Top Historic Sights in Salvatierra, Spain

Explore the historic highlights of Salvatierra

Santa María Church

Located to the north of the town, near the north entrance to Salvatierra, the church of Santa María is a temple-fortress that once formed part of the wall. It was built between the late 15th and early 16th century on top of an earlier church, and has excellent stalls. It belongs to the late Gothic.The core is rectangular, with three naves. The central nave stands out, wider and taller than the rest.The sacristy is from ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Salvatierra, Spain

Sorginetxe Dolmen

Sorginetxe is a funerary monument built around the year 2,500 BC near Salvatierra/Agurain. Here the old ancient inhabitants of the valley, shepherds most of them, used to bury the corpses of their people. It is one of the best preserved megalithic monuments in Euskadi. It consists of five pieces of vertical limestone, some of which reach 2.3 metres. The place was discovered in 1831 and analysed by Mr. J. Apraiz in 1890, ...
Founded: 2500 BCE | Location: Salvatierra, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).