A Sanctuary in the Ruta Mariana
Meritxell and Ruta Mariana: brother sanctuaries
The Sanctuary of Meritxell is part of Ruta Mariana (Marian Route).Route formed by five sanctuaries that are important centers of Marian devotion: El Pillar (Zaragoza), Torreciudad (Huesca), Lourdes (France), Montserrat (Barcelona) and Meritxell (Principality of Andorra). Speaking of Ruta Mariana is speaking of an itinerary of faith, spirituality and Marian devotion. It is an itinerary that goes across beautiful places. The religious way that links the sanctuaries leaves an exceptional cultural, artistic and natural patrimony. So , whoever travels the Ruta Mariana has the opportunity to get to know an attractive tourist and religious destination that contains many attractions. What Ruta Mariana suggests includes a religious and spiritual side, as well as other side that is more earthly that shows the tourist, natural and cultural part of the route.
Route Mariana welcomes more than 12 million visitors, between pilgrims and travelers. One of the objectives of these sanctuaries is making everything easier for the visitor, even if the visitor is not a pilgrim or a devotee. Another objective is boosting the knowledge of the religious complex and its surroundings. This means understanding and getting to know the Ruta Mariana as global and unitary destination.
The visitors that come only as tourist see themselves attracted by the artistic, architectonic and natural beauty that can be found in and around the five sanctuaries. The pilgrim / believer, arrives with religious objectives to find God and to find themselves. Many people that arrive as a tourist end up leaving as pilgrims.
The Mariana devotion has always been there. Due to that and from long time back, men and women have been moving from one place to another on pilgrimage. The goal of these pilgrimages to different sanctuaries was to venerate and thank Virgin Mary. Alone or with company, with family or friends, as group or as part of a romeria, any form of travelling is welcome. In many countries of Europe and South America, this type of tourism is very developed and the religious pilgrimages and trips are part of the daily life. Nowadays we can affirm that this type of trips, or the denominated Religious Tourism, is a growing value.
The Religious Tourism mixes culture and devotion, art and spirituality, nature and meditation. Pilgrims and tourist agree that this type of religious tourism is a new way of experience and gain knowledge.
Obviously, the constant progress in communications, new developments in means of transportation, together with new forms in which sanctuaries present themselves, adapting to the current needs, have influenced in this grouth. The religious destinations are ready not only to receive pilgrims and devotees , but also to visitors who love discovering the tourist side.
Ruta Mariana tries to evolve adapting to the new times. Its five sanctuaries, each one with their own characteristics, have been mutating little by little in tourist destinations that attract every year thousands of people. Now, with the Sanctuary of Meritxell in Andorra fully integrated, we can say that we are before one of the great Marian destination of pilgrimage in the world.
Although it is certain that the traveler can take many different ways to cross the route, the sanctuaries and the love to the Virgin are what gives sense and value to the route itself. The essence and the meaning of each temple, together with the cultural, artistic and natural patrimony make Route Mariana an experience full of emotions and experiences.