The history of the Camino de Sant Jaume goes back to the early ninth century ( 814 ) moment of discovery of the tomb of evangelizer apostle of the Iberian Peninsula. A Galician shepherd called Pelayo sees a bright star that points to a place on the hill where later emerge Compostela. The news quickly reached the bishop of the diocese of Iria Flavia, Teodomiro , who orders clearing the hill. the tomb attributed to the Apostle is discovered and Teodomiro , by divine inspiration, announces solemnly that the remains found belong to the apostle Sant Jaume.
Since the discovery , Santiago de Compostela becomes point of pilgrimage for the entire European continent . Met all the necessary requirements : the tomb with the relics of an Apostle , the use of the Holy as an emblem against infidels , the situation of grave near the end of the earth and the right conditions to walk with difficulty and sacrifice westwards the sunset.
The way was then defined by the network of Roman roads linking the points of the Peninsula. The impressive human flow that from very soon went to Galicia made quickly appear numerous hospitals , churches , monasteries , abbeys and towns around the route. During the fourteenth century began to decay the pilgrimage , fact caused by wars , epidemics and major natural disasters .
The recovery of the route begins in the late nineteenth century when Archbishop Payá Rico rediscovers the remains of the Apostle and Pope Leo XIII confirmed their authenticity . But it is during the last quarter of the twentieth century when the authentic contemporary resurge of the pilgrimage occurs . There is no doubt that social , tourist, cultural or sporting components have been of great importance in the Jacobean revival but we must not forget that the route has earned its reputation thanks to its eminently spiritual value.
In 1987 the Camino de Sant Jaume was declared First European Cultural Itinerary and in 1993 a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Who was Sant Jaume?
Sant Jaume was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ , according to Christian tradition , preached in Hispania before he died beheaded in Jerusalem in 44 AD . Legend has it that his body was taken by boat to the end of the known world , where he was buried . Eight centuries later, around the year 812, Pelayo , a hermit in the area, saw miraculous lights similar to a meteor shower that attributed to the tomb of the apostle. Even today it is discussed whether etymologically Compostela name comes from the " field of stars " that saw the hermit or of compostum , 'graveyard' in Latin.