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Road proposal would remove Camino from World Heritage Sites

Peter Robins

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Anyone who's been in Spain in recent years can hardly have failed to notice a large amount of road construction going on, some of which has impinged on the various walking routes to Santiago. One road currently on the drawing board is a new autovia between Burgos and Logrono. One of the proposed routes would take it over the Sierra de Atapuerca, and in the view of Unesco this would have such a negative impact on the Camino Frances that it would cause the organisation to remove it from the list of World Heritage Sites.
http://www.elcorreogallego.es/index.php ... cia=110249


And rightly so in my opinion.

The current construction boom in Spain (not just roads) appears to have no internal limitations and certainly does not seem justified by Spain's low birth rates.

Perhaps some external pressure might provide an incentive to halt the encroachment on previously unspoilt landscapes which seems driven only by speculators' greed (and corruption, some of the locals told me Spain has recently been rocked by a series of bribery scandals involving local authorities/officials and development profiteers).

I have to say that while I enjoyed walking the Camino this year (for the people and the wonderful experiences I had), parts of the Camino frances route have changed radically (and not for the better) since I walked it in 2003.

I would now think twice about walking this particular route again even if much of it is still very beautiful.



Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Road proposal

Is there a specific government agency or other place where we can lodge our complaints about this project? I would be happy to mount a campaign from Canada / NorthAmerica.




Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
There is a rather lengthy document entitled "Roman Engineering on the Roads to Santiago" (prepared in 2003) which deals with the destruction of Roman Roads along the route to Santiago at http://traianus.rediris.es/viasromanas/ ... o02_en.htm

Here was their conclusion.

The importance for culture and tourism of the Way to Santiago throughout its whole length is a fact beyond any doubt. It is moreover an investment for the future and a source of income for the localities through which it passes.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Roman road, a scene of the most infantile ignorance and negligence.
Despite the importance for culture and heritage of the whole length of the
Roman road that has been described in this Community of the Rioja, its future in fact gives little grounds for hope. In latter years there have been irreversible changes and assaults that are unbecoming to a modern, culturally advanced Community.
The string of destruction on the Roman road has no end. In 1999 several miles of the Roman road throughout the district of Azofra, specifically named “Camino de los Romanos” [Roman Way], were converted into a modern local road, despite the wealth of archaeological data available at the time, previously unimaginably supportive.
On successive occasions many other stretches were covered and altered, until in January 2003 the best traces of the Roman road in the whole of the Rioja, the superbly preserved embankments of Tricio, were destroyed.
This trend must be reversed. This is an urgent task that is the responsibility of the officials of the Community Heritage, correcting past mistakes, so that future generations may know what the first road in this part of the world was like.
Let us hope that the incentive of cultural tourism, as an alternative to religious pilgrimages, will be the most successful means of bringing it back into use, to begin a new age of conservation and to gain respect for what remains of this historical and cultural heritage of the Rioja of the highest order.

Perhaps the last paragraph can be used by Confraternities around the world to call for the preservation and protection of the archaeological treasures of the camino.

Peter Robins

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Re: Road proposal

lynnejohn said:
Is there a specific government agency or other place where we can lodge our complaints about this project? I would be happy to mount a campaign from Canada / NorthAmerica.
the regional governments of Castille and La Rioja, I would presume. The body that's raising the issue on Unesco's behalf is Icomos http://www.international.icomos.org/home.htm
At the moment this road is at the planning stage, and the problem route is only one of the options under consideration. Icomos is obviously aiming to squash the idea before it gets any further.

More on the issue in today's Correo Gallego
http://www.elcorreogallego.es/index.php ... cia=110623


OLDER threads on this topic


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