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2960 km from 'dragon play park' to Santiago de Compostela
Stromnetz Berlin designs Germany's first Way of St. James transformer station
Why jet off on holiday from Brandenburg Airport when the Way of St. James starts virtually on your doorstep? The opening of the first Way of St. James transformer station was celebrated today at the 'dragon play park' on Sembritzkistraße in the Steglitz district of Berlin. The opening of the transformer station – which was designed by artist Mario Winkler – was attended by Frank Mückisch, city councillor for education, culture sport and social affairs for the district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Claudia Rathfux, authorised officer and head of customer and market relations at Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, and Jörg Steinert from the executive committee of Jakobusgesellschaft Brandenburg-Oderregion e.V.
Back at the start of the summer holidays, Stromnetz Berlin planned to install multiple junction boxes marking the Way of St. James – the famous route taken by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela – in Tempelhof-Schöneberg and Steglitz-Zehlendorf. The kilometres were also to be marked on the boxes. Berlin's distribution system operator has now installed its first transformer station designed with Way of St. James motifs. As Claudia Rathfux states, "The newly designed transformer station represents our efforts to give the Berlin section of the Way of St. James an eye-catching boost. We're pleased to be able to help further improve the visibility of this pilgrim's route in our city, and hope we will find more support around Berlin for marking the Way of St. James in this way.
From the dragon play park in Steglitz-Zehlendorf, it is another 2,960 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims setting off from there would take around three months to complete the journey on foot.
The Council of Europe has spent more than 30 years building up solidarity in the form of cultural routes spanning different countries – the first of which was the Way of St. James in 1987. As a result, pilgrim's paths are becoming increasingly well signposted in Germany. Berlin typically didn't mark the routes. That was, until December 2019, when the Tempelhof-Schöneberg district council led by Jörg Steinert decided to signpost the Berlin section of the Camino de Santiago (the Via Imperii). This political decision was warmly received by Jakobusgesellschaft Brandenburg-Oderregion e.V.
In 2019, 347,578 pilgrims from 190 countries travelled to Santiago. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the related avoidance of foreign travel, many more people have taken to the Way of St. James routes in Germany this year.