(ANSAmed) – NAPLES, OCTOBER 19 – More than 12 million tourists take the Ruta Mariana, an ancient pilgrimage route in the footsteps of the Virgin Mary that starts in Spain, crosses Andorra and reaches France at the foot of the Pyrenees, every year.
The route comes back to life after the lockdown caused by Covid and is one of the most famous for Spanish tourism that includes five of the most famous European Marian shrines starting with the Sanctuary of Pilar in Zaragoza and then crossing to Torreciudad in the city of Huesca Principality of Andorra, where Meritxell is located, and then Barcelona with Montserrat to reach Lourdes. This is where Bernadette Soubirous is said to have appeared in the holy cave, the Virgin with a miraculous water as a gift. Every year over six million people from all over the world come to this place to visit what is considered to be the “symbol” of support and hope.
The route attracts tourists, pilgrims as well as those attracted by the art and landscape surrounding the sanctuaries, such as the Pyrenees, which is home to more than one of these sacred sites, or the Natural Park of Mount Montserrat, where the ‘Moreneta’ was venerated and where the monks preserve culture and art in addition to the cult of Mary.
In the monastery museum you can admire the works of art by Berruguete, el Greco, Caravaggio, Luca Giordano, Tiepolo. The exhibition area consists of six collections with a total of more than 1,300 masterpieces covering a very large period.
La Ruta can be explored in different ways: by train, on foot or by bike, in some areas, starting from one of the five sanctuaries, with individual programs.
There is no closed route, as taking the Ruta does not mean that you have to visit all five sanctuaries at the same time. From Pilar in Saragossa, where thousands of pilgrims arrive to venerate the Madonna who, according to ancient tradition, dates back to 40 AD. The Sanctuary of Torreciudad in the Aragonese region of Ribagorza has also developed over the centuries into a place that hosts thousands of families and groups and has become one of the most visited places in the Aragonese Pyrenees. The sanctuary of Meritxell in Andorra was recently included in the Ruta and recognized a few years ago by Pope Francis as a minor basilica. (ANSAmed).