The Japanese city of Shima has for two decades had a theme park dedicated to Spain, the Shima Spain Village, which represents some of the most emblematic monuments of our country, and among them occupies a prominent place the Camino de Santiago. This entertainment centre tries to reflect the most famous locations in Spain. The attractions have names such as Plaza de Colón, Carabela Santa María, the Pyrenees, Gran Montserrat, the Gaudí carousel or Puerta del Cambrón Theatre where documentaries such as Viva la Blanca Paloma (Long Live the White Dove) are shown on a giant screen.
Next to the shops there are also restaurants such as Mi casa, Gallo, gallina, Alhambra, Torero, Polvorón or Camino de Santiago and shops with names such as Valencia, Marinero, Lladró or Cháchara. The centre has an area of 34 hectares, 28 attractions, 23 restaurants and cafés and 19 shops in the route from santiago to finisterre. The park, which annually receives more than 1.5 million visitors, usually hires a high percentage of Spanish workers for the entire season among dancers, bailaores, waiters and clerks.
A great way to have fun
In fact last September there were several auditions in Spain to hire workers for the park and given the crisis situation the organizers could see how the number of applications doubled.
The company paid for the return trip from Spain, the daily commute to the workplace, a shared furnished dwelling (maximum 3 people) and accident and sickness insurance.
The Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago has all the qualifiers -and also not a few of its antonyms- with which religious and cultural instances, pilgrims, scholars, hermeneutists and others describe it: iconic, historical, cultural, political, religious, secular, Christian, non-denominational, thaumaturgical, initiatory, alchemical, fraternal, healing, tourist, sporting, purifying, socializing, Europeanist, mundialist… Nor do they have more titles: World Heritage, European Cultural Itinerary, Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, even Main Street of Europe …
A route that has been made and transformed over 12 centuries, which has gone through a lethargy of centuries with brief ups and downs, to be reborn just over 30 years ago and maintained since then in what appears to be sustained growth.
This road is today a dense network that extends over the Iberian Peninsula and totals some 14,000 kilometers, kilometer up, kilometer down, of which just over 2,500 have been declared World Heritage: the French Road, in 1993, and the Roads of the North, in 2015. For UNESCO, this latest addition refers to “an extension of the serial cultural property called the Way of Santiago de Compostela, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993. This extension comprises a network of four Christian pilgrimage itineraries – the Coastal Way, the Interior Way of the Basque Country and La Rioja, the Liébana Way and the Primitive Way – which add up to some 1,500 kilometres and cross from side to side the north of the Iberian Peninsula”.
Begoña Cerro, deputy director general of Cooperation with the Autonomous Communities, Ministry of Culture, and secretary of the Jacobean Council, considers that “the Way of St. James, from the cultural point of view, is unparalleled in our country, because in addition to tangible elements – such as the enormous number of monumental and historical sites along its route – it also has a complex immaterial culture that accompanies the history of pilgrimages from their inception, such as art, music, literature … “.
A splendid tailor’s box that accumulates jewels -some of which are World Heritage- pre-Romanesque, Mozarabic, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Plateresque…, including an archaeological site of first magnitude such as Atapuerca.