James the Greater was martyred for his faith by King Herod in Jerusalem. He is known as the first apostle to die. He was not allowed to be buried following his martyrdom so his remains were taken to Compostela, Spain by some of his followers who buried him.
In the 9th century, the remains of St James were discovered and moved to a tomb in Santiago de Compostela, where they remain today in the Crypt under the altar in the original 9th century foundations along with two other disciples.
The first recorded pilgrim was the Bishop of Le Puy in 951. However it is believed that pilgrims have probably been coming to Santiago since 814 shortly after the tomb of St James was found.
Most pilgrims went in hope of redemption and were often on the road for years, returning with a scallop shell (Coquille Saint Jacque), the symbol of St James, as a souvenir. In fact today, Pilgrims are guided by two iconic symbols along the Camino de Santiago – the scallop shell and the yellow arrow. You will find these symbols on pavers, sidewalks, signs, trees, etc, along The Way.
One of world’s first travel guides about the pilgrimage was written by a monk called Picaud in 1140. Travellers follow the same routes through ancient towns and villages today.
The Spanish welcome hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year who contribute to the rural economies on their journey to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia. Its historic centre has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
We look forward to guiding you through the incomparable Romanesque architecture, cultural history and breathtaking scenery that is the Camino de Santiago.