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A pilgrimage is the journey route that pilgrims on a pilgrimage to travel to the destination - usually a sacred place - to arrive.

All major religions in the world know pilgrimage routes and places of pilgrimage. These places can be localities such as Jerusalem , Rome , Santiago de Compostela , Lourdes , Einsiedeln , but also certain points in a landscape such as a mountain, a spring, a well, a cave or a sanctuary. On the way there are stops where prayers can be said or services can be celebrated.


In the Middle Ages there were three main places of pilgrimage for Christendom : Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela. The big pilgrimage sites arose at the (supposed) graves of important apostles. The most famous Christian pilgrimage route today is that to Santiago de Compostela , the Camino de Santiago . Another very old pilgrimage route, the Via Francigena , leads from Canterbury via France and Switzerland to Rome . These ways are also connected with Jerusalem ( Jerusalem way ). Individual sections of the route can be viewed as both a Way of St. James and a pilgrimage to another place. Together with the various access routes, these main routes form a network of old pilgrimage routes that runs through all of Europe . Today there are Jacob societies in almost all European countries that look after the research and maintenance of the Camino de Santiago. In Germany , the historical pilgrimage routes are researched by the German St. James Society . In Switzerland it is the Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago .

Since Christians always see themselves as “on the way”, parish and diocesan development concepts are often referred to as “pilgrimage”. A famous such pilgrimage is the so-called Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth of the Taizé Ecumenical Fellowship . The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hanover also developed a project called the Loccum – Volkenroda pilgrimage route . In 1987, during the Olof Palme Peace March, a pilgrimage of several days from the Ravensbrück concentration camp to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp was carried out at the suggestion of the Atonement Action . The route was reminiscent of the death marches of concentration camp prisoners in 1945.

An important Islamic pilgrimage leads from Mecca to Medina , see Hajj .

Junrei is a name for Buddhist pilgrimage routes in Japan , Kora is the name for Tibetan pilgrimage routes. The most important shamanic pilgrimage in Nepal takes place during the monsoon season ("sauna") to the Kali Shiva sanctuary on the Kalinchok ( 3810  m ).

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