Way of St. James
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Pilgrims on the Way of Saint James.
On foot or horseback, by car or plane, the pilgrims' route lives on.
Historically, the purpose of the journey was to visit the tomb of St. James, one of the twelve Apostles, who according to tradition was buried in the Galician capital.
The meeting up of people from all over the continent made the Way a powerful European cultural melting pot.
Since the 9th century, pilgrims have travelled the paths of Europe towards Compostela.
The estimated number of pilgrims in the 12th century was five hundred: in the last year of the 20th century ten million people travelled to the city.
Today, the reasons for the pilgrimage are varied and range from the spiritual to the artistic.
The European Council declared the Way the First European Cultural Itinerary (1987).
On special days an enormous incense burner swings to and fro between the basilica's vaulted ceilings.
The church celebrates the Holy Year when 25 July, the Apostle's feast day, falls on Sunday.
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