Spain:Ruta Mariana pilgrim route back to life after lockdown

Five sanctuaries amid art and devotion along path to Pyrenees

19 October, 15:09

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, OCTOBER 19 - Over 12 million tourists a year walk along the Ruta Mariana, an ancient pilgrim route along the traces of the Virgin Mary that starts in Spain, crosses Andorra and reaches France, at the feet of the Pyrenees.

    The route is coming back to life after the lockdown caused by Covid and it is one of the most famous for Spanish tourism that embraces five of the most famous European Marian sanctuaries, starting from the sanctuary of Pilar in Zaragoza, to then touch Torreciudad in the town of Huesca, cross the Principality of Andorra where there is Meritxell and then Barcelona with Montserrat to reach Lourdes. It was in this place that, in the holy cave, the Virgin is believed to have appeared to Bernadette Soubirous with miraculous water as a gift. In this place, each year, over six million people come from all over the world to visit what is considered as a "symbol" of support and hope.

    The itinerary attracts tourists, pilgrims as well as those who are lured by the art and landscape around the sanctuaries, like the Pyrenees that host more than one of these holy sites, or the natural park of the mountain of Montserrat, where the 'Moreneta' was venerated and where the monks, along with taking care of the cult of the Virgin Mary, safeguard culture and art.

    In the museum of the monastery it is possible to admire the artwork of Berruguete, el Greco, Caravaggio, Luca Giordano, Tiepolo. The exhibition space is composed of six collections, for a total of more than 1,300 masterpieces that embrace a very ample period.

    La Ruta can be taken in different ways: by train, on foot or by bike, in some areas, starting from one of the five sanctuaries, organizing personalized programs.

    There is no closed itinerary because taking the Ruta does not mean that the five sanctuaries must all be visited at the same time. From Pilar in Zaragoza, where thousands of pilgrims arrive to venerate the Madonna who, according to ancient tradition, in 40 AD appeared to comfort the apostle Saint James while he was preaching the Gospel along the banks of the Ebro river, leaving a column as testimony. Also the sanctuary of Torreciudad, in the Aragonese region of Ribagorza, over the centuries has become a place welcoming thousands of families and groups, becoming one of the most visited places of Aragonese Pyrenees. The sanctuary of Meritxell in Andorra, was recently included in the Ruta and was recognized a few years ago by Pope Francis as a Minor Basilica. (ANSAmed).

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