Camino de Santiago northernmost waymarker erected close to Estonian border

One of the Camino de Santiago waymarkers in Latvia.
One of the Camino de Santiago waymarkers in Latvia. Source: LSM/publicity image

A group of Latvians has placed the northernmost, to date, Camino de Santiago waymaker, close to that country's border with Estonia. The Camino de Santiago, is a pan-European network of pilgrimage routes, many of which date back to the middle ages and which converges in Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.

The work is the brainchild of volunteers, many of whom have traversed the actual Camino de Santiago in various parts of Europe, the English-language page of public broadcaster LSM reports.

"We all participated in this road-building, [as] we have all walked Camino routes in Spain, in Portugal, and in other lands," Said Zaiga Abele, one of the participants and author of a book on the subject.

"We once couldn't have imagined that the path of St. James would be passing through Latvia. But it turns out that in 1987, when the Santiago route was included in the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe program, the map had already highlighted that the path of the route would also be passing through the Baltic States," Abele added.

The Camino de Santiago is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and converging on the supposed tomb of, or at least shrine to, St. James the Great, one of the original 12 apostles according to the New Testament, in Santiago de Compostela, north-western Spain.

The Latvian stretch has been marked between the capital, Riga, and Žagare, just south of the border with majority-Catholic Lithuania, so far, and work has started in Vidzeme, which borders with Estonia.

The entire route in Latvia could stretch over 300 km, LSM reports.

Archaeological digs in Tallinn have revealed that pilgrimage badges, earned by undergoing treks as far as from the present-day Baltic States to locations such as Rome, were common currency among some social strata in the Estonian capital, right up until the eve of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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