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The Camino del Norte: a trip through biosphere reserves

By Xunta de Galicia | 10/11/2017

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The Camino del Norte del Camino de Santiago arrives in Galicia from Asturias and runs through valleys and rivers of great natural beauty and protected spaces such as the River Eo valley, declared a biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). But how did the North Road emerge? How is it and what is its route? Below we tell your story and your attractions.

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The North Road, what is your story?

The Camino del Norte reached relevance in the low Middle Ages, when the maritime pilgrimages were at its peak and in Oviedo began to celebrate the Jubilee of the Santa Cruz. It maintained vitality until the 18th century.

But not only did he attract Asturian pilgrims: devotees from all the northern part of the peninsula and from Europe, both land and sea. The pilgrims came from England, Flanders, Germany and even from Scandinavia.
Many of them were drawn to the relics of the shrine of San Salvador in Oviedo, but also to the Compostelan cathedral.

Therefore, this route was initially an itinerary of illustrious pilgrims. It was linked to Francis of Assisi, who, according to tradition, pilgrimage in 1214. And it wasn't the only one. At the end of the 15th century the North Road was used by the Armenian bishop Martyr of Azerbaijan; in the 16th century, James Sobieski, father of King John III of Poland; and two centuries later, it would be traveled by the French Jean Pierre Racq.
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What is the North Road like?

After Castropol, the last village of Asturias where the Camino del Norte takes place, this itinerary enters Galicia crossing the Cantabrian Sea through the beautiful estuary of Ribadeo. Before, some pilgrims chose to line it, saving the Eo River, to then pass through the bridge of Santiago de Abres. Today, Ponte dos Santos has brought the two autonomous communities closer together.

The starting point in Galicia is Ribadeo, in the province of Lugo. From here to Santiago Cathedral, the route is extended for 198 kilometers. The itinerary is marked by a ceramic plate with the representation of the vieira. The walker appreciates this information, which completes the basic indication of the yellow arrow.

In 2015, the Camino del Norte was recognized by UNESCO, along with the Camino Primitivo, as a World Heritage Site, as the highest recognition that a cultural asset can receive. In addition, along the way we will walk through landscapes that are biosphere reserves, such as the Eo River environment or those known as Terras do Miño.

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