The Jacobean Council takes steps to have Xacobeo 2021 declared an event of exceptional public interest

  • The Jacobean Council Executive Committee met today in the Galician capital to move forward on agreements and initiatives jointly coordinated by the central government and the various autonomous communities through which the historic routes of the Way of St. James run
  • These include a training project for secondary students intended to promote knowledge of the cultural heritage associated with the pilgrimage and a travelling exhibition with geolocalized photographs from the different routes

Santiago de Compostela, 23 October 2017

The Jacobean Council Executive Committee met today in Santiago de Compostela to move forward on several agreements and initiatives jointly organized by the central government and the autonomous communities. The meeting was chaired by Óscar Sáenz de Santamaría, director-general for Cultural Industries and the Book, which is part of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. Key decisions adopted included presenting to the plenary meeting the proposal to declare Xacobeo 2021 an event of exceptional public interest for the purpose of applying various tax breaks. In addition, a group will be created to coordinate celebrations for the upcoming Holy Year.

Meeting attendees included representatives of four ministries (Public Works; Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda; the Presidency and Territorial Administrations; and Education, Culture and Sport) as well as members of several autonomous communities: Galicia, Asturias, La Rioja, Aragón and Castilla y León. The Xunta de Galicia was represented by Turismo de Galicia Director Nava Castro; the director-general for Cultural Heritage, María Carmen Martínez; and Xacobeo Manager Rafael Sánchez.

The Jacobean Council Executive Committee also decided to launch two new projects associated with the cultural heritage of the Way of St. James, both intended to promote outreach and societal involvement. The first campaign is known as Your Way of St. James, our common heritage, a training and artistic creation plan for Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO) students. The goal of this proposal, which will be open to teenagers aged 12 to 16, is to motivate them to reflect on the importance of preserving our heritage. More information can be found online at tucaminodesantiagoconcurso.es.

Digital map and signage

The other initiative, known as Target: Camino, will form part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 celebrations. This is a travelling exhibition of geolocalized images from the pilgrimage route which have been shared, together with their GPS coordinates, on the website objetivocamino.es. Professional education organizations that teach photography will be invited to participate, with the goal of promoting our cultural heritage as a source of inspiration for contemporary artistic creation, while also supporting the professional development of young photographers.

This meeting of the Jacobean Council Executive Committee was held as the headquarters of the Economic and Social Council of Galicia (CES). The group also moved forward on preparing content relating to the main heritage assets of the Way of St. James for publication on a new interactive digital map of the route, created in collaboration with the National Geographic Institute. Resolutions were also adopted regarding recommendations for signage for pilgrims.

Way of St. James and Europe Seminar

The meeting of the Jacobean Council Executive Committee is part of the commemorative programme put together by Turismo de Galicia on the 30th anniversary of the declaration of the Way of St. James as the first European Cultural Route, which took place on 23 October 1987. In fact, the opening ceremony for the seminar Way of St. James and Europe was held prior to the start of this meeting. The event was organized by the Way of St. James and Pilgrimages Department at the University of Santiago, in collaboration with the Compostela Group of Universities.

Nava Castro took part in the ceremony, where she stated that ‘we now recall one of our most universal symbols, those which best represent what identifies us’. The Turismo director went on to state: ‘Debate and the exchange of ideas will play a very important role in this commemoration. Just as we do at the end of each stage of the pilgrimage route, it is advisable to pause for analysis and thought, to recap the kilometres already travelled and so tackle the next stretch.’

Today’s programme continued with the official event chaired by the president of the Xunta, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, and a concert by Amancio Prada at Santiago Cathedral. The seminar will continue tomorrow, a day which will also include the presentation ceremony for the 2017 Camino de Santiago Awards and a meeting of the Technical Committee of the European Federation of Saint James Way.