María Elvira LEZCANO GONZÁLEZ, University of A Coruña, Spain
The sanctuary of San Andrés de Teixido, located in the northwest of Spain, and the roads that lead to it constitute a tradition present in the unconscious and in the collective practice of the Galician people. In fact, there is still the belief that whoever does not visit this place when alive will do so once dead, perhaps in the form of an animal. Despite the fact that the tradition of reaching the sanctuary on foot is almost lost due to the construction of access roads, there seems to be evidence of some incipient attempts at its recovery.
The aim of this study is, therefore, to show the current situation of the roads leading to Teixido, as well as their tourist and cultural value. The path and its goal possess numerous cultural, ethnographic, landscape, or religious values (Maciñeiras, 1921; Usero, 1992), which make it a significant example of integral heritage worth enjoying and protecting.
Through a qualitative methodology, based on fieldwork and in-depth interviewing, the evolution of the use of this path as a cultural and leisure resource over the past few years is analyzed.
Among the most relevant results of the research, it is worth mentioning the enormous potential of the different routes that access the sanctuary and a recent increase in the interest of the local community. The study also reveals a clear lack of coordination on the part of public administrations, a fact confirmed by other studies (Pérez, Lezcano, Muiño, and Rodríguez, 2021). In view of this, heritage interpretation is proposed as the most valid management tool for the correct use, conservation, and dissemination of an invaluable asset.
Keywords: Walking routes|San Andrés de Teixido|Integral heritage|Heritage interpretation|tourism