Based in Spain since 2006

Nájera to Santo Domingo

Navarrete to Nájera

Day 3

Accommodations: Santo Domingo (B, L, D)

Walking: 22 km / 14 mi

Today we walk from Nájera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and its celebrity chickens. The scenery is much like the previous day’s: a succession of low rolling hills, vineyards and possibly snowcapped mountains in the distance. We are truly walking through wine country!

Santo Domingo de la Calzada is an important stop on the Camino for three reasons. The first is that it is a fun market town with a beautiful historic centre and cathedral. The second is that it became the home of celebrity and pilgrim champion: Saint Dominic. and the third is that it is here where the most famous legend on the whole Camino took place.

The chicken coop inside the cathedral
The chicken coop inside the cathedral

The legend of Santo Domingo

Legend has it that amidst the steady flow of pilgrims journeying from Compostela through Santo Domingo de la Calzada along the Camino de Santiago, a tale of remarkable providence unfolded. Among these travelers was a German couple with their son Hugonell.

During their stay at an inn in Santo Domingo, the innkeeper’s daughter fell for young Hugonell. Spurned by his indifference, she sought revenge. Planting a silver cup in Hugonell’s belongings, she accused him of theft upon their departure, invoking the severe penalties of the time, resulting in his unjust execution by hanging. His grieving parents rushed to the local Governor’s house to plead his innocence, although they were met with disbelief. The skeptical Governor remarked that their son was as alive as the rooster and hen he was preparing to eat. In a moment of divine intervention, the chicken leapt from the plate, bursting into song. Thus, the legend of Santo Domingo de la Calzada was born, immortalized in the famous verse: “Santo Domingo de la Calzada where the chicken sang after roast”. The story has a happy ending as Hugonell was miraculously saved at the gallows by the divine intervention of Saint Dominic or perhaps even Santiago.

In commemoration, a live rooster and hen are housed in the Cathedral year-round, symbolizing the enduring legacy of the miracle. A fragment of the pilgrim’s gallows is preserved in a niche beneath a Romanesque window, a testament to the town’s rich history. Likewise, the Archives of the Cathedral contain documents dating back to 1350, detailing the indulgences granted by 180 Bishops to those who devoutly pay homage to the rooster and hen at the Saint’s tomb.

The chickens at the Fraternity's quarters
The replace chickens at the Fraternity of Santo Domingo
Elevation Profile for the Nájera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada stage on the Camino de Santiago
Elevation Profile for the Nájera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada stage on the Camino de Santiago

Santo Domingo to Villamayor