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


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

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Stuart McCleane (13 months ago)
Beautifully situated Pre romanic church ten minutes from the centre of Oviedo, with three naves and a striking wooden effigy of Jesus on the cross as an altarpiece. A lot of the masonry has fallen into disrepair but its frescos in the chapels have similarities with those found on the inner walls of Egyptian temples. It is three euros to visit with informative guide (in Spanish), which you have to take to see inside the church.
Anton Ivanov (14 months ago)
An authentic Catholic church, built in the early ninth century and declared a World Heritage Site. The Roman style is highlighted by picturesque decorations, preserved to this day. The simple and unique form of architecture and gives it grandeur and eternity.
Tamas Szucs (2 years ago)
The best preromaneque church in Asturia. It"a pity that the tour is obligatory but there are no tours in English. No photo inside.
Carlos (3 years ago)
Beautiful pre romanesque church
Jacobo Elies (3 years ago)
The jewel in the crown of the pre-Romanesque in Asturias. Gorgeous frescos from the beginning of the 9th century!
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