Pilgrim’s Guide. The Mozarab Way of Santiago
This Guide of the Mozarab Way of Santiago implies a great effort in an attempt to gather in an only book some Ways which in their search for Santiago de Compostela depart from the Western provinces of Andalucia. Cities like Almeria, Malaga, Granada and Jaen get linked up in an only path to converge in Cordoba.
From that point, the Pilgrim will step into the lands of Extremadura through the Badajoz district of La Serena, following through the Vegas Altas del Guadiana till he gets to Merida. At this point the Southern Mozarab Ways coming from Sevilla, Huelva and Cadiz will get linked up. From here, all of them will share the millennial Via de la Plata.
The Way joins its historial background with an enormous cultural and faith experience.
The proposed itineraries in this guide are the result of years of experience of the Associations of Friends of the Way of Santiago and the perseverance and effort, lately, of the Groups of Rural Development, the involved Public Administrations, the private firms which complement the hostage network and the local population of all these villages through which the Way runs. The paths respond to two criteria:
1.- Historical. These paths go along Roman roads, Medieval paths and livestock trails with a great transversal axis which departs from Almeria, gets to Granada continues towards Cordoba and from here gets linked in Merida to the well-known Via de la Plata. Other two Ways merge into this axis: the Way of Malaga which does so at the village of Baena and the Way of Jaen, at Alcaudete.
2.- Practical. There is no doubt that the passing of the years and the different historical circumnstances or the creation of new infraestructures in the territory require to adjust these ways to the new necessities. For this reason, some itineraries are proposed, which committed to the first abovementioned criterion, to make it possible to do the Way in safe conditions, providing the pilgrims with infraestructures for their rest and provisions.
The well-known Mozarab Way was used by the Christians who lived in the Arabic kingdoms to get connected to the Via de la Plata until Santiago de Compostela. Being this route one of the oldest ones belonging to the Way of Santiago.
The Muslim domination started at the beginning of the VIII century over the best part the peninsular territory would end influencing the religious life of the inhabitants of the old Visigothic-Christian kingdom. Thus, once the news of the discovery of the Apostle Santiago’s sepulchre in Galicia was spread, the Christians who lived in the territories under the Muslim domination would try to go on a pilgrimage to Compostela. These Christians received the name of Mozarabs and got to carry on with their faith and consolidate their own religous culture.
During the intermittent periods of peace between the Christian North and the Muslim South the pilgrimage to Santiago’s sepulchre in Galicia was being forged. The itinerary followed from the Al-Andalus territories, current Andalucia, used the communication routes established by the Romans. The Mozarabs coming from Almeria, Granada,
Malaga or Jaen merged into the former Cordoba to continue from there to Merida through the main route of communication.
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