El Primitive Way It is the oldest pilgrimage route that goes to Santiago de Compostela.
Millennial route traveled by Alfonso II El Casto, when he was warned by the Bishop of Iria Flavia, Teodomiro, that a pilgrim from the area, called Paio, had found the ruins of a primitive burial, where the remains of the Apostle Santiago were found. fact that occurred in the 820th century (about the year 830-XNUMX)
This first Royal visit, constituted the pillars of creation of this route, consolidating an entire infrastructure, along it, to attend to the pilgrims who traveled it, among them, San Francisco de Asís, in the year 1214.
Road from Oviedo to Lugo
Origin of the first Camino de Santiago - Kilometer Zero
Starting in Oviedo, the city where the Capital of the Kingdom of León was located, and passing through the walled city of Lugo, in the town of Melide it finally joins the French Way, from where they converge in a single Way to Santiago de Compostela.
Once the Court moved to Lion, This Way, little by little, ceased to be the main route traveled by pilgrims in the early days, becoming the French Way, which crosses this city, the preferred route traveled by pilgrims today.
However, this Way was not abandoned at all, in fact many pilgrims from the French Way deviate to travel the route from León to Oviedo, which is known as Route of the Savior, to prostrate at the feet of Salvador, which is in the Oviedo Cathedral, as well as to venerate the relics found in its Holy Chamber. The importance of it is reflected in the following saying: "Who goes to Santiago and does not go to Salvador, honors the servant and leaves the Lord"
The Camino de Santiago has aroused all kinds of emotions for several centuries. Of course, Christian faith and devotion come first. However, over time, it has also become a symbol of spirituality, self-improvement and physical prowess because of the long journey it refers to.
However, what is often overlooked is the very origin of the Camino de Santiago. Justly, the starting point of the first cultural itinerary throughout the European continent took place in Oviedo (Primitive Way). Thanks were given to King Alfonso II, El Casto and here we will talk a little about it.
the first pilgrim
As you know, there are several Jacobean routes that are currently available, both in Spain and from different parts of Europe. This brings with it that thousands of pilgrims are encouraged every year to take the tour. Regardless of the causes, this is a life-changing experience.
The first pilgrim was Alfonso II himself. In the year 834, Bishop Teodomiro notified him about the discovery of the tomb of the Apostle Santiago. then, the monarch undertook the tour, having as starting point the Cathedral of San Salvador, in Oviedo.
Zero kilometer of the Camino de Santiago
We know very well that the zero kilometer of Spain, where all the roads in the world start, are in Madrid, specifically in the Puerta del Sol. However, when it comes to looking for the kilometer 0 of the Camino de Santiago, we must refer to the San Salvador Cathedral.
As you may have deduced, that journey that Alfonso II made at the time brought him something more than the title of being the first pilgrim. In addition, he brought about the official point of origin of the Camino de Santiago. Not only of the primitive path (hence its name), but of all.
The Camino Primitivo has a total of 313 kilometers of distance divided into 14 stages. However, we must say that it is not exactly the most popular, since this place is occupied by the French Way. What we can assure you is that it enjoys beautiful landscapes, much more wild.
After the first pilgrimage
It is no secret that the monarch was a faithful devotee. After visiting the tomb of the Apostle, this also meant a kind of departure from the Camino de Santiago as such. His adventure served to increase the cult of Santiago.
At the end of his pilgrimage and once in Compostela, Alfonso II ordered the construction of a church dedicated to the saint, the first, In addition, financed the construction of the monastery of San Paio in Antealtares. We all know the result. To this day, the original layout of this Jacobean route is maintained.
Itinerary of the Primitive Way
The Primitive Way travels, mainly in its central part, through mid-mountain terrain, with constant ups and downs, along trails, forest tracks, many of them muddy, where the main difficulty is found in the stage from pola de allande a table, with the Port of the stick as witness, with an altitude of 1146 meters.
We must also take into consideration the time of year in which we are going to do it, due to the climate of the area, so the months from May to September are recommended for its realization. For this reason, we advise that it not be your first Camino if you are not adequately prepared physically.
However, despite this hardness, we can categorically affirm that it is one of the most beautiful and attractive routes of all the Caminos de Santiago, giving us spectacular landscapes, simple and "authentic" people, as well as numerous small villages with slate roofs. and stone with which we are going to find in our walk.
In the same way, it presents another important attraction, as it is that we will not find ourselves with the "possible overcrowding" that may exist on other paths, especially in the central months of summer.
My first Primitive Camino de Santiago
If you are going to do your first Camino, with any of the agencies of the Camino de Santiago, and you want to have a first contact with the route, not having much time, there is a great majority of pilgrims who finish in Santiago de Compostela, start their journey in Lugo.
In this initiatory path, its duration is approximately one week. After a first experience, it is very likely that the Camino will "hook you" as well as thousands and thousands of people from all over the world who, year after year, are waiting for the date to return, since it is already part of their " lifestyle"
If you carry out, on foot, this Way you will obtain “The Compostela”, which is the Certificate that will be given to you at the Pilgrim Service Office in Santiago de Compostela and that certifies that you have carried out, at least, the last 100 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago. What would it be, for example, if you made the popular Way from Sarria to Santiago. If you do the Camino by bicycle, you must have traveled at least the last 200 km. The Camino that would coincide with the city of Berducedo or Pola de Allande.
The main cities through which the Camino Primitivo passes
Highlights of the route
As we have already told you, the Camino Primitivo begins in Oviedo, the capital of Asturias, specifically at the cathedral. From this point, it continues through the west of the Principality, crossing some beautiful towns such as Salas, Grado, Pola de Allende or Trineo, just to mention a few.
In this case, the entrance to Galicia is through A Fonsagrada, which is part of Lugo, separated from Asturias by Acebo, a beautiful mountainous area. In fact, this section is one of the hardest stages for pilgrims on the entire route.
Without place to doubts Lugo is one of the most outstanding points of the route. The city's history and heritage make stopping here a must. Its origin in Roman times is still visible and you will see it at various points of interest.
You can start the Camino anywhere you decide on the route. The sections outlined below are for informational purposes only, and any stage or section can be modified as you wish, adapting them to your personal needs or requests.
👣 Section Oviedo – Lugo (209 Kms) 👣
Oviedo – Grado – Salas – Tineo – Pola de Allande – Grandas de Salime- A Fonsagrada – Cadavo Baleira and Lugo.
👣 Section Lugo – Santiago (105 Kms) 👣
Lugo – San Román de Retorta – Melide – Arzua – O Pedrouzo and Santiago de Compostela.
Is the Primitive Way difficult?
One of the most demanding routes
Apart from being the oldest, the Camino Primitivo is also known for being one of the most demanding or hard pilgrim routes. In most cases, the stages alternate ascents and steep descents, many of them in the middle of trails and mud roads, very typical of the mountains and inland.
Of course here too there is a large accommodation infrastructure. These, added to the beauty of the landscape, make pilgrims opt for this very particular route.
On the other hand, as a point in favor of this layout, its good signage stands out. In addition, for a good part of the journey, pilgrims cross through landscapes full of different shades of green, far away from traffic. Here the days are filled with nature and typical mountain villages, where time seems to have stopped.
For pilgrims who go by bike, this may not be the most appropriate route. In addition to being quite demanding and with somewhat rough terrain, there are hardly any appropriate routes for this modality.
In 2015, the Camino Primitivo was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, next to the Camino del Norte. This is to give you an idea of its historical and cultural importance.
The shortcut of San Salvador
Few know it, but the Camino Primitivo has a small variant where Oviedo continues to be the protagonist, but this time, as a destination. This is the Way of San Salvador, where León is linked to the capital of the Principality of Asturias through the Cantabrian mountain range.
The origin of this route, according to what has been verified in documents found, dates back to medieval times. Many pilgrims, upon arriving in León, chose to deviate from the path that would take them to Santiago de Compostela, to visit the relics of the old Cathedral of San Salvador.
Once there, they resumed their pilgrimage through the Camino Primitivo. Since then, there is a saying that still holds true these days, especially for devotees who decide to use both routes. He says that "Whoever goes to Santiago and not to San Salvador, visits the servant, but not the lord."