Every pilgrim has a main reason for starting out on the Camino de Santiago, a personal will that leads him or her to make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Most of them, as a souvenir and as a guarantee of having completed the pilgrimage, want to take home the certificate that proves that they have completed the pilgrimage. This, as you know, is called Compostela, but it is not the only one of the documents that exist in the different pilgrim routes. In this article we are going to know the main pilgrim certificates that exist in the Jacobean routes of Spain.

Certification of the pilgrimage

When the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela began, from the 9th century onwards, the figure of the pilgrim took on a certain importance and an attempt was made to protect him as a faithful believer who tried to redeem himself by visiting the relics of the apostle St. James the Greater. Travel in medieval Europe was a bit dangerous, but pilgrimage, with its religious motivation, was protected by the Church and the theocentric society of the time.

The figure of the pilgrim is thus that of a sinner seeking to redeem himself, and was therefore very much protected in the Middle Ages.

Not only was the pilgrim protected by the building of hospitals, bridges and other infrastructures that facilitated his journey, but he was also given security, for example with the creation of the Order of the Temple, the “police” of the medieval pilgrim.

In addition, when they reached Compostela, they continued to Finisterre to visit the holy places and get a scallop shell, as this would serve as proof of having visited the tomb of St. James and the lands where he preached. Even later on, these shells could be found in the same Jacobean city, in the current Concheiros Street (the name says it all).