The Association “Friends of the Way of Saint James” of the Valencian Community, is a non-profit association that, honoring what its Statutes say, has promoted and promotes the diffusion of the Jacobean phenomenon by making known what the Way of Saint James meant throughout History and what it means today: a meeting point for people of all ideologies and creeds.
Throughout the year, the Association keeps an information office open at its headquarters where it attends to all those people who feel attracted by the Way of Saint James, an office where the pilgrim’s Credential is also handed out to all those who have thought of living this adventure.
The Association gives talks to interested groups, investigates the Jacobean phenomenon beyond the French Way and cares for and protects, as far as possible, the Way from Valencia to Santiago, also known as the Levante Way.
Most important milestones in the History of the Association
The Association “Amigos del Camino de Santiago” of the Valencian Community was constituted in Valencia on July 7, 1987 and was registered in the Register of Associations on October 13, 1987 with the number 3.327. The Association “Amigos del Camino de Santiago” of the Valencian Community was constituted in Valencia on July 7, 1987 and was registered in the Register of Associations on October 13, 1987 with the number 3.327. On 28 December 1994 it was registered in the Register of Entities for the Promotion of the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela of the Xunta de Galicia, with number 25.
Its first important action was its presence in the I Forum of Jaca in 1987, with its presentation ” Camino de estrellas “.
In June 1988, we signed the Constitution of the Coordinadora de Asociaciones del Camino de Santiago, in the town of Frómista (Palencia).
In 1991, we presented the lecture ‘El Camino de Levante, otra ruta hacia Compostela’ at the First International Congress ‘Camino de Santiago Vía de la Plata’, celebrated in Zamora.
In 1992 The Association organised the Annual Assembly of the Coordinadora de Asociaciones del Camino de Santiago, which took place in the Salón Real del Real Monasterio de Santa María de El Puig (Valencia). In this assembly the agreement was taken to constitute itself in National Federation of Associations, whose Constitution Act would be signed in Carrión de los Condes (Palencia). As an association, its representatives walked from Seville to Santiago de Compostela in support of the recognition of the Via de la Plata as the Camino de Santiago.
In 1993, we presented the lecture ‘Los caminos a Santiago en el Reino de Valencia’ at the Third International Congress of Jacobean Associations celebrated in Oviedo.
Between 1993 and 1996 it was responsible for the care and hospitality of the pilgrim hostel of Frómista (Palencia).
In 1996 we presented the conference “Presence of pilgrims in the General Hospital of Valencia in the XVI century” at the IV International Congress of Jacobean Associations held in Carrión de los Condes (Palencia). Also in 1996 we edited the book “Los Caminos de Santiago en Valencia ayer y hoy. I. The Camino de Levante”.
In 1997 we participated with our advice in the recording of the first documentary about the Camino de Valencia a Santiago en la Comunidad Valenciana, by Trivisión.
The FIRST International Short Story Award “Vieiragrino” is announced biannually.
In 1998 it organized the First International Congress of Pilgrims. In the same year it collaborated with the Consellería de Medi Ambient in the marking of the Via Augusta, València-La Font de la Figuera.
In 1999, he was awarded the “Elías Valiña” Prize for his work in the recovery and promotion of the Way of Saint James. He took part in the Second European Meeting on Roman Roads in the Mediterranean with the presentation ‘La Vía Augusta, Camino de Santiago’. He also edited the “Topoguide of the Way from Valencia to Santiago” and ” The Acts” of the First International Congress of Pilgrims.
In 2004, it edited ‘Guía De Valencia a Santiago, otra ruta a Compostela’, a book that was awarded the seventh edition of the Bancaja-UPV Prize for the mapping project and the honourable title of ‘Libro de interés Turístico Nacional’. That same year we also published the book “Presencia de peregrinos en el Hospital General de Valencia en el s XVI (1543-1601)”, a book that gathers the research carried out in the Archives of the mentioned hospital.
In 2005, he carried out the second edition of “Guía De Valencia a Santiago, otra ruta a Compostela”.
In 2007, with the sponsorship of the ‘Dirección Xeral de Turismo’ of the Xunta de Galicia and the Xerencia del Plan Xacobeo, it organised the project ‘La Traslatio literaria y xacobea’, a pilgrimage by sea from Valencia to Santiago.
In 2008 it promoted the permanent signposting of the Levante Way and obtained its pre-homologation as a long-distance path “Camino de Santiago de Levante GR-239”.
In 2009, we were granted by the Federation of Mountain and Climbing Sports of the Valencian Community the certificate of homologation of the road to Valencia as GR 239 CAMINO DE SANTIAGO DE LEVANTE. Also the Federation of Mountain Sports of Castilla La Mancha, the Federation of Mountaineering Madrileña and the Federation of Mountain Sports, Climbing and Trekking of Castilla y León have granted us the pre-approval of the road as GR.
The General Assembly of the Federation of Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria between 27 and 29 March, agreed to approve the request of the Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago de la Comunidad Valenciana for the next International Congress of Jacobean Associations to be held in Valencia in 2011. In this concession it was taken into account that the Association was developing a magnificent work in favor of the Roads to Santiago, mainly the Levante.
In 2010 a good part of the Camino de Santiago de Levante was marked as GR 239: in the province of Albacete, in the municipalities of Almansa, Bonete, Higueruela, Hoya Gonzalo and Chinchilla, with the collaboration of the Asociación Desarrollo Comarca Monte Ibérico Corredor de Almansa, the whole province of Toledo (El Toboso, Quintanar de la Orden, Puebla de Almoradiel, Villa de D., etc.). Fadrique, Villacañas, Tembleque, Mora, Almonacid de Toledo, Nambroca, Burguillos de Toledo, Cobisa, Toledo, Rielves, Barcience, Torrijos, Santo Domingo Caudilla, Maqueda, Escalona and Almorox) with the collaboration of the Toledo Provincial Council. In the province of Madrid, the municipality of San Martín de Valdeiglesias, with the collaboration of Proder Sierra Oeste de Madrid.
In 2011 part of the Camino de Santiago de Levante was signposted as GR 239: municipal district of Nava del Rey (Valladolid). In 2011, the IX International Congress of Jacobean Associations “The Mediterranean at the Origin” was also held.
It has received for the second time the Bancaja-UPV Award in its XIV edition to the project Camino de Santiago de Levante GR-239.
In 2012 the Association celebrated its XXV Anniversary with various activities, including the publication of the Acts of the IX International Congress of the Spanish Federation of Jacobean Associations “The Mediterranean in the Origin” and the minting and presentation of the official Medal of the Association.
In 2013 the Association met in Ávila with other existing associations in the Camino de Levante in order to work together. In June we were granted the homologation of the Camino de Santiago de Levante, GR-239, also as an equestrian way, the first way to Santiago homologated as such IE-016. A new edition of the Guide, Camino de Santiago de Levante, GR-239, was edited and the book INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORTS AWARD “VIEIRAGRINO” was published. Valencia April 2013, which were presented throughout the year. In September, the new edition of the guide was published in Spanish, “Camino de Santiago de Levante GR-239”.
With the collaboration of the A-A.C.S. C.V. and American Pilgrims on the Camimo, together with the Castronuño City Council, at the end of this year the municipal pilgrim hostel was inaugurated in Castronuño (Valladolid).
In 2014, the Association collaborated with the Association of Parkinson’s patients in the preparation of their pilgrimage to Santiago, also giving them the “credentials” in a joint act with Archbishop Carlos Osoro.
It edited the book of poems with the title “ANGROIS”, dedicated to the neighbors of this district of Santiago for their generosity in the accident of the Alvia train.
In 2015 we collaborated with the Association of anticoagulated and dialysis patients, with the ONCE and with schools in the Valencian Community and Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago. It participated in the Fairway Santiago Fair with the presentation of three papers.
In 2016 it continued with the signalling of the Way of Santiago de Levante, both as the Camino de Santiago and GR-239 in the Provinces of Ávila, Valladolid and Zamora in Castilla y León and Albacete and Cuenca in Castilla-La Mancha.
In 2017 it signalled the Way of Santiago de Levante GR-239 with the company QF Turismo active in the region of La Costera, with a subsidy from the Diputación de Valencia. We changed our address. Signposting in Castilla y León with the collaboration of American Pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago de Levante GR239 with the homologated signs of a long-distance path and signposting of the road. We continue to collaborate with schools and other entities. We celebrated in Valencia the XVII Meeting of Jacobean associations, with concert of the group Lluís Vic Vocalis with the music “A largo del Camino”
During 2018, the Association has signalled the Levante Way in the itinerary within the city of Valencia. The signposting consisted of incrusting on the sidewalks a metal plate (brass) with the scallop, less aggressive to the eye within the historic center of the city of Valencia than the placement of a ceramic with scallop, more in line with the citizen environment and more visible to the pilgrim, because it will be placed at their feet and in front, with the aim of identifying the path to follow, in the same way as other cities, such as Leon, Oviedo, Vitoria or Brussels. With the placement of the metal tiles on the route (about 4 km), pilgrims will not get lost in the crossroads of the streets and at the junctions of the new rounds of the city roads. The visual impact will be gratifying not only for the pilgrims but also for the citizens who walk along this same road. The beneficiaries will be above all the increasing number of foreign pilgrims who will be able to follow the route in complete safety without having to ask the passers-by. We have counted on the collaboration of Valencia City Council, to correct all building permits and Heritage.
We have added new signposting of the Camino de Santiago from Valencia in Galicia and the Province of Cuenca. In addition, through the years the Cultural Weeks, the thematic exhibitions, the conferences, the concerts, the edition of books, the Vieiragrino Prize is maintained, investigating ways and archives, treading paths, finding vestiges all the times that the pilgrim steps crossed the Communities that crosses this way.