San Tirso Church

Oviedo, Spain

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 preserved. It is that of a basilica with nave and aisles divided by rude stone piers set at unequal intervals, from which round arches spring. In the easternmost bay, however, owing to the smaller span, the arch was made sufficiently pointed to raise its crown to the same height as the others. This irregularity was already typical of Imperial Roman times, when barrel vaults were given a pointed form in order to make the height of rooms of varying size uniform, as it was necessary to raise the crown of the vault in some of them. This is illustrated by various chambers in the House of Tiberius on the Palatine.

There is no satisfactory explanation of the 'many angels' the building is said to have presented in the Codex Vigilianus.

In the rectangular sanctuary atriplet round-arched window 2 by 2 metres is preserved. With its pre-romanesque bases, rough brick arches, and capitals with rude packed leaves, it gives an idea of the better style of building and carving in the time of Alfonso II of Asturias. It is known that the church of San Tirso housed Royal Chapel.



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Founded: 790s AD
Category: Religious sites in Spain

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User Reviews

Valeria Panepinto (2 years ago)
Unusual church with a single spire, fascinating for its particularity, even if, wandering through the streets of Oviedo, it is not the only one ....
Raúl Ramos Solar (2 years ago)
Asturian Pre-Romanesque in its purest form! One of the most important manifestations of this art. The Church of San Tirso El Real was founded in the 9th century, although it underwent successive renovations in the 12th, 16th, 18th and 20th centuries. Of its old pre-Romanesque factory, only the upper part of the front wall remains, made of ashlar, with medallions at the ends of its eaves and a gabled roof. It has a mullioned window with three holes formed by three semicircular brick arches on four small marble columns with Roman-type capitals, framed by an alfiz formed by a molding. On each side of the top of it, two stones protrude with a hole in the center. They would probably serve as hinges for the doors that closed the window. The church consists of three naves separated by square-section pillars on which semicircular and pointed arches rest. The central nave is covered with a ribbed groin vault and a barrel vault with lunettes on the sides. The side chapel of the Gospel, with a ribbed vault, is from the end of the 16th century and that of the Epistle, from the 18th century.
Alvaro Manuel Rodríguez Rodríguez (3 years ago)
It is the oldest church in Oviedo,... and by far. The foundation of the church is attributed to King Alfonso II the Chaste of Asturias, it was built next to the Royal Palace and the Holy Chamber and the cathedral complex of the Basilica of San Salvador. Behind San Tirso came the streets that made up the rest of the city.
Only the outer face of the south face remains original from the pre-Romanesque. Next to the Cathedral.
Maria Jose Mendez Diaz (3 years ago)
This downtown next to the cathedral keeps safe distances well
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