During the spring and summer months, the town of Portomarín is a true melting pot. Here, pilgrims from all over the world sleep, have lunch and enjoy a refreshment. The old and the new Portomarín would be inexplicable if the pilgrimage route did not pass through the entire municipality. When the Codex Calixtinus appeared, towards the middle of the twelfth century, this fundamental bibliographic jewel for the spreading of the St. James’ Way considered Portomarín (Pons Minee) as an obliged way. The bridge of the village was essential for those who wanted to cross over the Miño river.
Towards the middle of the twelfth century, the military and hospital order of St. John of Jerusalem arrived in Portomarín. It had a great importance in the local history, since the "sanjuanistas" belonging to it had a bailiwick allowing them to keep the church and the pilgrims hospital (Domus Dei), enjoying the protection of several kings. The Encomienda of St. John of Portomarín owned properties throughout Galicia.
"(Portomarín) reminds us those holy pilgrims who came to worship the tomb of St. James, like St. Evernaro of Frisa, St. William, St. Theobald, St. Francis of Assisi (who founded the first Spanish convent of the order in Compostela), Santo Dominicus Guzman, St. Elizabeth of Portugal, St. Bridget of Sweden...Cardinals and bishops like those of Bozon, Milan, Mainz, Reims and Burgundy, which was later Pope under the name of the Calixto II ..., Kings and princes, like John of Brienne, Latin Emperor of Byzantium, Charles V, Alfonso the Chaste, the Catholic Monarchs, Philip II, Queen Matilda, Edward II of England ..., Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, known as Cid Campeador, Don John of Austria, the Great Captain ... "
Diego Quiroga y Losada, ABC. 1961
In the Holy Year of 1971, only 451 pilgrims gained the Compostela, the document proving that the Way has been done. In 2010, 30 years later, this figure exceeds 272,000 pilgrims.