The Way of the Missions is the name of the route that collecting the concept of the Way of Saint James of Compostela will cross 30 cities of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil through the missions that 410 years ago the Jesuits founded to evangelize the Guaraní communities of South America .
The proposal, a pilot plan that combines tourism, culture and religion, was presented this Wednesday at the headquarters of the National Secretariat of Tourism of Paraguay (Senatur) with authorities from some of the points where the route will run, a total of 750 kilometers .
The road will depart from the Paraguayan town of San Ignacio de Guazú, where the first Jesuit mission was founded, and will conclude in the Brazilian cathedral of Santo Ângelo, after having crossed the Argentine territory.
On August 17, the starting signal will be given with the first 30-day walk along a route that transits seven spaces classified as cultural heritage of humanity by Unesco, as explained by Senatur head, Sofia Montiel.
During the first year, the road can only be done through scheduled expeditions although the organization aspires to make the route a destination for tourists during the 365 days of the year.
Imitating the initiative of the Spanish Camino de Santiago, pilgrims will carry a passport in which they will be able to stamp stamps from each of the cities, while upon reaching their destination they will receive a diploma.
Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil have agreed that the Cruz de Caravaca, an icon imported by the religious of the Society of Jesus during the missions across the continent, is the brand image with which the project is identified.
The Way of the Missions will allow the pilgrims to know historical places like the astronomical observatory of San Cosme and San Damián, in Paraguay, which still preserves the stone solar clock, with which the space was studied four centuries ago.
Crossing the Paraná River, new icons appear such as the ruins of the Argentine population of Loreto, which acquired great importance at the time because it had one of the first printing presses in which several books were published in the Guaraní language.
In Brazil, the vestiges of the church of San Miguel, one of the greatest expressions of missionary baroque architecture, represents a mandatory stop to know the passage of the Jesuit congregation through the country.
"It is a route with a lot of history, magic and mysticism," the Secretary of Culture of San Ignacio de Guazú, Carlos Bedoya, said Wednesday in the official presentation of the road.
Bedoya explained that the initiative allows an existing route to be valued, which the Jesuits inaugurated at a time when the borders of the South American countries had not yet been defined.
"When you start reviewing historical documents, it catches your attention that accommodations, posts, security were planned," he said.
For its part, the head of Tourism acknowledged that the initiative is the result of a "process worked at the Mercosur level that is paying off today."
Although a specific budget item has not been allocated for its implementation, Montiel valued the investments that have been made in the last decade to revitalize the cities that are part of the route.
. (tagsToTranslate) Road (t) Jesuitico (t) Paraguay (t) Argentina (t) Brazil