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The Camino de Santiago began for most 10th century pilgrims in Paris on Rue de StJacques It stretched over 1700 kms through France and Spain terminating at the north door of the great cathedral in Santiago The road was lined with monasteries and charitable hostels run for the benefit of the pilgrims making their long journey to see the relics of St lago An order of knights was established for their protection along the way There is even a 12th century book written by a French monk about the details of this road and it is considered to be the worlds first tourist guide book The pilgrimage to Santiago was an extraordinary phenomenon of travel in an age when most people would scarcely venture outside the town or village in which they were born So why did so many pilgrims risk their lives to make such a journey The answer was simply one of blind faith They believed in the power of miracles and were told that their journey would guarantee them remission of half their time in Hell They did not doubt for a moment that the tomb beneath the high altar of Compostela Cathedral held the true remains of St James the Apostle first cousin to Jesus Christ It seemed scarcely credible to these pilgrims that the whole business was an immense ecclesiastical fraud The legend of how the bones of St lago reached this part of Spain bears this out at each point in its development The legend begins with a claim that lago James journeyed to northwest Spain to convert its inhabitants to Christianity However the Bible never specifies exactly where James went on his evangelistic crusade into SpainThen James returned to Jerusalem where he was in fact beheaded by Herod Agrippa in 44 AD for his energetic propagation of the faith becoming the first of the followers of Jesus to attain martyrdomThe legend of Santiago records that two of James
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