The Spiritual Heart of Old Europe Aches

Plaza de la Quintana at night, in Santiago de Compostela. (Anxo Iglesias/Turismo de Santiago)
A melancholy silence cloaks this town in northwestern Spain, where the pandemic has knocked a traditional pilgrimage off course.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE A few days ago, I arrived at Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain. This is where the tomb of the Apostle St. James the Greater lies. Every time July 25 falls on a Sunday, Catholics celebrate their Jacobean Holy Year. And that is precisely what happens in 2021. I’ve been on pilgrimage here before, and by now, the Camino de Santiago that crosses Europe would normally be packed with pilgrims from all over the world. This year, however, I find closed hostels, bars with the shutters down, and a shuddering silence that hangs over the World Heritage Site that is

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