Transdanube Travel Stories - Saint Martin of Tours Route


Let us introduce a cultural route participating in our project: the Via Sancti Martini  

One of Europe’s most popular saints, Saint Martin (AD 316/317 – 397), was born in the Roman town Savaria in Pannonia, today Szombathely in Hungary, and died in Tours in modern-day France. Saint Martin of Tours has been a part of Europe's collective memory since the fourth century and symbolises the universal value of sharing.


Saint Martin’s whole life was spent in the spirit of love, mercy, humility and courage, and by the time of his death as bishop of Tours in France, he had already been worshipped as a thaumaturgic saint. His spirit is very much “alive” today: he is known and respected greatly in Austria, Slovakia, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, and in of Croatia. He is a historical figure, “a European hero of folklore and legend”.



Photo: Via Sancti Martini ©

After 1989, Saint Martin’s cult has been revived in Hungarian cultural public life - thanks to local civil activities and he is now a town symbol again, including local authorities, municipal institutions and civil non-governmental organisations. Based on international cooperation effiorts, the Council of Europe passed a decision in 2005 about European Cultural Route between Tours and Szombathely that links many locations which were part of the life of Saint Martin. This long stretch of cultural trail covers more than 5,000 kms across Europe and bears the name Via Sancti Martini. Overall, the Saint Martin route connects more than 10 European countries.

Photo: Via Sancti Martini ©

Towns and regions participating in this cultural route offer to rediscover an important, long-forgotten cultural heritage. All the sites have their own monuments (e.g. temples, monuments, memorial places etc.) as well as intangible cultural heritage (legends, local traditions, folklore), which are still  - or again - very much alive. Saint Martin’s legacy means a transnational connection between inhabitants of diffrent regions and local communities in Europe and it helps to recreate the values of the cultural heritage of Saint Martin.  The most important message for the 21th century we can draw from the life of Saint Martin is the appreciation of common values, and thus, sharing thoughts, and challenges in an European community context.

Very much in line with his legacy, the heritage of Sain Martin has been the topic of several European cross-border and transnational co-operation projects.

The following video created within the NewPilgrimAge project (INTERREG CENTRAL PROGRAMME) shows a few hidden cultural treasures in Szombathely city and its surroundings - we even meet a real pilgrim along the way:


CLICK HERE and watch the video!




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Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)