March 28, 2023

Progress in the certification process for the route from Braga to Santiago

The municipalities of Amares, Braga and Terras de Bouro, in collaboration with three inter-municipalities in the northern region, will start the certification process for the Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieiros (CGA), committing, in this context, to create the infrastructure announced today support needed by pilgrims.

The CGA certification, which was followed by around a thousand people last year, “is important as a route of faith and for economic and cultural development, also being another response to the demand for this type of route that has grown over the last two decades. “, said the mayor of Terras de Bouro, Manuel Tibo, on Saturday, in a meeting with the installation committee of the Caminho da Geira and Arrieiros Cross-border Association (ATCGA).

“The CGA is extremely important” for the municipality of Terras de Bouro “and certainly also for Amares, Braga and Melgaço,” added Manuel Tibo, who said in a statement of the Caminho da Geira and Arrieiros Cross-border Association (ATCGA).

The meeting was also attended by the vice mayor of Braga, Antonio Barroso, and the president of the Union of Parishes of Caldella, Sequeiros and Paranjos (Amares), José Manuel Almeida.

In practice, the councils of Terras de Bouro, Amares and Braga already have a common course in terms of certification, in collaboration with the University of Minho, in the case of the application of Via Nova to the UNESCO Heritage, which has been a National Monument. since 2012 Now, the three municipalities “have a team that will start the process for GGA certification”, along with three inter-municipal communities (CIM) in the Northern Region, said Manuel Tibo.

The CIMs of Ave, Alto Minho and Cávado participate in the Program for the Economic Enhancement of Endogenous Resources (PROVERE), which provides for the allocation of EU funds and to which “the CGA certification project fits perfectly”.

According to the mayor, “there is an anchor between Braga and Santiago de Compostela, which are the two main references” of the CGA, “without detracting any value from the other municipalities”, to which he adds the fact that “it crosses one of the most relevant natural heritages of the Iberian Peninsula and Europe and travel the Via Nova”.

The Municipality of Terras de Bouro plans to install a shelter in Casa de Latin, in Covide. The process “is advanced”, but as Manuel Tibo considers that “it means doing things, but it is articulated between the different actors involved”, it will start working when the necessary conditions are met.

For the Vice-Mayor of Braga, the meeting of the ATCGA installation committee, which was also attended by pilgrims and their representative associations, including the Galician Codeseda Viva and Plataforma Beran no Caminho/ACJMR, as well as the elder brother of the Universal Superior General of the Apostle Santiago, Manuel Rocha, “it shows that we are committed and want to advance the CGA certification process.”

“For Braga and the region, everything that can be done to create attractiveness in the region is important,” Antonio Barroso said, adding that “municipalities are committed to maintenance, the creation of hostels, menu adjustments with restaurants, that is, everything what are the important services for pilgrims”.

During the ATCGA meeting, other issues were discussed, namely “how the association can contribute to the certification of the track by making available and immediately establishing contacts with the entities that conduct the process,” said the representative of the installation committee, Carlos Ferreira.

Photo: DR

“At the same time, the final steps are being taken for the legal formalization of the union, which has already defined its statutes and regulations. Soon the process will be completed and the association, according to Portuguese law, will be open to the participation of individual and collective persons, Portuguese or foreign, committed to the defense of the Camino da Geira and Arrieiros and the Camino de Santiago at a wider level. “, explained Carlos Ferreira.

The Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieiros starts from Braga Cathedral and passes through the municipalities of Amares, Terras de Bouro, Castro Laboreiro and Melgaço, entering Galicia via Portela Homem. In the last six years, it has been visited by more than three thousand pilgrims, a third of whom in 2022. mainly from Portugal and Spain, but also from Italy, England, Germany, Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Brazil, the USA, Australia or the Netherlands.

This route was presented in 2017 in Ribadavia (Galicia) and Braga, recognized by the Church in 2019 and in publications by the association of cross-border municipalities Eixo Atlântico (2020) and Turismo do Porto e Norte de Portugal (2021) and was an official route of European Youth Pilgrimage of the Saint James Year 2021/22.

The route is 240 kilometers long and stands out for including unique cultural heritage sites in the world: the Roman Geira, the best-preserved route of its kind in the world, and the Gerês-Xurés Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. In addition, its route is one of the few five that connect directly to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

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