The Museum der Kulturen in Basel (Switzerland) opened its “Pilgrimage” exhibition (September 14 – March 3, 2013) dedicated to the rediscovery of slow travel. People began wandering many centuries ago in search of inner peace, truth and contemplation. The reasons why people should embark on such gruelling endeavours are many and varied, and it seems that religion is not necessarily the prime motive. What all pilgrims have in common, however, is related to a search, in the widest sense of the term.
The fact that journeyers often report a sense of revitalization led Europe curator Dominik Wunderlin to devote an exhibition to the subject: “The subject of pilgrimage is inevitably bound up with the Way of St. James. There are many other paths which lead to a holy place. The exhibition shows that Europe is also interlaced with pilgrimage routes, representing an awe-inspiring heritage. We need to treasure them”, says Wunderlin.
Many roads lead to Rome. The exhibition is not exclusively devoted to the Way of St. James. A starting point is Jerusalem in the Holy Land, which is Europe’s earliest sacred destination. Visitors experience what pilgrims from the Middle Ages would have gone through and their motivation for doing so. At the same, time they see what a modern-day journey involves and what inspires people today to take such a step. The various displays illuminate subjects such as preparation and departure, pilgrim saints, customs, symbols, destinations, arts and crafts and the trades that benefit from pilgrimage, etc. The focal point will be exhibits from the last few centuries, which lure the visitor into a world of beliefs that today appears alien and curious. The exhibition takes an impressive look at the cultural and historical background giving rise to the current resurgence in interest in modern-day pilgrimages. The exhibition continues through March 3, 2013.