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Archive for March 29th, 2019

The Camino de San Ignacio, also known as the Ignatian Way, recreates the route that Ignatius of Loyola took in 1522, when he left his home in Loyola and walked all the way to Monserrat and Manresa. The almost month-long pilgrimage changed his life, with his subsequent religious achievements changing the world. Nowadays, people closely follow this important route consisting of 27 stages through 5 regions, with the hope of finding themselves spiritually, learning more about the history or to simply have fun. Below we have outlined all the details of each stage of this spiritual journey, as well as information about the most important destinations and monuments along the way!

Through EUSKADI

Stages 1-6: Loiola > Laguardia (126km)

1) Loiola – Zumarraga, 17.5km

2) Zumarraga – Arantzazu, 19.5km

3) Arantzazu – Araia, 17.7km

4) Araia – Alda, 21.5km

5) Alda – Genevilla, 23.3km

6) Genevilla – Laguardia, 27km

 The Ignatian Way begins here in Loyola, a town nestled among the hills in Spain’s Basque region. It is also the birthplace of St Ignatius, who is now one of world and religious history’s most important figures. Here you will visit the Sanctuary of Loyola, which consists of the Loyola family Tower House and the basilica. The house falls within the sanctuary’s limits and nowadays hosts a little museum showing Saint Ignatius’s family’s life, and its most famous person, Saint Ignatius. The basilica, which also forms part of the Sanctuary, was built in Baroque style with a circular floor plan and a 65 meter high dome, designed by the Italian architect Carlo Maria Fontana. It is one of the most representative examples of contemporary Basque art.

sanctuary of loyola

the Sanctuary of Loyola

family tower house

the Loyola Family Tower House 

Through LA RIOJA

Stages 7-11: Laguardia > Alfaro (108.6km)

7) Laguardia – Navarrete, 19.6km

8) Navarrete– Logroño, 13km

9) Logroño – Alcandre, 31km

10) Alcandre-Calahorra, 21km

11) Calahorra – Alfaro, 24km

 On the way to Logroño, you will pass through the town of Navarrete, in the region of La Rioja, to visit the impressive Asunción church. The parish church of Navarrete is a Renaissance building of considerable magnitude, whose construction lasted for nearly a century. The main attraction is the altarpiece, which is now considered the most spectacular altarpiece in La Rioja due to its richness and stunning decoration.
Logroño is a city rich in history and traditions, which have been preserved since the middle ages. the river Ebro passes through the city and can be crossed via two bridges that connect Logroño with Navarre and Alava, the oldest of them being the Puente de Piedra. Places worth a visit in Logroño are also the Palacio de los Marqueses de Legarda, Palacio de los Chapiteles, the Museum of La Rioja and Santa María de Palacio, the oldest church in the capital of La Rioja, which dominates the city’s skyline with its gothic spire.

santa maria del palacio

Santa María del Palacio

On reaching Calahorra, pilgrims should take a visit to the beautiful Santa Maria Cathedral. This gothic cathedral dates back to the 15th century and having been in construction for 200 years, it therefore consists of various styles as it was influenced by different eras. Other things to see include a Roman arch and the Church of San Andrés from the 16th century in the Muslim old town, and the Church of Santiago in Plaza del Raso, the finest example of La Rioja’s neoclassic style.

Through NAVARRA

Stages 12-13: Alfaro > Gallur (61km)

12) Alfaro – Tudela, 23km

13) Tudela – Gallur, 38km

 In Tudela, the main monuments to visit are the cathedral and the church. Declared a National Monument in 1884, the Cathedral of Santa Maria was built in the twelfth century over the town’s main mosque. It is worth stopping to take a look at its three doorways, the most spectacular one being on the main façade, known as the door of the Day of Judgement. Having been totally restored over the last few years, visitors are able to enter the light-filled central nave in Gothic style and its magnificent chapels and altarpieces. The Church of la Magdalena is also a national monument that still retains one of the few Romanesque towers you can see in Navarre.

Through ARAGON

Stages 14-20: Gallur > Fraga (176.8km)

14) Gallur – Alagón, 23km

15) Alagón – Zaragoza, 31km

16) Zaragoza – Fuentes de Ebro, 29km

17) Fuentes de Ebro – Pina de Ebro, 12km

18) Pina de Ebro – Bujaraloz, 37km

19) Bujaraloz – Candasnos, 21km

20) Candasnos – Fraga, 23.8km

 When passing through Zaragoza, the most important monument for pilgrims to see here is the Our Lady of Pilar Church. It is the dynamic centre of life in the city, with hundreds of visitors passing through its doors every day to attend mass or pray in the shrine’s chapel. Inside, a Roman-style pillar is topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus that dates from the fifteenth century.  It is housed in a chapel of marble, jasper, and gilded bronze that forms almost a church-within-a-church. Outside the basilica lies the largest pedestrian plaza in Spain, a picturesque expanse lined with cafes and fountains and the site of frequent musical performances, festivals, and other public events.

our lady of pilar church

Our Lady of Pilar Church

 

Through CATALUNYA

 Stages 21-27: Fraga > Manresa (183.7km)

 21) Fraga – Lleida, 33km

22) Lleida – El Palau d’Anglesola, 22.7km

23) El Palau d’Anglesola – Verdú, 24.7km

24) Verdú – Cervera, 16km

25) Cervera – Igualada, 37km

26) Igualada – Montserrat, 26.8km

27) Montserrat –Manresa, 23.5km

 In Lleida, the Old Cathedral is undoubtedly the city’s most distinctive landmark. According to historians, construction began in 1203 on the site of a Muslim mosque and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. With a three-nave Latin cross basilica layout, it was consecrated for worship in 1278 and is designed in a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic. It also features a bell tower which offers wonderful views of the city.

old cathedral of lleida

Old Cathedral of Lleida

 

Once you arrive at Montserrat Monastery, you will see an indescribable view all the way to Barcelona. The mountain Montserrat has been of religious significance since pre-Christian time. Before Christ, it was a temple to worship Venus was built by the Romans. Many of the tourists come here only because of the statue of the Black Madonna, who is the patron saint of Catalonia. The 12th-century figure is enthroned above the high altar in the basilica of the monastery. In her honour the “Escolania de Montserrat”, consisting of about 50 choirboys from the boarding school of the monastery church sings songs daily.

montserrat

Montserrat Monastery in Montserrat Mountain

the black madonna

the Black Madonna

The final 23 kilometres of the route are the last physical challenge for the pilgrim before arriving at the long-awaited cave of Saint Ignatius in Manresa. Ignatius of Loyola came down to Manresa on foot and spent eleven months here. It was an important turning point in his life, and his privileged place of prayer was the Cave. It is a cavity over the river Cardener, excavated by the fluvial erosion during the Tertiary.  The building of the Cave has experienced transformations for over 300 years, however at the moment its image, together with the Basilica of la Seu of Manresa, represents the icons of the city.  Nowadays, the Cave has become an international centre for Ignatian spirituality and welcomes visitors from all over the world who make stops for meditation, education and Spiritual Exercises.

cave and basilica manresa

the Cave of San Ignacio and the Basilica

inside cave

Inside the Cave of San Ignacio

ignaciano route

Map highlighting importing stages of route

 

If you are interested in learning more about Spain’s rich culture and fascinating history, do not forget to subscribe to our Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog to see more posts!

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