Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Blitzer, Sarah (2015). The Last 100 Kilometers: A Values Based Analysis of What the Camino De Santiago Can Teach About How the Built Environment Can Preserve the Human Experience. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


The Camino de Santiago is a medieval pilgrimage route that dates back to the 11th century. Today, pilgrims from all over the world undertake the journey to Santiago de Compostela to share in the experience. To earn a compostela the minimum distance that a pilgrim must walk, established by the Church, is 100-kilometers. It is also the boundary of Galicia. The result is that the long-distance pilgrim is forced to contend with the short-distance pilgrim, the pilgrim that walks the minimum. The mixing of these two populations produces friction, caused by each group’s different valuations of the Camino as a experience. As a nightly, physical point of convergence of pilgrims, the albergues, or hostels, are an opportunity to preserve the Camino experience.This study undertakes a close examination of nine albergues located along the entire route and how those albergues support or undermine the unique qualities of the Camino. The analysis is based on drawings, photographs, and personal observations recorded during a July 2014 pilgrimage. This investigation determined that certain albergues were more successful in preserving the experience than others. The successes were albergues that are small in size and, above all, simple. In offering too many amenities, the albergue resembles a tourist’s hostel and thus undermines what is unique to the Camino. If the recommendations determined here were incorporated into Galicia’s attitude toward its network of albergues the last 100-kilometers of the Camino Santiago be reinforced and preserved for future pilgrims to experience.


cultural capital, carrying capacity, cultural landscape, historic value, social value



Date Posted: 15 June 2015