San Julian de los Prados Church

Oviedo, Spain

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 dedicated to the martyred Egyptian saints Julian and Basilissa.

The spacious church clearly displays the characteristics of its style. It is of basilican plan with a nave and two aisles separated by square piers which support semi-circular arches and with a transept of impressive height. The iconostasis, that separates the sanctuary from the rest of the church is remarkably similar in appearance to a triumphal arch. The size and originality of the church stands out and distinguishes it from works of Visigothic art. However, without doubt, that which most attracts attention to this church is the pictorial decoration, with aniconic frescoes (stucco, very well executed), painted in three layers, with architectural decoration that bears clear Roman influences. Although it appears more a monastic rather than a royal church, a gallery was reserved for the king in the transept.

The only sculptural decoration that has survived to the present day is that of the marble capitals on which rest the semi-circular arches. There are also two marble flagstones with hexagonal geometric figures and floral motives that are found in the central chapel.

The pictorial decoration is the most important element that can be seen in the church. It is without doubt the most important of its time, in its extent and conservation as much as in the variety of designs represented, in all of Western Europe.

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Address

Calle Selgas 2, Oviedo, Spain
See all sites in Oviedo

Details

Founded: c. 830 AD
Category: Religious sites in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Carlos (4 months ago)
Beautiful pre romanesque church
Jacobo Elies (4 months ago)
The jewel in the crown of the pre-Romanesque in Asturias. Gorgeous frescos from the beginning of the 9th century!
Ben Jerue (6 months ago)
An interesting and unique church that is worth the visit. Though not as well known as other pre-romanesque churches in Oviedo (and perhaps not the most spectacular), this church nevertheless stands out for its frescoes and their repeating architectonic motifs. At least during the health crisis, you can only visit as part of a guided tour that lasts 30 minutes.
Greg Tower (6 months ago)
Lovely evening in the park surrounding the Asturian Middle Age church of San Julián de los Prados. One scorching sun commanding the sky and putting warm in our hearts. And the beautiful ancient trees putting shadows to relax in the grass. Courage!
Barbara Cohen (2 years ago)
Preromanesque church with well-preserved frescoes influenced by those of Pompej and depicting mostly architectural themes. Modern sketches of missing parts give a good impression of what the overall interior looked like. The guided tour (in Spanish) by a knowledgeable docent costs two euros and is a real bargain. Leaflets are available in other languages.
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