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In the last post we said that Santiago de Compostela was born as a finish line, although the place that the town occupies had been inhabited since at least one thousand years ago…

We are in the Roman period, in the times of Augustus, who has achieved to complete the conquest of the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. Shortly after that, there is already a road, known as Via XIX, that connects Bracara Augusta (the town of Braga, in the north of Portugal) to Asturica Augusta (Astorga, in the province of León, Spain). For that, the road goes to the north, up to Iria, almost at the mouth of River Ulla, and it turns east there heading Lucus Augusti (the town of Lugo, that still conserves its impressive Roman wall, declared World Heritage in 2000). The road, from there, crosses the eastern mountains of Galicia to reach the north-west corner of the plateau, Astorga town, in the current county of Maragatería, an important communications hub.

It is a little further to the north of Iria, just where the way turns towards east, towards Lucus Augusti, where a mansio presumably 20161012_125752existed, a staging post that was forgotten after the decline of the Roman Empire. It would be better to say that it was used as necropolis and quarry until VII century. It is after four centuries when Asturian monarchs, that want to keep that corner of the Iberian Peninsula under their control, sponsor the presumed discovery of the tomb of one of the apostles, right there, among the remains of that old Roman mansio. It would have reached Iria by sea, on a stone boat, and from there, until Libredon forest by land. In this forest, hermit Pelayo, amazed by a stars rain, would have discovered the sepulcher. What had been a simple stop in the way, where it turned east, became a city, finish line of pilgrimages.

 

 

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