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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » December 30, 2010
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Way of St. James
December 30, 2010   
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Visitors to the Silesian Museum in Katowice are welcomed by scallop shells placed on stone poles that form a symbolic Way of St. James leading to a new exhibition entitled Pilgrimage Routes of Silesians. From Mount St. Anne to Santiago de Compostela.

The Way of St. James, as the traditional pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain is called, dates back over a millennium, and is one of the most important Christian pilgrimage routes. Apart their spiritual dimension, pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela enabled the pilgrims to meet new people and come into contact with new traditions, regions and cultures.

German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe once wrote, “Ways of St. James shaped Europe,” which shows just how important a role these pilgrimages have played in Europe.

For almost 1,000 years, the way to the tomb of St. James has been marked by scallop shells. Many pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela were from Silesia. Testimonies of Silesia’s rich pilgrimage traditions shown at the exhibition include a large collection of printed materials, prayer books and souvenirs brought from pilgrimages, which together show how strong pilgrimage traditions have been in this part of Poland and Europe.

Mirela Hein
Silesian Museum, Katowice, 3 W. Korfantego Ave. www.muzeumslaskie.pl; open through Feb. 27
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