The Santiago Road: "Aragonesian" Section
It was running the year 800 when the king Alfonso II of Asturias began a new policy to repopulate his lands and to seat them, in what after would be called Castille. In Galicia, he entrusted with this occupation, to the Bishop Teodomiro, who would repopulate the zone between the rivers Ulla and Tambre, taking as base the city of Iría. This Bishop, when was visiting the remains of an ancient Roman "castrum" (that had leant its own cemetery), saw a flame and as assures the legend, it was then when it could find the remains of the apostle Santiago. The legend does not assure as the Apostle was identified, but there is evidence of the fact that on a base of a column of the current cathedral of Santiago, it was embedded a Latin registration devoted to Jupiter, that without doubt proceed of the Roman shrine, that still is conserved under the altar of the Cathedral. In the Roman mythology, Jupiter was the "Thunderer God" and the Apostle Santiago is called the "son of the thunder". Since the christianity was appropriated of most of the pagan holidays, the step of the shrine devoted to Jupiter to devote one to Santiago, it is simple thing. Together to the shrine are found still previous burial remains, that would explain the light sight by Teodomiro, had to the presence of " fatuous fires"
The news of this finding was spread in the zone of Paris (France) being received as important thing, since the remains attributed to Santiago, were resulting to correspond to the only apostle buried in the European West. With these events, Iría was converted quickly in center of peregrinations. The first pilgrim documented, is Gorescalco, bishop of Puy (France), who mades his trip in the year 950. From then on, the peregrinations were constant, to be quenched in the XVI century.
The peregrinations had its importance in the field of the spirituality, but also influenced other fields; thus, to what is long of the Santiago Road emerged a series of romanesque churches as for example, in Spain: the Jaca Cathedral, San Isidoro of León, Cathedral of Santiago, etc., ...; and in France, San Saturnino in Toulouse, that indicate the maximum level of the European romanesque. For the jacobea route (Santiago Road) proliferated small craftsman kernels and merchants, as for example, in Jaca, where most of their inhabitants were devoted in the XII century to the shoes manufacture, harnesses and other indispensable elements to make the trip until Santiago de Compostela and can return. The Flemish justice Courts (Belgium and Holland) imposed during the Middle Ages as punishment to assignment offenses, the obligation of peregrinating to Santiago. Also the Medicine is more cultivated, since existed multiple hospitals to what is long of the Road. It was seen facilitated also, the redistribution of the wealth, since the clergy procured to hoard material goods in addition to the spiritual, with those attended needs of the pilgrims, giving them gratuitously two nights for sleeping, in addition to the corresponding foods. Short term, this drove to certain roguish that it consisted in which untruthful pilgrim are devoted to travel the Road in both senses and let with them, the sequel of the game, the prostitution, the fraud and the thefts.
The pilgrims, sought in the first centuries routes (that they considered better) to Roman ancient causeways expenses. But, between 1.070 and 1095, the Kings Castilian and of Aragón (Alfonso VI and Sancho Ramírez) fixed the route, that it was raditional during the following centuries: branches of Somport - Jaca and of Roncesvalles -Pamplona, that was joined in Puente la Reina of Navarra, to continue by Estella, Logroño, Nájera, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Belorado and Burgos, Castrojeriz, Carrión de los Condes, Sahagún, León, Astorga, Cebrero, Puerto Marín and Santiago.
In Aragón, the primitive Santiago Road, goes through the Puerto del Palo and Siresa, in those which the documentation of the X century speech about pilgrims. After the reorganization of the Road, in the reign of Sancho Ramírez, the pass was carried to the Somport, where would be built the Monastery -Hostelry of Santa Cristina (1.077) that become the "third hospital" in importance in all the Christianity. The road was following then by Jaca (that it was converted into city at 1.077, with this motive) and Puente la Reina of Aragón, where the tracing was meeting with the one which was decreasing from Siresa and Echo Valley. The routes of Pirineo, were agglutinating the pilgrims originating from Europe that were departing generally in parties and that was concentrated in various points, before crossing the frontier. The most important of these places of meeting were concentrated about Ostabat, in the Bearn (France), from where were undertaken the route of Roncesvalles. Other, was Olorón (France), from where the pilgrims were following the Eastern route that was crossing the Puerto de Somport (in those times, named Puerto de Aspe), where they was waiting lodging in the famous priory of Santa Cristina, one of the greats of the era. The route, was following southward by the valley of the Aragón river; in Candanchú, had again a lodging (ruins of the Castle, near the current Ski Station). The pilgrim goes through Canfranc (where is found the first of the romanesques bridges that stands up), Villanúa and Castiello, arriving little after to the Puente de San Miguel, of beautiful noted arches, for which were entered Jaca, and in which was found all the services that the era can offer.
The Jaca Cathedral was the first great romanesque work of the spaniard peninsula and its peculiar style was spread by the Road of Santiago. Furthermore, the walled Jaca was the capital of Aragón until final of the XII century, when Huesca was reconquered to the Musulmans. As of Jaca, the road were directed Setting continuing the course of the Aragón river by its left border until Puente la Reina (de Jaca) - where was the town of Astorito in that time -; here, the pilgrims could opt for crossing the river to take the route of Berdún-Sigüés-Tiermas or well to follow by Martés-Artieda -Ruesta, to cross the river before Tiermas and to return to be joined the roads, and of this manner to continue by lands of Navarra until Puente la Reina (de Navarra), place in the one which were converging the pilgrims that would come of the Somport with those which were descending of Roncesvalles and thus, they will follow together until Santiago de Compostela. A very used deviation, it was that of Sangüesa.
The pilgrims of Santiago Road were characterized by the use of the venerates and they form in some European population confraternities of Santiago that, at present, yet last. But, in the first times of the peregrinations many travellers were saving the Pirineos by the ancient Roman causeway that was crossing the Puerto del Palo and were descending by the Echo Valley continue the course of the Aragón-Subordán. They would be joined, together with the river, to the route of the river Aragón, that came of the Somport. The spiritual source of this itinerary, was the carolingian monastery of San Pedro de Siresa, by where was happening the pilgrim before arriving to Echo town. This monastery of Siresa, was established in the XI century and it was the spiritual center of the primitive kingdom of Aragón. Upon arriving to Puente la Reina, some pilgrim, from among the most erudite and rich, was diverted from the Road of Santiago to visit the most famous of the monasteries: San Juán de la Peña built under a grandiose rock of the beautiful mountains of the Jaca South. Perhaps, the most famous of these pilgrims has been San Francisco de Asís that in 1.213 wanted to visit the one which was one of the largest historical and religious centers of those critical times for the incipient Christian states, related with the legend of Holy Grail and with the foundation of the Kingdom of Aragón.