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Oldest to newest Camino routes

2020 Camino Guides

sjdaotearoa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2018)
Hola peregrinos. My first camino last year was the Primitivo. Next year I'm doing the Norte. By chance these are the oldest and second oldest Camino's. I thought it might be interesting to plot my next Camino's by age - from oldest to newest routes. Does anyone know anything about this, or where I might find info on it? Thanks in advance, Sara
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
My first camino last year was the Primitivo. Next year I'm doing the Norte. By chance these are the oldest and second oldest Camino's. I thought it might be interesting to plot my next Camino's by age - from oldest to newest routes. Does anyone know anything about this, or where I might find info on it?
I would not be in the least surprised if someone has constructed such a classification. However, you will have to decide how to measure the "age" of a "Camino" in a way that makes sense.

If you understand by age the physical age of a road, ie when it was constructed or used for the first time: what we understand by today's "Caminos" are roads that were used in the Middle Ages when the pilgrimage to Santiago was a big deal. These roads were essentially Roman roads that were left over from the Roman empire that had ceased to exist many centuries earlier. Hence they all have approximately the same age: about 2000 years, give or take a few. That includes the set of roads known to today's camino walkers as Norte, Primitivo, Frances.

If you understand by age the time when pilgrims to Santiago started to use these roads, in addition to all the other travellers, you could try to figure out which historically known person used a particular road for the first time for a pilgrimage to Santiago or else you could try to figure out which particular road was used by the majority of pilgrims to Santiago during a certain period of time or by a significant number of pilgrims during a certain period of time. That would give you the Primitivo, otherwise known as the road from Oviedo, as the "oldest Camino" and you could try to rank the other modern Camino trails with the help of a map that shows the progress of the Reconquista over the course of some 800 years, from the 700s until around 1500.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Here's a question: what makes a road a pilgrimage road, what makes a camino a Camino? I tend to think that there is actually only one Pilgrimage Road and that is the Camino Frances. Its development in the Middle Ages was driven by the pilgrimage to Santiago; it has towns and villages that have "del Camino" in their name; houses and other buildings appeared along the road to cater for pilgrims so that we have these long stretched out towns or villages so typical for the Camino Frances; bridges were built for the pilgrimage traffic; numerous hostals-hospitals were built for the transient pilgrimage population. Other roads to Santiago catered also for pilgrims but never to the same extent as the Camino Frances. Their primary function was the same as any other road: they were trade roads and communication roads between towns.

The owners of today's Caminos, namely the various Spanish regions and towns, are vying for the contemporary pilgrimage traffic. They are trying to sell the narrative of their Camino(s) as best as they can. I guess "age" is a unique selling point for some but not all of them. ☺
 
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sjdaotearoa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2018)
Thanks Kathar1na. You make excellent points and I've enjoyed reading them all :) You clearly know a lot about this. I guess I have plenty of time to read and think about it at a rate of one Camino every 2 years. Buen Camino.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
I thought it might be interesting to plot my next Camino's by age - from oldest to newest routes.
@sjdaotearoa , kia ora (greetings, good health)

As today, pilgrimages started from your home, first to your parish church for a blessing and then on to your destination. And hopefully to return, in one piece.

So pilgrimage routes exist all over Europe.

One that has a reasonably well documented origin is that from Le Puy-en-Velay (about two hours by train from Lyon) is south central France. Check out Bishop Godelasco (and Podiensis).

This is about 750 km to Saint-Jean. While I did it in one session in April I encountered many walking for one or two weeks as part of their annual leave and coming back each year until finished.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

sjdaotearoa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2018)
@sjdaotearoa , kia ora (greetings, good health)

As today, pilgrimages started from your home, first to your parish church for a blessing and then on to your destination. And hopefully to return, in one piece.

So pilgrimage routes exist all over Europe.

One that has a reasonably well documented origin is that from Le Puy-en-Velay (about two hours by train from Lyon) is south central France. Check out Bishop Godelasco (and Podiensis).

This is about 750 km to Saint-Jean. While I did it in one session in April I encountered many walking for one or two weeks as part of their annual leave and coming back each year until finished.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
Kia ora thank you Alwyn :) Aaaah to be able to go and walk in one or two week blocks of A/L after catching a 2hr 60euro Ryan Air flight at the drop of a hat! I like the idea of Le Puy/Frances - looks ancient and gorgeous - and worth the 24 hour flight to get there :) Te huarahi pai
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
and worth the 24 hour flight to get there
You're lucky. For me it is usually 30 hours to London, then more to my start point.

In 2016 I flew Wellington - Charles de Gaulle, then fast train to Lyon. After two nights a TER train to Le Puy. Then two nights so as to look around before starting after the 07h Mass and stamp for the credential.
 
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Camgal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2020)
Camino Portugese (2020)
Here's a question: what makes a road a pilgrimage road, what makes a camino a Camino? I tend to think that there is actually only one Pilgrimage Road and that is the Camino Frances. Its development in the Middle Ages was driven by the pilgrimage to Santiago; it has towns and villages that have "del Camino" in their name; houses and other buildings appeared along the road to cater for pilgrims so that we have these long stretched out towns or villages so typical for the Camino Frances; bridges were built for the pilgrimage traffic; numerous hostals-hospitals were built for the transient pilgrimage population. Other roads to Santiago catered also for pilgrims but never to the same extent as the Camino Frances. Their primary function was the same as any other road: they were trade roads and communication roads between towns.

The owners of today's Caminos, namely the various Spanish regions and towns, are vying for the contemporary pilgrimage traffic. They are trying to sell the narrative of their Camino(s) as best as they can. I guess "age" is a unique selling point for some but not all of them. ☺
Yes, I had the pleasure of running into two officials from the local municapal in Sarria because I got lost suddenly when a huge dog appeared from nowhere and kept following me and I am not a dog whisperar. I lost track. I asked one of them for directions after walking 4 kms and explained where I got lost. They admitted that one could get easily lost in that area. I hope they will clearly signpost that area. They were aware of the income we perringos bring to the area.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
That would give you the Primitivo, otherwise known as the road from Oviedo, as the "oldest Camino" and you could try to rank the other modern Camino trails with the help of a map that shows the progress of the Reconquista over the course of some 800 years, from the 700s until around 1500.
Yes, we assume that for the Mozárabes (Christians who lived in Muslims territories) was not possible to pilgrim to Santiago due to the almost permanent conflicts with the Christian Kingdoms and to fundamentalist periods (almorávide, almohade).
So, the pilgrimage started after the conquest, Portuguese in 1147 (Lisbon), VDLP in 1248 (Seville), Mozárabe in 1492 (Granada), etc.
Then, I think that the name Camino Mozárabe is rather confusing because we could think that those people were allowed to pilgrim during the Muslim period in their territories.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Modern scholars identify "camino de santiago" routes by the historic record: the roads existed before the pilgrimage started up, But once the pilgrimage took hold, (the 11th century) were there pilgrim hospitals, Cluniac churches, pilgrim cemeteries, church records of pilgrim burials, meals served, beds kept, etc. in the given parish or town or city? There were plenty of roads that led to Santiago in the middle ages, but not all of them could be called "pilgrimage ways." Even so, three new "Caminos" were proposed this year in Galicia, by town councils ready to cash in on the Camino tourism phenomenon. (they call the historians in later to legitimize the claims.)
There are also some spectacular historic pilgrim trails in Spain, complete with infrastructure, that do not go to Santiago. The Via Mariana is one -- from Braga in northern Portugal to Muxia, but NOT Santiago! Newly waymarked, challenging hike through tiny villages, a series of shrines to the Virgin Mary (built over even more ancient holy wells)... about 400 km. Intriguing!
There are tons of colorful stories and great hikes out there. Sadly, if you want to get down and historical, you still need to read Spanish... or Gallego.
 

Paul_Garland

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012-18, VdlP 2013, Primitivo part 2018, Fisterra/Muxia frequently, VdlP Portugues parts
Modern scholars identify "camino de santiago" routes by the historic record: the roads existed before the pilgrimage started up, But once the pilgrimage took hold, (the 11th century) were there pilgrim hospitals, Cluniac churches, pilgrim cemeteries, church records of pilgrim burials, meals served, beds kept, etc. in the given parish or town or city? There were plenty of roads that led to Santiago in the middle ages, but not all of them could be called "pilgrimage ways." Even so, three new "Caminos" were proposed this year in Galicia, by town councils ready to cash in on the Camino tourism phenomenon. (they call the historians in later to legitimize the claims.)
There are also some spectacular historic pilgrim trails in Spain, complete with infrastructure, that do not go to Santiago. The Via Mariana is one -- from Braga in northern Portugal to Muxia, but NOT Santiago! Newly waymarked, challenging hike through tiny villages, a series of shrines to the Virgin Mary (built over even more ancient holy wells)... about 400 km. Intriguing!
There are tons of colorful stories and great hikes out there. Sadly, if you want to get down and historical, you still need to read Spanish... or Gallego.
Mariana goes 'through not to' Compostela.
 

Paul_Garland

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012-18, VdlP 2013, Primitivo part 2018, Fisterra/Muxia frequently, VdlP Portugues parts
Yes, we assume that for the Mozárabes (Christians who lived in Muslims territories) was not possible to pilgrim to Santiago due to the almost permanent conflicts with the Christian Kingdoms and to fundamentalist periods (almorávide, almohade).
So, the pilgrimage started after the conquest, Portuguese in 1147 (Lisbon), VDLP in 1248 (Seville), Mozárabe in 1492 (Granada), etc.
Then, I think that the name Camino Mozárabe is rather confusing because we could think that those people were allowed to pilgrim during the Muslim period in their territories.
Don't know about the Lisbon route, but in the NE corner of Portugal pilgrims were passing through from central and southern Spain via Zamora and Bragança in Visigothic times. For info search Facebook for <Albergue Ricobayo - Camino Zamorano Portugués>. Confusingly this route to Compostela is also known as the VdlP Portugués. Overlooked for many years, now being sensitively waymarked and new Association albergues being built.
 

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