The Way to Saint James crosses the province of Burgos from east to west, from Redecilla del Camino to Puente Fitero (Itero del Castillo). This journey of 112 kilometres through Burgos lands is made every year by pilgrims of very different nationalities.
The number of walkers increases during the Compostela Holy Years, that is, every time that July 25, the feast of Santiago Apostol, falls on a Sunday. This occurs with a regular cadence of 6-5-6-11 years.
As they pass through our province, the pilgrim discovers landscapes that invite meditation, rivers and sources of crystalline waters, as well as splendid monuments: emblematic hospitals, cosy hermitages, grandiose monasteries and impressive temples.
Redecilla del Camino
It is the first town on the Camino in our province after leaving Rioja lands. In the Codex Calixtinus she is mentioned as Radicella. It has several emblazoned buildings, a jurisdictional scroll, a fountain decorated with Jacobean motifs and inside its parish temple, dedicated to Our Lady of La Calle, we find a beautiful baptismal font from the 12th century.
The town has a late-Gothic church dedicated to Saint Peter, where the remains of Don Francisco Delgado, bishop of Jaén and Lugo and, later, archbishop in Burgos, rest.
In its urban area we find the baroque hermitage of Sainte Mary “del Campo” and the ruins of the Berberana palace.
Viloria de Rioja
It is known for being the birthplace of one of the most important saints on the Way to Saint James, Saint Dominic de la Calzada, patron saint of civil engineering.
In its church the font baptismal where the saint received his first sacrament is preserved.
Villamayor del Rio
Its parish church is dedicated to Saint Gilles, the life of this saint was an example for medieval pilgrims for his virtues and miracles.
It is mentioned in the Calixtinus Codex as Belforatus, translating its name as “beautiful hole”, alluding to the abundance of hermit caves in the place.
Of Roman origin, it was repopulated by King Alphonse I “El Batallador” who granted it city charters in the year 1116.
Upon entering Belorado, we find the hermitage of Our Lady of Belen, a construction that in other times was the Hospital of” los Caballeros”.
We can see the remains of its castle, one of the most important fortresses of the Middle Ages due to its strategic location.
It has three magnificent churches, that of Saint Nicholas, which is the oldest in the town, that of Saint Peter from the 17th century, located in the Main Square, the Renaissance church of Sainte Mary, from the 16th century, that keeps a beautiful image of the Virgin that dates back to the 13th century and a stone altarpiece dedicated to the Apostle Saint James.
Near a newly built bridge, over which the pilgrims leave Belorado, is the Canto bridge over the Tirón river, the construction of which is attributed to Saint John of Ortega.
Its spectacular hermitage excavated in the rock under the invocation of the Virgin of la Peña stands out.
The church in this town dates from the 17th century and is dedicated to Saint Stephen. In this place two buildings that were shelters of pilgrims are conserved.
Espinosa del Camino
Its houses are one of the greatest examples of rural popular architecture in the area.
Villafranca Montes de Oca
Four kilometres before reaching this town, the tomb of the Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos, founder of the city of Burgos in 884, remain in the ruined apse of the old Monastery of Saint Felices.
Villafranca is one of the most important enclaves of the Camino de Santiago, named in Roman times as Auca Autrigona, it was later an episcopal seat, from Visigoth times until the year 1075 when the diocese moved to Burgos.
Inside its church, dedicated to Saint James, a shell brought from the Philippines is preserved, being the biggest shell on the entire Way to Saint James.
Its toponymy reminds that it was a place inhabited mostly by Franks, people from beyond the Pyrenees who came here on pilgrimage and who ended up settling in this place.
The Royal Hospital de Saint Anthony Abbot, founded in 1380 by Queen Juana Manuel, wife of Henry II, was recognized as one of the most welcoming and generous with pilgrims.
In the vicinity of this town is the hermitage of the Virgin of Oca, where you can visit the well of Saint Indalecio, a beautiful natural site. In the same place where the saint was martyred, water gushes from a fountain in the shape of a clover.
San Juan de Ortega
After the Montes de Oca, you arrive at the Monastery dedicated to Saint John of Ortega, disciple of Saint Dominic of la Calzada, and, like his teacher, builder of hospitals, roads and bridges that would facilitate the transit of pilgrims.
The church is dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Bari, according to tradition, when Saint John of Ortega returned from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the boat in which he was traveling was about to suffer a shipwreck, for which he begged the intercession of Saint Nicholas, saint who carried a relic, who saved him from such a hard trance. Putting the church under his dedication was a form of gratitude.
A few years after the death of the saint and so that the place does not become a ruin and continue to carry out its function, the Bishop of Burgos Pablo de Santa María will donate it to the religious order of Saint Jerome.
Inside the church every year the so-called “Miracle of Light” takes place on the spring and autumn equinoxes. At five o’clock in the afternoon, solar time, through a pointed window facing west, a ray of the sun penetrates, illuminating a capital with scenes from the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Dream of Saint Joseph, the Birth, the Announcement to the Shepherds and the Adoration of three Wise Men.
The remains of the Saint rest in a modest grave in the crypt.
In addition to the church, two cloisters are noteworthy, one Gothic, which is in the Rectoral House, and the other Baroque.
Beautiful example of traditional architecture, with half-timbered houses and plastered with mortar. Its current church is from the Renaissance period, built in the same place as a temple from a previous period in which, according to tradition, García of Navarra was buried in 1054, this king lost his life in the famous battle of Atapuerca.
The construction of the bridge over the River Vena, at the exit of the town, is attributed to Saint John of Ortega.
Atapuerca has become internationally known for having found the oldest human remains in all of Europe in this town. The Atapuerca sites, which are bringing so many surprises until now, were declared a World Heritage Site in 2000 and they are a reference in the study of human evolution worldwide.
Burgos has magnificent churches around the route of the Camino de Santiago as it passes through the city: Sainte Mary “la Real and Antigua” of Gamonal, Saint Lesmes, Saint Gilles, Saint Stephen, Saint Nicholas, Saint Peter of la Fuente …, as well as one of the largest and most beautiful cathedrals in Spain.
Burgos Cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984 and inside it preserves chapels from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Also noteworthy are the dome, built by Juan de Vallejo, the Golden Staircase by Diego de Siloé and the Chapel of the Constables, among others. On the outside, the façades of the Sarmental, Pellejería and Coronería are noteworthy, as well as the magnificent spiers of the towers on the main façade, made by Juan de Colonia.
Burgos also has important monasteries such as the Cartuja de Miraflores or Sainte Mary Royal of Huelgas.
Throughout the centuries the city has given a great welcome to pilgrims, with numerous hospitals that gave them accommodation in past centuries, the most important of which was the Hospital of the King, founded by Alphonse VIII, currently the headquarters of the Rectorate of the University of Burgos.
Its parish church is dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, an invocation quite widespread by the churches of the Camino
Its origin dates back at least to Roman times, being one of the enclaves of the road that linked the Roman towns of Julióbriga and Clunia.
There is documentation on the location in Tardajos of an old pilgrim hospital. In 1182, the Countess Doña Mayor ceded the rights to the pilgrimage reception facility to the diocese of Burgos.
Its church of the Assumption of Our Lady stands out, located in the centre of town on a high ground.
Rabé de las Calzadas
Its toponymy refers to the crossing of Roman roads. In the town we find several emblazoned houses, the church dedicated to Sainte Marina and a hermitage dedicated to Our Lady of the Monastery.
Hornillos del Camino
Typical town with a street-path perfectly aligned from east to west. Perhaps the most symptomatic example as a Jacobean population is the past existence of a hospital for pilgrims that was also used as a lazaretto. It was ordered to found in 1156 by King Alphonse VII who gave it, together with the population, to the monks of Saint Dennis of Paris. Later, a Benedictine monastery dependent on the French from Rocamador was founded. The church of Sainte Mary stands out from the rest of the buildings. Until not so long ago, an image of the Virgin of Rocamador was preserved inside, alluding to its connection with the neighbouring country.
Arroyo de San Bol
The San Bol Valley is an enigmatic place, surrounded by mystery, since the unexpected abandonment of the village by its inhabitants in 1503, possibly due to an epidemic, that has forged endless legends.
It preserves vestiges of the Old Convent of Saint Baudilio that depended on that of the Antonian monks of Castrojeriz and that, later, came to depend on the monasteries of Oña and Cardeña.
Its name comes from a fountain (fontana) and it has a 14th century temple dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.
Among its buildings, one stands out called “Hospital de los Franceses”, as neighbours call it, that is the ancient hospital of Saint John.
Convent of Saint Anton
It was founded by Alphonse VII in 1146, under the dedication of Saint Anthony from Egypt. Since its foundation the convent was linked to the attention of the pilgrims. The Antonian monks, with their dedication, contributed to magnify the prestige of the enclosure. They cured “Sacer Ignis”, a kind of infectious gangrene. It appeared on the skin with a layer of watery bladders that produced an extremely painful burning and stinging, becoming fatal. Its cause, today fully catalogued, is the “Cláviceps Purpúrea” fungus, which causes the alteration of the grain until it becomes the so-called “Ergot of Rye”. They were also expert healers of what is known as “Swine Fever”. For this reason, Saint Anton is represented in his iconography with fire or with a pig at his side.
Castrojeriz has its origin at the top of the hill, on which the castle sits, from which it receives the nickname of Castro. Excavations at the top of it have revealed its occupation from the Bronze Age, about 1,500 years BC, until the Middle Ages.
It is one of the enclaves with the greatest cultural and artistic wealth on the Camino de Santiago, which crosses the town longitudinally for more than 1500 meters, which makes it one of the longest urban crossings on the Jacobean route.
The town is declared a Historic Site and among its Assets of Cultural Interest is the Castle, the House called “The fort”, the Tower, the Church of Saint John, the Church of Saint Dominic, the Collegiate Church of Our Lady del Manzano and the Monastery of Sainte Claire.
Itero del Castillo
It is the last town on the road to Saint James in the province of Burgos. The defensive tower that dominates the town, the Hermitage of Saint Nicholas and the Fítero bridge from the 11th century, over the Pisuerga river, built at the request of Alfonso VI, stand out.