On the network of paths of a 1000-year-old cultural route through UNESCO model regions
In the Middle Ages, countless people created a network of paths to Santiago de Compostela with their collective search for encounter and salvation of souls, thus shaping the cultural-historical roots of Europe. Today, testimonies to the architectural culture of the Middle Ages along the paths remind us of the special spirituality of those pilgrims. We would like to make these cultural monuments visible and invite you to hike and pause.
Follow the lines of movement of the pilgrims and sense the special spirit that reverberates in the medieval building culture along the way to the present day. Alongside the stone “witnesses” discover what connects times, people and cultures and holds Europe together at its core.
If you look closely, you can discover waymarks in certain places along the routes of our project space: scallop shell stones and in the Saarpfalz-
They distinguish the pilgrimage routes from other routes, give them their very special character. Over time, the waymarkers will acquire a patina, perhaps even perish. But they will remain visible as long as people value, preserve and care for them.
The waymarkers highlight the reference to the “vanished” medieval paths of the pilgrims of St. James and the evidence of architectural culture from that time that is still visible today. Symbolically, these floor works refer to different themes: Once to the name Starry Path, in use since the Middle Ages, which is a synonym already in use since the emergence of the Camino de Santiago, especially in Spain. They also reflect the ancient amazement of people in the face of the starry sky and its interpretation as a guide to Santiago de Compostela. In addition, the symbol of the apostle James and all pilgrims of St. James, the scallop shell, is taken up.
Very resilient casts of original scallops from Galicia form the central signpost: the scallop stones. Under the auspices of the Saarbrücken Regional Association, they are made by young people from the Zentrum für Bildung und Beruf Saar gGmbH in Burbach (ZBB) as part of qualification measures and attached to stelae. So far, you can discover over 350 of these stones in the project room.
In order to get to know the places of medieval architectural culture in the project area and to plan individual tours on the network of paths of the St. James pilgrims between these places, we offer an interactive map with brief art-historical information on the cultural monuments, on which the path signs are also listed. The contact details of the local tourist contacts are also available via the respective info popup of a place.
Poetic images and thoughts - so-called “ThinkingPictures” - are installed at various points along the Starry Path. They form another level of understanding of the project and want to open perspectives from a different angle. The pictures arise in each case from the spirit or the theme of a particular detail of one of the recorded medieval buildings along the way.
In an artistic and poetic way, the impulses of the place give rise to an interpretation related to the present. The visitors and pilgrims are invited to sense an inner connection between the times and living spaces, which can be thought further.
Full of value on the road
Pilgrimage has always stood for “far-away-ness” and for the desire to engage with the world with empathy for foreign cultures. This special way of being on the road goes hand in hand with leaving everyday life with all its constraints and burdens behind for a while. The encounter with the foreign promotes the willingness to take a self-critical look at the patterns of one’s own habits of thought and action. Those who open themselves on the way to reflecting on their own values in the mirror of the society in which we live and to exchanging them with others not only gain inner strength and courage to face life, but also the motivation to help shape reality.
We have compiled a selection of socially relevant values that are important in the discourse of European society for an ethically sustainable worldview of a modern and humanistic Europe. They reflect the social, spiritual and cultural foundation of Europe and are intended to provide impetus and guidance. As “spiritual luggage”, these value concepts can be creatively reflected upon on a pilgrimage hike or during a pause and contribute to a new self-understanding of social cohesion and jointly lived basic European values.
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