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

Stuart McCleane (7 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 (8 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 (14 months 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 (2 years ago)
Beautiful pre romanesque church
Jacobo Elies (2 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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The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

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In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.