Cover image for Sacred tracks : 2000 years of Christian pilgrimage
Sacred tracks : 2000 years of Christian pilgrimage
Harpur, James.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley : University of California Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
192 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BV5067 .H37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Ever since the Magi trekked from the East to witness the birth of Jesus, pilgrims have undertaken long and often dangerous journeys to seek out holy Christian places. Sacred Tracks tells the two-thousand-year-old story of Christian pilgrimage and the saints and pilgrims, shrines and cathedrals, relics and practices of a tradition that is still flourishing today.

Drawing on contemporary accounts and a wealth of illustration, Sacred Tracks captures the atmosphere of pilgrimage through the ages. Divided into three sections--"Early Paths," "Medieval Roads," and "Modern Ways"--the book describes every aspect of pilgrimage past and present, from the practicalities of setting out to the difficult conditions of travel, to the great sites, such as Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela, and Canterbury. The book looks at the pilgrims themselves, from St. Brendan, who is said to have cast himself adrift, letting God guide his search for a paradisal holy island, to the penitents, cure seekers, and adventurers who in the Middle Ages set out for the unknown in their millions.

In recent times pilgrimage has recaptured the popular imagination. For the increasing numbers who each year follow in the footsteps of their medieval forbears, Sacred Tracks describes the popular places of contemporary pilgrimage, such as Lourdes, Fatima, Walsingham, and Knock. Seven new and revived pilgrimages are described in detail, while a gazetteer provides information about a further seven in Europe, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Entertaining, colorful, and informative, this book is both a fascinating history of Christian pilgrimage and the perfect traveling companion for the pilgrim of today.

Author Notes

James Harpur is an editor and writer of adult and children's illustrated titles. His books include Revelations: The Medieval World, The Atlas of Sacred Places, The Miracles of Jesus, Abraham and His Sons, and The Journeys of Paul. His children's books include Pyramids and The Eyewitness Visual Dictionary of Ancient Civilizations. His latest book of poetry is Oracle Bones.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. 6
Introductionp. 8
Early Paths
Beginningsp. 16
The Age of Constantinep. 24
Dark Age Journeysp. 34
Decline and Revivalp. 48
Medieval Roads
The New Millenniump. 58
Pilgrimage and the Afterlifep. 62
On the Roadp. 73
Romep. 90
Santiago de Compostelap. 99
Canterburyp. 107
Jerusalem and the Holy Landp. 115
Changing Attitudesp. 122
Modern Ways
From Reformation to Romanticismp. 130
Lourdesp. 142
Knockp. 148
Croagh Patrickp. 155
Fatimap. 158
Walsinghamp. 164
Ionap. 169
Taizep. 175
Epiloguep. 180
Gazetteerp. 182
Chimayo (United States)
Czestochowa (Poland)
Garabandal (Spain)
Lough Derg (Ireland)
Medjugorje (Bosnia)
Our Lady of Guadelupe (Mexico)
Sainte Anne de Beaupre, Canada
Select Bibliographyp. 186
Indexp. 188
Acknowledgmentsp. 192