilgrim’s destination in the continent of Europe and presently, people from different parts of the world take the Camino to visit the place.
Importance of Camino Portuguese
Camino pilgrims confer their dignity on Saint James. Their journey towards Santiago de Compostela is considered sacred as it is a life-changing one for some of them. Over the centuries, this pilgrimage was supported by nobles and monarchs, and the Portuguese walked the Camino with enthusiasm. The journey is based on religious motives, though it has had a good impact in the cultural, intellectual and economic senses. In the olden days, the pilgrims who walked to Santiago were greeted using the word ‘Ultreya’ meaning onward, and while walking back they were greeted using the word ‘Suseya’ meaning upward. Regardless of culture and background, people from different parts of Portugal namely Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto, Santarem and other places visit the place.
The Camino route
The Portuguese Way starting at the bank of River Minho in the Tui city has country chapels, wayside crosses, sanctuaries and bridges all along the way projecting a deep insight into the cultural heritage of the place. The Camino in Galicia curves northwards, leading through ancient paths amidst farmlands, woodlands, towns, villages and historic cities. Medieval bridges in some parts are reminiscent of the Roman style, and encouraging pictures of the ‘Santiago Pilgrim’ are seen all along the journey. The inhabitants residing in the towns along the route and the innkeepers of pilgrim’s hostels retain the traditional hospitality that is extended to the pilgrims. The Camino has undergone modernization with the N-550 road from Vigo to A Coruna allowing pilgrims to keep away from stone-paved tracks and muddy paths. The Portuguese Way comes to a close at the tomb of the apostle Saint James.
Impact of Camino Portuguese on the Pilgrim
Pilgrims who journey the Camino Portuguese find it hard to verbalize their experience, and often family and friends find them entirely different from what they were before the pilgrimage. The pilgrims’ path, instilling simplistic virtues is profound and the pilgrim may never find such an experience in the chaotic, commercial hectic life of the present age. The Camino is indeed life changing for several of the pilgrims.
Sue Kenney, who has walked several times on the Camino, has created the virtual pilgrim’s center namely ‘Suseya’ to help the Camino enthusiasts. There are several different routes via Portugal to traverse the Camino, and the Porto route was taken by Queen Isabel in the 1400s.