Historically, St. James’s Way has been the first backbone of European cultural unity. The find of the sepulcher of the first Martyr Apostle became a point of reference and convergence for Christian peoples.
Conscious of the importance of having a relic like the rests of Santiago el Mayor, the Spanish monarchies actively contributed to the success of the holy route. St. James’s Way has been inextricably related to culture, education and information. Everything that was said, told, preached, sung, sculpted or painted along the route was known to more people and places. Thanks to its influence on art and literature, Compostela, along with Jerusalem or Rome, became a place of cult for the Christian community, especially between the 11th and the 14th centuries. St. James’s Way, a centre of pilgrimage, became a catalyst of the Christian society.
From Madrid to St. James’s Way. The Madrilenian route starts in the church of Santiago, located in the homonymous square behind the Ramales church, in the very heart of the so-called Habsburg’s Madrid. Then, the steps of the pilgrim head for the Comendadoras square, going past the doors of Hotel Meninas in Cuesta de Santo Domingo.
The convent of the Comendadoras church was the place where the Knights of Santiago -the most powerful military Order in Spain- used to arm themselves.
The route heads for Tres Cantos, located 23 kilometres away from Puerta del Sol, and continues towards Colmenar Viejo. Then, 15 kilometres later, it continues to Manzanares el Real, Matalpino, Navacerrada and Cercedilla.
After crossing a Roman road (5 kilometres), the road continues to Fuenfría port, located at an altitude of 1790 metres over the Guadarrama mountain range. In total, there are 77 kilometres of route.
The Madrilenian Route is full of beauty: from the great Madrilenian Convent, to the Renaissance Castle of the Duques of the Infantado, in Manzanares el Real, or the pastures and the oak woods located near El Pardo Mount.
The credential is a kind of pilgrim card. It is exclusively delivered to pilgrims that go to Santiago on foot or riding a bicycle or a horse. This credential can be obtained in the Almudena Cathedral, in the Santiago church or in the “Friends Association of the St. James’s Way of Madrid”. It is normally delivered a few days before starting the pilgrimage. To get it, you only need your Identity card or your passport. At Hotel Meninas you will be certified as a pilgrim doing the Madrilenian route.
Pictures of the Saint James´s Way from Madrid.