monte gozo

Monte do Gozo

In the Middle Ages and centuries past, walking the Camino de Santiago was a feat full of dangers, to the point that the pilgrims themselves made a will before their departure in case they did not make it back.

In this context, we can understand the joy (gozo in Spanish) that these pilgrims felt when they finally caught sight of the Cathedral of Santiago. Such was the joy that the mountain from which the end of this adventure was first sighted came to be known as such.

Today we talk about Monte do Gozo, an emblematic place on the Camino de Santiago.

Monte do Gozo: the beginning of the end of the Camino

Only 5 kms from Santiago de Compostela is Monte do Gozo, a hill of about 380 metres high from which the Cathedral can be seen. Leaving the village of San Marcos behind, pilgrims reach this mountain after passing the chapel of the same name.

Mount do Gozo is a place full of symbolism for the Camino de Santiago. Formerly, because it was the first point on the Camino from which pilgrims could glimpse the city of Compostela and, above all, the Cathedral.

More recently, in 1989, the main events of the World Youth Meeting took place on this same hill, with Pope John Paul II as the protagonist. This event managed to give the Camino de Santiago a lot of publicity at an international level, as it brought together more than 100,000 people, as well as having its visibility in the media.

What can we see in Monte do Gozo?

In homage to Pope John Paul II and this 1989 youth congregation, a memorial was installed on Monte do Gozo, made of ceramic, steel and stone by the Brazilian artist Yolanda d’Augsburg. This monument, however, was recently removed by the Xunta de Galicia, claiming its irreversible deterioration.

However, the most characteristic monument of Monte do Gozo (at least for walkers) is probably the one added in 1992 by the Galician sculptor José María Acuña: a bronze representation of two pilgrims first catching sight of the Cathedral on the horizon.

Nowadays, Monte do Gozo is a local recreational area where music festivals, concerts and other events take place. In addition to an open-air auditorium and public swimming pools, there is room for the John Paul II European Pilgrimage Centre, a camping area and a couple of hostels with the capacity to accommodate more than 800 pilgrims and visitors.

Why is it called Monte do Gozo?

Mention of Monte do Gozo appears in the Codex Calixtinus, around the 12th century. At this time, as recorded in these documents, it was called Mons Gaudii, and became known to pilgrims coming from France as Mont Joie.

This name seems to be due to the joy and happiness felt by the pilgrims on reaching this mountain, since after long days of walking, they could finally catch a glimpse of the Cathedral.

Encouraged after finally seeing the goal of their long walk, many of these pilgrims continued the remaining 5 kilometres barefoot. Those who travelled on horseback dismounted to continue to the Cathedral on foot.

Hostels in Monte do Gozo

On Monte do Gozo you will find two hostels designed for pilgrims. One of them is the public hostel of the Xunta de Galicia, and the other is a private hostel, where in addition to bunk beds you will have private and family rooms at your disposal if you need more privacy.

Pilgrims’ Hostel of the Xunta de Galicia

The price of a bunk bed in this hostel is 8€ and no reservations are allowed, as is the case in all public hostels. It is also essential to show your pilgrim’s credential.

This hostel is divided into pavilions along the Monte do Gozo and offers a wide range of facilities, such as washing machine and dryer (at extra cost), heating, hot showers, kitchen, dining room, coffee and soft drinks vending machines.

Hostel Monte do Gozo

If you opt for this private hostel, the lowest price for a bunk bed in this accommodation is 15€ in a shared room for up to 8 people. This includes bed linen and a wardrobe to store your belongings. Another option is to treat yourself before conquering Santiago de Compostela and stay in a private room. You can enjoy total privacy with a private bathroom or flat-screen TV, among other additional services.

As it is a private hostel, you can book your bed in advance and thus ensure your stay even when there is a large influx of pilgrims. Keep in mind that in addition to being the last stage of the French Way, the most popular of them all, pilgrims coming from the Camino del Norte and the Camino Primitivo will also pass through Monte do Gozo.

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