Spain is a culturally charming and beautiful European country, which people from all over the world are already aware of. Its picturesque landscapes, elaborate festivals and baroque architecture puts Spain at the top of many travel wish lists, but what makes it even more unique and intriguing is the fact that it has been recognized as having some of the most World Heritage Sites as declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in one country.
These locations are deemed to be of great importance to cultural and natural heritage to all mankind across the globe. One such site is the anciently famous Spanish pilgrimage, the route of Santiago de Compostela that is traveled by thousands every year. The entire trail is approximately 500 miles long, and depending on which path a pilgrim chooses to take, they can also visit firsthand these other World Heritage Sites along the way.
In Spain, if you’ve seen one cathedral, you’ve definitely not seen them all. Each one is vastly different and awe-inspiring on its own, and Burgos Cathedral is no exception. Development of the Gothic architecture began in the 13th century and is a real testament to the creativity of the various artisans that worked on the structure. The collection of statues, stained-glass windows, balustrades, towers, alters and many more works of art are magnificent sights to see.
Roman Walls of Lugo
One of the most fascinating things about the Roman Walls of Lugo is that they were built in the third century and are still largely intact today. The defensive walls are noted for being a great example of Roman fortifications with its towers and vaulted gates and now provide a walkway for guests who wish to walk their length.
Las Medulas in the Castile and Leon regions of Northern Spain is a landscape that was used for gold mining by the Romans beginning in the first century. After two centuries of working in this area, it was abandoned but left as evidence of the first signs of Roman technology that involved hydraulic mining and still remains undisturbed today.
Spain’s Basque Country is home to the world’s first transporter bridge built in 1893. It crosses over the Nervion river and is still currently in use, carrying passengers and cargo between the cities of Portugalete and Las Arenas without interfering with ships passing below. The design united artistry with functionality and thus warranted its spot on the World Heritage list.
San Millan Yuso and Suso Monasteries
The two monasteries located in La Rioja were built centuries apart but are both considered to be of significance importance to what we now know as the Spanish language. It was at the Suso monastery where the first Spanish and Basque phrases were ever written down and documented. The monasteries are steeped in history, language and art, creating a real local experience for visitors.
Old Town of Santiago de Compostela
The end of your Spanish pilgrimage will bring you to Santiago de Compostela, where you are sure to be enthralled with the grand cathedral that is said to be the final resting place of St. James. Though this is the ultimate destination for all pilgrims, don’t neglect everything else the old town of Santiago in Galicia has to offer. It was identified as a Heritage city for its many influential religious, architectural and artistic elements.
There will be a lot to take in during the time you spend out on the open road. Make the most of your Spanish pilgrimage by setting aside some time to visit these places that have been regarded important enough to our history to make the World Heritage list.