Way of the Stars

A European cultural symbol makes its mark

The Way of the Stars stands for the concept of nature-based and networking cultural tourism in the European Greater Region of Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Lorraine. It initiates a new hiking culture. Signposts made of stone scallops, ornaments made of field stones and stars refer to medieval cultural monuments and the old St. James' paths that once led through this landscape. The project was developed in the Regional Association Saarbrücken and realized with the support of qualification measures for people seeking employment across borders with many committed partners.

information Project

Film contribution to the project

The idea

Between 2006 and 2010, a unique project was realized along the rediscovered St. James routes. With the support of official partners and the population, waymarkers were created between Speyer, Saarbrücken/Sarreguemines and Metz as part of qualification measures, which refer to the great tradition of the cult of St. James. These are scallop shell stones, path ornaments made of field stones and star symbols carved in stone.

Sternensymbole

These waymarkers are committed to the tourist network idea: On the one hand, the project links the entire region in terms of cultural tourism, and on the other hand, the signposts draw attention to important cultural monuments, the cultural history of the landscape and the cult of St. James.

The waymarks

Scallop stones

Symbolically, these waymarks refer to various historical aspects.

Jakobsmuschelstein

On the entire route from Speyer via Saarbrücken to Metz (networking zone), reference is made to the symbol of St. James the Apostle and all pilgrims of St. James, the scallop shell. Scallop shell stones, made by hand according to Galician models, were embedded in the ground at certain points. They have a symbolic function: they refer to interesting medieval monuments along the regional Way of St. James or mark viewpoints in the landscape and remind us of the pilgrims of St. James, who already in the Middle Ages were on their way through this region to Santiago de Compostela.

Path ornaments from field stones

At selected points on the Hornbach - Saarbrücken/Spicheren and Hornbach - Sarreguemines routes (core zone of the project), "path ornaments" made of field stones recall the tradition of ancient path fortifications. These sunken paths were already artfully "embroidered" by hand in Roman times.

Feldweg mit Wegornament

Left: Path ornament near Herbitzheim. Here the sunken path was "lifted" in a small segment, i.e. faithfully restored. Right: Böckweiler village entrance band made of shell limestone.

Stars

The stars allude to the name "Way of the Stars" in use since the Middle Ages, which was already in use as a synonym for the Way of St. James, especially in Spain. The ancient amazement of people in the face of the starry sky and its interpretation as a signpost to Santiago de Compostela is thus recalled.

Reconstructed star motifs, which refer to depictions of stars in the medieval monuments of the region, are embedded in a decorative band of fieldstones laid across the path on the right-hand side in front of each village entrance (only in the core zone of the project) and welcome passing pilgrims.

Sterne

The philosophy

Cultural tourism close to nature or the cautious traveling from place to place

The philosophy of the project is based on the characteristics of nature-based cultural tourism: nature-inspired, carefully designed wayside signs become the mediators of sometimes undiscovered sights. A nature-oriented cultural tourism neither interferes with the landscape nor changes it in the long term.

The waymarkers establish a link with the old Camino de Santiago routes, which also passed through the local regions, thus contributing to the preservation of historic routes. They offer a point of orientation and perhaps also a stimulus for all those who want to engage with all their senses with their homeland or the landscape in which they are currently traveling, and thereby ultimately also come closer to themselves.

Frau sitzt mit Hund neben einem Wegestein und schaut auf die Landschaft hinab

The project room

The route axis from the imperial cathedral of Speyer via Hornbach Monastery, Saarbrücken/Sarreguemines to the cathedral in Metz was already of great importance for pilgrims of St. James in the Middle Ages. The rediscovered routes wind through the region like a red thread.

Karte Projektraum

Saarland core zone

The core zone of the project "Sternenweg/Chemin des étoiles" is formed by the two Saarland routes of the Way of St. James from the starting point of the monastery town of Hornbach in the Palatinate via the Saarland southern route to Sarreguemines in France as well as on the Saarland northern route to Saarbrücken to the state border at Spicheren. In this project space there are stone scallops, path ornaments and star symbols embedded on the pilgrimage path.

Networking with the Palatinate and with Lorraine

In a second phase, the project was also extended to the neighboring regions of Palatinate and Lorraine in order to give impetus to tourism in the entire Greater Region and to promote the growing together of the region.

Folding map

A folding map was published especially for the project, inviting people to explore and discover the waymarkers and their secrets along the paths of the pilgrims of St. James in the greater region of Palatinate, Saarland and Lorraine.

In this publication, all trail signs are shown on the symbolically marked trail routes. The associated background information is conveyed with texts and impressive pictures. In addition, there is general information and tourist contacts on the Way of St. James on the route axis from Speyer, Saarbrücken/Sarreguemines to Metz.

Faltkarte Sternenweg

available Saarland Tourist Office, Saarpfalz-Touristik, Pfalz-Touristik and the St. Jakobus-Gesellschaft Rheinland-Pfalz-Saarland, among others.

Leaflet about the Way of St. James in the Palatinate

Further information from Pfalz.Touristik e.V.

The "Starry Path/Chemin des étoiles" project is a model for a new hiking culture. Sensory path signs remind us to take the time to discover the cultural landscape and the myth of the "Way of St. James" and to process what we have experienced. The decelerating pilgrimage from place to place creates time and space for reflection. Curiosity and a spirit of discovery are just as much a part of it as openness to the little things along the way that are often overlooked. All 162 scallop stones are successively recorded with GPS.

Illustrated book

"Poetic" documentation of a model project along the European paths of the pilgrims of St. James in parts of the Saarland, the Palatinate, Lorraine and Alsace.

Sternenweg

A picture book for pilgrimage with the eyes and exciting background information. Format 245 x 290 mm, 504 pages, hardcover, French abstracts. Price: 25,- € (plus shipping costs)

Source of supply

Tourist Information in Saarbrücken Castle
Castle Square 1-15
66119 Saarbrücken
Tel. 0049 681 / 506-6006
touristinfo@rvsbr.de

More information

An accompanying website accompanies the documentation and, in addition to cultural tourism information and an interactive map, provides individual route planning for pilgrimages and searching for traces on the "Starry Path": www.sternenweg.net

Lectures and readings are available upon request. Contact: peter.lupp@rvsbr.de