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Saint Jean Pied de Port, the appointment of the walkers

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This peaceful village of 1,500 inhabitants, in the French Pyrenees is the home of the famous route of religious pilgrimage, which began in the middle ages, going to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, which is the Camino de Santiago, skirting important Catholic shrines in a journey of 800 km. Is believed to found the remains of the Apostle James in Santiago de Compostela. clip_image010
Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port means San Juan at the foot of the port in Spanish, because in the Pyrenees a "port" is a passage between the mountains. Its foundation dates from the 12th century by the Crown of Navarre, and is located at the foot of the passage of Cize, that crosses the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, where pilgrims make a break, in Spain, in the Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles, famous Gothic church from the 13th century.
Hikers coming from all parts of the world, make it by train from Bayonne, located 55 km from here. Bayonne is connected to the city of Biarritz, which has airport. With Spain, is reachable by modern routes, for those who could not reach walking weather, or by the "French way", which is higher, climbing by Mountain Heights up to 1,300 m, where snow stays almost throughout the year.
clip_image011Along this road are 8 hours of walking, that really worth the imposing landscapes, and which are the same that visited Charlemagne, the Roman troops and the soldiers of Napoleon. Here live the Basque culture of the two sides of the border, playing pelota, popular Bayonne ham, eats the sheep cheese and the Irouleguy wine.
Within the region are peoples of great architectural beauty as Saint Etienne de Baigorry, Ergaray Valley, the most mountainous, where access to the Selva de Irati, shared between France and Spain. When it crosses, pilgrims must take into account that there are times where the temperature drops to 20 degrees below zero, so there is to do well in that season is going.
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Every step of the city we find the last Warrior, in four bastions and ramparts, the Citadelle, the Citadel military were built on a hill, dating from 1625, and buildings that are an example of the architecture military French at that time. These walls located nearly 70 metres dominate all over the place.
This place changed owners several times by conflicts in Spain, France or the religious wars, and was a military garrison until 1920, which became today, a school. Nearby are the remains of Saint Jean le Vieux, which was the original village destroyed by Richard the Lionheart.
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On the Rue de la Citadelle, we find the ancient Basque stone houses Pink and grey, and on his forehead is the name of the family to which he belonged, the year in construo and profession that its owner had. The same dating from 1510 until 1866. 41 Rue de la Citadelle is "prison of the bishops" was where a prison where you see the cells of the monks and a large room that is now a Museum, where the story of the Camino de Santiago.
Also at the Rue of the Citadelle is the Church Notre Dame du Bout du Pont, and the Rue d´Espagne, towards the River Nive, can see houses with wooden balconies. The most emblematic postcard of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is the old bridge next to the Church of Notre Dame.
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Vía: visitandoelmundo

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