Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias

San Tirso Church

The Church of Saint Thyrsus (Iglesia de San Tirso) was established in the 790s. Dedicated to Saint Thyrsus, it was built by Tioda, the royal architect of Alfonso II of Asturias. The Great Fire of Oviedo in 1521 and rebuilding in the 18th century removed most of the original church, except for a three-light window. The building has suffered so much from alterations over the centuries and only the general plan has been pre ...
Founded: 790s AD | Location: Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo Cathedral

The Cathedral of San Salvador of Oviedo today displays an array of architectural styles, from Pre-Romanesque to Baroque, including Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance parts. It began as a large Pre-Romanesque basilica in the present location of the Gothic cathedral, but nothing more is known about that first building, built by order of King Alfonso II of Asturias. The cathedral was founded by King Fruela I of Astur ...
Founded: 781 AD | Location: Oviedo, Spain

Cámara Santa

The Holy chamber of Oviedo (Cámara Santa de Oviedo) is a pre-Romanesque church built next to pre-romanesque Tower of San Miguel of the city"s cathedral. Nowadays, the church occupies the angle between the south arm of the cathedral transept and a side of the cloister. It was built during the 9th century as a palace chapel for King Alfonso II of Asturias and the church of San Salvador of Oviedo. Apart from acting ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Oviedo, Spain

Monastery of San Vicente de Oviedo

San Vicente de Oviedo is a church and monastery in Oviedo. Its foundation, in 761, is recorded in a charter known as the Pacto monástico de Oviedo ('Monastic Pact of Oviedo') a copy made in the 12th-century of the original that is dated 25 November 781 and is considered the earliest document on the monarchy of the Kingdom of Asturias. Although doubts exist as to the veracity of this document since the monastery ...
Founded: 761 AD | Location: Oviedo, Spain

Santa María del Naranco Church

The church of St Mary at Mount Naranco is a pre-Romanesque Asturian building on the slope of Mount Naranco. Ramiro I of Asturias ordered it to be built as a royal palace, part of a larger complex that also incorporated the nearby church of San Miguel de Lillo, 100 meters away. The palace was completed in 842 and had in part a religious function, being consecrated in 848. Its character as a civil building changed in the 1 ...
Founded: 848 AD | Location: Oviedo, Spain

La Foncalada

La Foncalada is a fountain of potable water located outside the city walls of Oviedo; it was built by king Alfonso III of Asturias in the 9th century. This building remains the only surviving civil architectural item for public use of the Early Middle Ages. Its name was given after the inscription in Latin: fontem calatam written on it. Built in Pre-Romanesque style, it has been included with other Asturian Pre-Romanesque ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Oviedo, Spain

San Julian de los Prados Church

San Julián de los Prados, also known as Santullano, is a Pre-Ramirense church from the beginning of the 9th century in Oviedo, the capital city of the Principality of Asturias, Spain. It is one of the greatest works of Asturian art and was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998. The church"s construction was ordered by Alfonso II of Asturias and it was built by the court architect Tioda c. 830. It is d ...
Founded: c. 830 AD | Location: Oviedo, Spain

Church of San Salvador de Valdediós

The church of the Holy Savior of Valdediós (Iglesia de San Salvador de Valdediós) stands in the Boides valley (Villaviciosa), the place where Alfonso III of Asturias was detained when he was dispossessed by his sons, and where there used to be an old convent governed by the Benedictine Order, substituted in the 13th century by the Cistercians. The church known as the 'Bishops" Chapel' was consecrated ...
Founded: 893 AD | Location: Villaviciosa, Spain

San Miguel de Lillo Church

St. Michael of Lillo is a Roman Catholic church built on the Naranco mount, near the Church of Santa María del Naranco. It was completed in 842 and it was consecrated by Ramiro I of Asturias and his wife Paterna in the year 848. It was originally dedicated to St. Mary until this worship passed to the nearby palace in the 12th century, leaving this church dedicated to Saint Michael. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Sit ...
Founded: 842 AD | Location: Oviedo, Spain

Church of Santa Cruz de Cangas de Onís

Santa Cruz de Cangas de Onís is a small Roman Catholic chapel in Cangas de Onís, the first capital of the Kingdom of Asturias. It was founded on an artificial mound (a pagan dolmen) by Favila, second king of Asturias, and his queen, Froiliuba. It was begun in 737 and consecrated that same year on 27 October according to its original foundation stone, which has been called the first literary monument of the Reconquista. ...
Founded: 737 AD | Location: Cangas de Onís, Spain

Santa Cristina de Lena Church

St Christine of Lena is an Asturian pre-Romanesque church located in the Lena municipality, on an old Roman road that joined the lands of the plateau with Asturias. The church has a different ground plan to Pre-Romanesque"s traditional basilica. It is a single rectangular space with a barrel vault, with four adjoining structures located in the centre of each facade. The first of these annexes is the typical Asturian ...
Founded: 852 AD | Location: Lena, Spain

Church of Santa María de Bendones

Santa María de Bendones is an Asturian Pre-Romanesque Roman Catholic church situated in Bendones, Spain, build between 792 and 842. The structure is similar to the church of San Julián de los Prados, although the ground plan is not the typical basilica of the Pre-Romanesque churches, but has three enclosures at the western end, the central one as an entrance vestibule and two side areas possibly to house pari ...
Founded: 792-842 AD | Location: Bendones, Spain

Church of San Pedro de Nora

Saint Peter of Nora (Iglesia de San Pedro de Nora) is recorded for the first time in a donation document of Alfonso III of Asturias in 905. Given its similarities with the church of San Julián de los Prados and the church of Santa María de Bendones, it was probably built in the times of Alfonso II of Asturias. Declared National Monument in 1931, the church burnt in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War losing the roo ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Les Regueres, Spain

Church of San Salvador de Priesca

Holy Saviour of Priesca (Iglesia de San Salvador de Priesca) is a pre-romanesque church, located in Priesca, next to Villaviciosa. Only a few kilometres from the Church of San Salvador de Valdediós, it is amongst the latest examples of Asturian architecture. With Alfonso III dead and the kingdom of Asturias divided among his sons, Asturian pre-romanesque architecture entered its last stage. Consecrated on September 24, ...
Founded: 921 AD | Location: Villaviciosa, Spain

Church of San Juan Apóstol y Evangelista

St. John Apostle and Evangelist (Iglesia de San Juan Apóstol y Evangelista) is a Roman Catholic Asturian pre-Romanesque church situated in Santianes de Pravia. The church contains a foundation stone in the form of a letter labyrinth ('Silo Princeps Fecit') that records the 8th-century founding of the church by King Silo of Asturias. The inscription Silo princeps fecit singularly combined in fifteen horizonta ...
Founded: 774-783 AD | Location: Pravia, Spain

Church of Santo Adriano de Tuñón

The Church of Santo Adriano de Tuñón is located on the bank of the River Trubia, next to an old Roman road. Founded on January 24, 891, by Alfonso III of Asturias and his wife Jimena of Navarra as a monastery church, it went through large transformations at the beginnings of the 12th century. It was declared a Spanish national monument in June 1931. The church stands on a classic basilica ground plan, althoug ...
Founded: 891 AD | Location: Tuñón, Spain

Church of Santiago de Gobiendes

Saint James of Gobiendes (Iglesia de Santiago de Gobiendes) is a Roman Catholic pre-romanesque church, located in Gobiendes, next to Colunga. It was built during the reign of Alfonso II of Asturias, its structure is typical of pre-romanesque Asturian architecture. It underwent through an important remodeling in 1853, being further restored in 1946 and in 1983.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Colunga, 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).