Throughout its twelve hundred year history, the Pilgrim'2 Way to Santiago has given rise to an extraordinary spiritual, cultural and social vitality. Thanks to the existence of the Way, the first network or assistance in Europe came into being and monasteries, cathedrals and new urban centres were founded.
A new culture was born from the convergence of peoples of diverse backgrounds, bases on the free exchange of ideas, artistic and social trends, in addition to a socio-economic driving force which boosted the development of a number of areas in Europe, especially during the Middle Ages. The mark left by the Wya and by the pilgrims on the city of Santiago de Compostela can be crearly seen from and endless number of public and private testimonies, in the different art forms, and als, for example, in the publication of over one thousand books worlwide, which in recent decades have extolled the virtues of this Way, a work of art and the heritage of all Europeans.
The main routes of the Pilgrims' Way to Santiago were declared the First European Cultural Itinerary (1987) by the Council of Europe and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the stretches travelling across Spain and France (1993 and 1998, respectively). In 2004 it also received the Prince of Asturias Award for Harmony from the Prince of Asturias Foundation.
(Source: Dirección General de Turismo de la Junta de Galicia)