Can retracing the path of one of the world’s most revered prophets help sow the seeds of peace and economic prosperity for communities in the Middle East? This is the question that Harvard professor William Ury sought to answer when, in 2004, he established the Abraham Path Initiative. Abraham was the exemplar of hospitality and preached kindness to strangers. The story of Abraham, or Ibrahim, is one of the most well known and revered by followers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Indeed, it is through Abraham that these followers trace their ancestry and from the stories of his travels through the Middle East that many continue to find inspiration today. For Ury, these stories provided a particular kind of inspiration that saw the potential for finding common ground, and common ancestry, in the face of conflicts that have sought to tear the region apart. Thus was born the Abraham Path.
by Amanda Wagstaff, Hut2Hut Pilgrimage Editor
March 22th-29th, 2016 is Pilgrim Paths Week in Ireland. This national event, which takes place simultaneously at various pilgrimage sites, first started on Easter Saturday 2014 in an effort to revive interest in Ireland’s ancient pilgrim paths. It’s been growing ever since. Not only do many Irish citizens walk these paths, but many foreign visitors, including myself, have been attracted to these ancient pathways, many of which date from prehistory.
Check out these pictures of a form of vernacular architecture for pilgrims! My acupuncturist friend Kazuhiro Watase returns to Japan every year for a pilgrimage walk. Turning 60 this year he is treating himself to three walks! Knowing of my interest in huts and shelters he kindly sent me photographs of some of the very simple shelters along the Shikoku Pilgrimage, where most pilgrims stay in one of the 88 temples visited on the walk, or in local guest houses. On his next walk he will send pictures of the temples and guest houses.
These simple shelters are for those looking for free places for resting and sleeping The are mostly open-air shelters. Most do not have running water, mattresses, or other amenities, but are perfect for backpackers. The shelters are cared for by locals and other pilgrims.