Every year, a huge number of people make their way towards Santiago de Compostela, for many different reasons. Yet the St. Jacob’s Way certainly doesn’t just pass through Spain. A number of pilgrimage routes that lead right across Europe are called the “St. Jacob’s Way”. All of them lead to the tomb of the Apostle Jacob in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.
In 1987, the European Council called for the centuries-old, in parts already forgotten European network of paths to be revitalised. Since then, a large number of initiatives have been created, which research the regional routes of the St. Jacob’s Way and erect new signs there.
The route taken by the St. Jacob’s pilgrims from Marburg to Cologne, which has a total length of around 165 kilometres, passes through Westphalia, between Hainchen and Hohenhain for 50 kilometres or so, taking it through the Siegerland region. On the “Haincher Höhe”, the route reaches its highest point, at 550 m above sea level. Pilgrims can choose between the historic long-distance route over the hills or the version that takes them through the towns of Hainchen and Irmgarteichen. Behind Irmgarteichen, the two paths converge again, and continue to Siegen with its two palaces and the Martini church from the 8th/9th century.
Before pilgrims leave Siegerland and head towards Cologne, they pass through Freudenberg – one of the most attractive old towns in Germany. This historic town centre of Freudenberg is also known as the “Alter Flecken”. Packed tightly together, and separated only in part by narrow passages, the historic half-timbered buildings press against each other. So much closeness doesn’t leave much room to spare. And that’s why here, too, there’s only one building with a garden. However, the real Freudenbergers turn this lack of space to their advantage. With the lack of gardens, the residents decorate their small streets all the more beautifully.