Alvaiázere and Ansião on the route of spiritual and religious tourism – Region of Leiria

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Turismo Centro Portugal is banking on spiritual and religious tourism and, as part of this strategy, this Friday 18, signed a protocol with the 12 municipalities of the Centro region crossed by the central route, including Alvaiázere and Ansião.

From south to north, they are: Vila Nova da Barquinha, Tomar, Ferreira do Zêzere, Alvaiázere, Ansião, Penela, Condeixa-a-Nova, Coimbra, Mealhada, Anadia, Águeda and Albergaria-a-Velha. The central route then goes north, until it ends at Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle.

The initiative also includes cooperation with eight municipalities to relaunch the route to Santiago via Portugal Nascente.

“In our strategy, and taking into account the tourist diversity of the Center of Portugal, in 2020 we have added a new vector for the next decade: spiritual tourism and religious tourism. The Caminhos de Santiago already represent an important part of the number of pilgrims ”, declared the president of Tourism of Central Portugal, Pedro Machado.

This official spoke in Vila Velha de Ródão, in the district of Castelo Branco, where he went to sign a cooperation protocol between Turismo Centro Portugal and the municipalities of Belmonte, Castelo Branco, Covilhã, Celorico da Beira, Guarda and Trancoso , which has the objective of certifying and revitalizing Via Portugal Nascente, on the section that connects Vila Velha de Ródão to Celorico da Beira.

The Caminhos de Santiago are an ancient route followed by millions of pilgrims since the beginning of the ninth century, when the tomb of the apostle Saint James was discovered in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia (north of the Spain).

Since then, thousands of people from all over the world have walked the paths that lead to the cathedral to venerate the saint’s relics.

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To underline its tourist importance for the Central region and its evolution over the years, Pedro Machado says that “in 2011, more than 183 thousand people took the path, a number which rose to 347 thousand in 2019”.

Regarding the motivation that drives people to take the Caminhos de Santiago, the head of Turismo Centro Portugal explained that “40% have a religious motivation, 49% have a religious motivation and another, and 11% have no religious motivation “.

“The path is transversal to the different age groups”, he underlined.

Pedro Machado also underlined that the objective of Turismo Centro Portugal is also to create the conditions so that it has two meanings: “That there is also a path descending from Santiago de Compostela to the Center of Portugal” .

The protocol established and signed in Vila Velha de Ródão provides that Turismo Centro Portugal will be the management entity of Via Portugal Nascente and its certification, in the kilometers of 1994 which include the 10 stages between Vila Velha de Ródão and Trancoso.

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