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Discover the pilgrimage routes of Cantabria

4 May 2021 | By Regional Government of Cantabria

Image | Image: Cantabria Government

A Spanish region with two World Heritage pilgrimage routes.

Monasterio de Santo Toribio. Photografy: Fundación Camino Lebaniego – Natalia Magdalena
Monasterio de Santo Toribio. Photografy: Fundación Camino Lebaniego – Natalia Magdalena
Lignum Crucis. Photografy: Fundación Camino Lebaniego – Natalia Magdalena
Lignum Crucis. Photografy: Fundación Camino Lebaniego – Natalia Magdalena

Cantabria is a very fortunate Spanish region because in addition to having the Cantabrian Sea and the Picos de Europa National Park, it also has two World Heritage pilgrimage routes. Specifically, the Camino Lebaniego runs entirely through the region of Cantabria, crossing small rural areas with a substantial tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

A pilgrimage route that begins in the coastal town of San Vicente de la Barquera and ends at the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, where the Lignum crucis (the largest piece of the Cross of Christ still preserved today) is found.

Along this route pilgrims can enjoy all the cultural heritage: churches, hermitages, caves, villages. Also the intangible cultural heritage safeguarded by the people who live in these rural environments.

Image: Cantabria Government
Image: Cantabria Government
Photografy: Fundación Camino Lebaniego – Natalia Magdalena
Photografy: Fundación Camino Lebaniego – Natalia Magdalena

DO YOU KNOW CANTABRIA?

Cantabria is a mountainous and coastal region with an important natural heritage. Its energetic relief means that 40% of its surface is above 700 m in altitude and a third of the region has slopes of more than 30% slope. There are three morphologically well-differentiated areas:

The Marina

A coastal strip of low, broad and gently shaped valleys about 10 km wide, whose altitude does not usually exceed 500 m. It limits with the sea configuring abrupt cliffs that are broken by the appearance of river mouths generating estuaries and beaches.

The mountain

A long barrier of abrupt mountains parallel to the sea that compose part of the Cantabrian mountain range. The highest elevation in Cantabria is located at the peak of Torre Blanca at 2,619 metres.

Campoo and the southern valleys

With a more continentalized climate, it presents an optimal development of forest masses.

LEBANIEGO WAY AND THE NORTHERN WAY TO SANTIAGO

Our ways are inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

The Way in five key points:

– It is one of the main pilgrimage routes of Christianity, for 1200 years, comparable with Jerusalem or Rome.

– It links different points of Europe with the city of Santiago de Compostela, in whose cathedral are the remains of the Apostle Santiago, who reappears during the Muslim conquest of Spain.

– It constitutes a commercial, religious axis, of exchange of knowledge, as well as of penetration of new artistic currents linked to the manifestations of religious piety (Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque).

– Large monasteries emerge as well as equipment for pilgrims within monasteries, hostels and hospitals.

– It had great political and economic importance, transforming the territory.

The Roads of Santiago in Northern Spain joined the UN Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List on July 5, 2015 at the 39th session of its committee in the German city of Bonn.

UNESCO’s decision completes the recognition it gave to the French Way in 1993. The four new routes of the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago that were incorporated are: the Primitive Way, which begins in Oviedo; the Coastal Way, 936 kilometers long; the Basque-Riojan Way, which begins in Irun; and the Liébana Way, which connects the Jacobean route with the monastery of Santo Toribio, in Cantabria. They all add up to 1,500 kilometres.


Link to the official statement: here.

LEBANIEGO WAY AND NORTHERN WAY TO SANTIAGO: link here

CANTABRIA TOURISM WEBSITE: link here

PHOTOS OF LIÉBANA AND PICOS DE EUROPA: link here

Blog written by Atlantic CultureScape associate project partner Fundación Camino Lebaniego

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