The “Memories of a Pilgrimage” Photo Exhibition reflects the journey made by photographer Manuel Valcárcel and musician Alejandro Gomez, both from Galicia, along the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago.
In 2009, Manuel Valcarcel started his pilgrimage to the three most important Catholic sites in the world. He started from Jerusalem then Rome then to Santiago de Compostela. In year 2010, he traveled around Eastern Europe when he felt the need to experience the impact of different cultural settings to human beings. This has motivated him to do the “Memories of a Pilgrimage”, a photographic documentary. He was also inspired by a legendary Galician nun named Esteria, who according to legend, also walked the Pilgrim´s Way to Santiago in the 2AD.
This exhibition aims to let mankind discover how travelers take on the different pilgrimage routes in their lives and become submerged in an ecosystem of great diversity and beauty on his way to self- discovery, which later on becomes a spiritual and cultural realization with a deeper understanding of oneself. It also emphasizes the emotions of a pilgrim undertaking his or her own journey in a particular destination, or simply traversing his own personal journey within his lifetime.
Manuel Valcarcel’s photos are open to the public for viewing in the [email protected] from 1 to 30 April 2014 between 11am to 9pm daily. Its objective is to showcase the cultural wealth of Europe that is reflected around the Pilgrim´s Way to Santiago de Compostela and to leave a mark in the emotions and feelings of everyone who visits it. You can also check more of his works at www.manuelvalcarcel.com.
Santiago De Compostela Declared As The 1st European Cultural Itinerary & Listed In UNESCO´S World Hertiage List
The Route of St. James or the Camino de Santiago plays an important part of the western European spiritual and cultural life since the Middle Ages. It has preserved a complete record of facilities for the spiritual and physical well-being of pilgrims. It also plays an essential role in linking cultural developments between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. With these features, the Road to Santiago was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe on October 1987. The declaration meant the official confirmation of the Pilgrims’ Road as the great benchmark of European and pro-European cultural routes.
In 1993, UNESCO recognized the importance of the route and included it in the World Heritage List stating that there is no comparable Christian pilgrimage route of such extent and continuity anywhere in Europe. This pilgrimage route touches more than the historical and spiritual aspect of the European culture. It also reflects both the preservation and evolution of the European identity. Santiago de Compostela was visited by Pope John Paul II twice. First was an apostolic visit to Spain in 1982 and then the second one was for the World Youth Day in 1989. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI also did an apostolic visit to Santiago in 2010, dressed as a pilgrim and followed the traditional ritual for one´s arrival in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.
Number Of Pilgrims Who Walks The Way To Santiago De Compostela Continues To Increase
The number of pilgrims received by the Santiago de Compostela´s Pilgrim Office for year 2013 has increased to 215,800 compared to 2012´s record of 192,488, almost an 11% increase. According to their records, 117, 872 (54.60%) of the pilgrims are men while 98,008 (45.40%) are women. Out of these total figure, 121, 305 (56.19%) comes from the age group of 30-60; 61,114 (28.31%) are lesser than 30 and 461 (15.50%) of them are greater than 60 years of age.
The means of arriving at Santiago de Compostela also varies. Around 188, 191 (87.17%) of the pilgrims did the Camino on foot or walking, while 26, 646 (12.34%) were on bicycle, another 977 (0.45%) were on horseback and 66 (0.03%) were on wheel chairs. The pilgrims were mainly employees, around 48,615 (22.52%) of them. Some were students which numbered 40,360 (18.70%). There were retirees too at 25,712 (11.91) then the other 46.87% came from different sectors or professions.
These pilgrims also took different routes to reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The French Route remains the top choice for pilgrims with 151,761 (22.52%) pilgrims who followed it last year. Next was the Portuguese Route with 29,550 (13.69%) followed by the Northern Route with 13,393 (6.20%), the Silver Route with 9,016 (4.18%), Primitive Route with 6,854 (3.17%), the English Route with 4,404 (2.04%), and the Muxla-Finnistre with 457 (0.21%) while the other 444 (0.21%) took the other routes. Some of the pilgrims’ shared their experience during the session.
Turkish Airlines Fly From Istanbul To Santiago De Compostela
Turkish Airlines inaugurated its maiden flight to Santiago de Compostela from Istanbul last 21st of May 2013, with full passenger and aircraft operations, and started with three flights per week. Presently, the airline now flies daily to Santiago de Compostela on A320. Turkish Airlines Cargo Office is the sponsor for the photographic materials for the photo exhibition, “Memories of a Pilgrimage”, now on its last stop in Southeast Asia, here in Singapore.
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here.