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Cruz de Ferro - plans for landscaping and redevelopment

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
I did not take photographs on my 1990 Camino Frances walk but my vague recollection is that the area around the Cruz was much more open at the time. I do remember being surprised at the surrounding trees in 2016.

The area around the Cruz is plantation pines. Grown in rows for quick rise and easy harvest. THere are some holm oaks around, but only along the edges where they couldn't get the machinery in.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
That is true about a number of "traditions" which seem to have gained currency in recent years. Like burning clothes at Fisterra or indeed the growing practice of continuing on to Fisterra at all.

I don't mind the second -- it's a good enough stand-in for some kind of attempt to at least begin to make the return from Santiago a journey in itself.

But traditionally, people tended to either burn or abandon their shoes and staves ; but at Santiago not Fisterra.

Mounds of pilgrim's staves were erected for a while in the Middle Ages, 'til the City put an end to that rather silly and quite fire hazardous practice.

It persists to an extent in the throwing of pilgrim staves into the sea at Fisterra, but the advent of the hiking poles has mostly killed it.

Good riddance to silly pagan traditions ...

Or the recently invented 'shell ceremony' where prospective pilgrims are given a shell and a blessing before they leave home. Some time ago I read a post arguing that the custom is that the shell you carry should be given to you by a pilgrim who had already made the journey. News to me :cool:

Yeah well that's been an ongoing thing since the Renaissance.

The original custom is that only those having been to Santiago can wear the shell.

But your suggestion that you should receive your concha from another in the proper circumstance is as correct as it is proper -- it was a principle as I set out on my second Camino from Paris in 1994, and for my sins, I was graced with a beautiful and very rustic shell from the legendary Hospitalero pioneer Pablo Mesonero in Villalcazar de Sirga ...
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
BY THE WAY... Back to the original thread, the latest news is that Patrimonio de Castilla y Leon said NO to much of the development plan. I am not totally clear on what was OK and what was not, will tell you when I figure it out.
I met with some Astorga city councilmen and Camino movers & shakers the other day; I am told the American guy's original hope was to add a glassed-in room to the back of the chapel for meditation and/or a cabin for a caretaker...perhaps a latter-day Gaucelmo? Anyway, he approached the Mayor, (he of the Concrete Addiction) who ran away with himself, got an underemployed architect to draw up a fabulous plan to "preserve" and "stop the deterioration" at Cruz de Ferro using steel, bricks, glass, and lots of Ohm. Announced it like a fait accompli just days before Patrimonio met, perhaps as a way to push things through.
And it didn't work.
But who knows how many people are now convinced it's a go? How soon til the concrete goes in anyway? Place your bets...
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
This is not meant as a criticism only a question. Are tourists or others who travel to only Santiago considered pilgrims? Or are they tourists who want to visit an historic site or religious people who want to come to because of their deep faith. I am seriously just asking for clarity. Would the church, as an example refer to them as Pilgrims?
A second question. I was always under the impression the Puerto Santo was only open during a Holy Year (I have since discovered that is not true). I was also under the impression that only "pilgrims" who have received a Compostela can walk through that door. Is what I have said correct?
Thanks.
In terms of the Holy Year indulgence and the Puerto Santo, there is no requirement to walk and no requirement for a Compostela.

In terms of what makes one a pilgrim, boy, that's a loaded question. It is worth noting that Santiago de Compostela is far from the only Catholic pilgrim destination. Millions go to Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, or even Rome or Jerusalem or Bethlehem and no one says they are not a pilgrim if they haven't walked there. Why should it be different for Santiago de Compostela?

As a final note, I am not so sure the categories of people with a historic interest (tourists) and people with a religious interest (pilgrims) are as mutually exclusive as they are presented. Many people, I expect, have both a religious or spiritual aspect and a cultural/historical appreciation to their trips to Santiago de Compostela.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
In terms of the Holy Year indulgence and the Puerto Santo, there is no requirement to walk and no requirement for a Compostela.

In terms of what makes one a pilgrim, boy, that's a loaded question. It is worth noting that Santiago de Compostela is far from the only Catholic pilgrim destination. Millions go to Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, or even Rome or Jerusalem or Bethlehem and no one says they are not a pilgrim if they haven't walked there. Why should it be different for Santiago de Compostela?

As a final note, I am not so sure the categories of people with a historic interest (tourists) and people with a religious interest (pilgrims) are as mutually exclusive as they are presented. Many people, I expect, have both a religious or spiritual aspect and a cultural/historical appreciation to their trips to Santiago de Compostela.
Thanks so much and so so true about the many different pilgrim destinations. I would guess based on what you have written that anyone who wants to wait (I have read it can take a while to walk through Puerto Santo) may walk through the Puerto Santo. That settles that! Good to know. It was just curiosity. I guess if you want to do this than do what a smart Pilgrim does who wants to get his Compostela and get a shot at the free lunch at the Parador, get their really early (which I did once. Or walk in at about 10AM in December and get the coupon because just about everyone before you was from Korea. The Compostela man told me none of them wanted to take advantage of lunch at the Parador)!!!! Thanks again and Buen Camino to you.
 
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peterhore

Peter Hore
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPD-Burgos 2012/13 …. suspended the VdlP in Fuente de Cantos 3/20
Excellent news, and thank you -- the re-routing of the road is hands down the best part of the proposal.
A question please: how long has the CdF been there? Is it mediaeval or 20th century?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
A question please: how long has the CdF been there? Is it mediaeval or 20th century?
As far as documented facts go:
  • Pilgrims and other travellers on the way to and from Santiago did walk from/to Astorga over the Cruz de Ferro (Rabanal) pass in the Middle Ages. Another popular medieval way from Astorga went over the Manazanal pass which is further to the north and less high.
  • Piles of stones of the sort that you see at the Cruz de Ferro have a long history in Northern Spain, in particular in Galicia, that reaches further back in time than the Middle Ages.
  • The tradition of throwing a stone onto the pile has a long tradition. The most recent and perhaps most documented tradition relates to seasonal workers who crossed the Cruz de Ferro pass on their way to work as reapers for crop harvest in the 20th and 19th century.
  • The tradition of pilgrims bringing a stone from home is recent.
The current (physical) road is modern.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
As far as documented facts go:
  • Pilgrims and other travellers on the way to and from Santiago did walk from/to Astorga over the Cruz de Ferro (Rabanal) pass in the Middle Ages. Another popular medieval way from Astorga went over the Manazanal pass which is further to the north and less high.
  • Piles of stones of the sort that you see at the Cruz de Ferro have a long history in Northern Spain, in particular in Galicia, that reaches further back in time than the Middle Ages.
  • The tradition of throwing a stone onto the pile has a long tradition. The most recent and perhaps most documented tradition relates to seasonal workers who crossed the Cruz de Ferro pass on their way to work as reapers for crop harvest in the 20th and 19th century.
  • The tradition of pilgrims bringing a stone from home is recent.
The current (physical) road is modern.
For what it is worth, according to Gitlitz and Davidson's The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook, the pile of stones was topped with a cross by the hermit Gaucelmo. They also say that the ruins 300m beyond Foncebadon before beginning the climb to the pass are the remains of the Hospital de San Juan established by the hermit Gaucelmo and granted privileges by King Alfonso VI in 1103. If both of those are true, there was a cross there in the middle ages. The small chapel of Santiago at the CdF is 20th century, being built in 1982 by the Casa de Galicia in Ponferrada.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Thank you. I obviously have too much time on my hands and I've developed two small obsessions around this topic: finding the first report of a non-local pilgrim or other traveller from far away who actually brought a stone from home and finding something historically reliable about the use of the term 'Mercury mounts'. Both quests largely in vain so far, nothing I found goes further back than 1800-and-something at best. ☺
Yuppie!!! I found something about the mercury mounts, from around the year 550. It all makes more sense to me now. But as this is not the topic of the thread, I'll keep it to myself until an appropriate occasion arises for sharing it 😇.

More to the point: the original proposal for a transformation of the Cruz de Ferro environment had been turned down and now there is a newer, more modest proposal and it, too, encounters opposition, including at least one change.org petition to leave the space as it is.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
Planning for 2021
Sorry but, at the very least, the public toilets would be of huge benefit.

I was appalled at the amount of TP littering certain points of the CF, as mentioned by many others. It is important that better facilities are provided all the way along this route.

In better times this route gives a major economic boost to the area, local authorities must understand the problems caused by the unhygienic practices of many walkers to the ordinary farmers and people etc living on the route.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Someone remarked on Twitter that the current environment of the Cruz de Ferro does not look very idyllic either

The poster included a satellite view where the current giant parking area is marked as well as the current resting area with picnic tables for walkers and the current area where busses can turn. When we were there, we spend some time near the picnic tables close to the chapel. I didn't dare to walk around the chapel (eremita), especially not the back, for fear of what I would see there.

It's a famous iconic place, it will continue to be visited by people on buses and in cars. And by thousands of walkers. Every year. Every summer.

Cruz de Ferro.jpg
 
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camino07

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
I agree with the need for a toilet block. Isn't there already a small one? Maybe I'm thinking of somewhere else.
 

peterhore

Peter Hore
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPD-Burgos 2012/13 …. suspended the VdlP in Fuente de Cantos 3/20
Yuppie!!! I found something about the mercury mounts, from around the year 550. It all makes more sense to me now. But as this is not the topic of the thread, I'll keep it to myself until an appropriate occasion arises for sharing it 😇.

More to the point: the original proposal for a transformation of the Cruz de Ferro environment had been turned down and now there is a newer, more modest proposal and it, too, encounters opposition, including at least one change.org petition to leave the space as it is.
Well, Katherine, I'd like to know more about your researching options, thank you
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
finding something historically reliable about the use of the term 'Mercury mounts'. Both quests largely in vain so far, nothing I found goes further back than 1800-and-something at best.
I am having trouble finding the term "mercury mounts" - however reliable, historically - any farther back than your post #40 on this thread. What does it have to do with anything? 🤣 :cool:
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I am having trouble finding the term "mercury mounts" - however reliable, historically - any farther back than your post #40 on this thread. What does it have to do with anything? 🤣 :cool:
Where do I begin 🤣:cool:?

There is, first of all, the fundamental interconnectedness of all things as anyone knows who has ever heard the name of Dirk Gently. Then there is Wikipedia telling us about the Montes de Mercurio in the paragraph Historia y tradición of the article on the Cruz de Hierro (León). Post #84 mentions Mercury, too, and in the same context, and so do some earlier threads. So apart from the obvious desire to share what one knows one could place this in the wider context of the question whether any landscaping and redevelopment is a break with history and tradition or merely a continuation of a very slow but continuous reshaping and repurposing of this space.

On the other hand, I, too would like to see the actual current plans for the Cruz de Ferro site. I am not sure whether the photo that the current change.orgers use for their protest petition is a photo copied from the landscape architect's plan or something that a newspaper editor created in a hurry with the help of a photo editing app.

PS: I should have spelled the word with a capital letter. 🤓
 
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FSP

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I wouldn't begrudge or judge anyone making a pilgrimage or trip to SDC in whatever way they can. But, it seems like great impetuous / opportunity for some Camino Associations to come together to put an official Cruz to the walking pilgrim located somewhere on the trail far from roads and towns. Somewhere out of sight and sound of roads and cities.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I wouldn't begrudge or judge anyone making a pilgrimage or trip to SDC in whatever way they can. But, it seems like great impetuous / opportunity for some Camino Associations to come together to put an official Cruz to the walking pilgrim located somewhere on the trail far from roads and towns. Somewhere out of sight and sound of roads and cities.
But what would be the point of that? Can't pilgrims find their very own special places? There is no need for a specific place to leave a stone behind or have a special moment at.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Such future plans are frightening; hopefully all such
"improvements" will be hidden under snow. Thus this at least provides another reason to enjoy walking alone on empty trails during winter.
why not go the whole hog and have merry Chrissie stalls there in winter with braziers to keep us warm and hot chestnuts. mulled wine of course or perhaps sidra? :cool:

I'm sure the Camino has seen it all in one form or another over the centuries'

What next tho? A funicular over the Pyrenees?

Stay safe and walk soft.

Samarkand.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
What next tho? A funicular over the Pyrenees?
Maybe escalators like this one in Portugalete?

img_2132.jpg
 
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zrexer

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
2020 Camino Del Norte
How about a viewing platform for people to watch pilgrims arriving at Cruz de ferro and being able to share their emotional arrival moment up close? Maybe a Camino theme park with rides, loud music and flashing lights would be a welcome addition as well. Maybe a wine bar would be just the ticket.

Or how about leaving well enough alone and resisting the temptation to modernize the Camino into something it was never intended to be.

Feeling grumpy today... FB_IMG_1472647724190.jpg
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
Planning for 2021
And while they're at it bring back some medieval rabid dogs and footpads and make hair shirts compulsory. 😁

The Camino changes with the ages. Else why the TP, not very authentic is it? Certainly not the bus-igrinos causing that pollution. Public lavatories would help avoid that scourge.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
On the other hand, I, too would like to see the actual current plans for the Cruz de Ferro site
Looks like someone else had the same idea and made a request to obtain details about the current remodelling project. From today’s news: La Federación Española de Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago pregunta a la jefa del Servicio de Cultura y Patrimonio de León los detalles del proyecto de adecuación del entorno de la Cruz de Fierro, un lugar emblemático de paso de peregrinos del Camino De Santiago.
 

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