The City: Santiago De Compostela

By Coelho, Paulo | Newsweek International, November 14, 2011 | Go to article overview

The City: Santiago De Compostela


Coelho, Paulo, Newsweek International


Paulo Coelho undertakes a pilgrimage to a sacred, starlit Spanish site.

Yes, today we have many wondrous means of transportation. Airplane tickets are cheaper than ever, while driving Europe's new highways can be a delight. But of all the cities in the world I know, Santiago de Compostela is the only one where the most agreeable way to arrive is--on foot.

Just as each Muslim is required, at least once in his life, to retrace the Prophet Muhammad's footsteps from Mecca to Medina, first-millennium Christians knew that blessings and indulgences awaited those who made at least one of the three sacred pilgrimages of the faith. The first led to Saint Peter's grave in Rome, by which travelers--or Romeros--bore the symbol of the cross. On the second route, worshipers took palm fronds to Christ's tomb in Jerusalem, just as the ancients did nearly two millennia ago to greet Jesus as he arrived in the holy city. Finally, there was the road to the grave of Saint Tiago--known in English as Saint James--whose mortal remains were said to be buried in the Iberian Peninsula on the night that a shepherd envisioned a field under brilliant starlight.

Not just Tiago but also the Virgin Mary were believed to have gone to the site shortly after the death of Christ to spread the Gospel and convert souls to Christianity. The place was called Compostela--the starlit field--and soon a city was born there. It became a magnet for worshipers from all over Christendom; known as pilgrims, their symbol was a conch shell. In its heyday in the 16th century, the road to Santiago de Compostela drew more than a million pilgrims a year, from all over Europe, who guided themselves by the light of the Milky Way. On their heels came believers humble and exalted, including Charles the Great, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Isabel de Castilla.

When I set out for Santiago nearly 30 years ago, starlight was the last thing on my mind. But one afternoon, there I was, in a cafe in Leon, surrounded by chattering travelers alight with stories about their trek. The town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port was miles behind me, and I was already better than halfway to Santiago. In a matter of days, I would turn 39, and though I had no idea at the time, from that moment on nothing in my life would be the same. But here, on the road, the landscape ahead looked monotonous and flat. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The City: Santiago De Compostela
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.