San Juan Bautista de Corias

Corias, Spain

The Monastery of St John the Baptist is located on the right bank of the River Narcea, and communicates with the village of Corias via a stone bridge dating from the 14th century. It was founded in 1032 by Count Piniolo and his wife, Aldonza. It reached the peak of its power in the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1763, it suffered a major fire which destroyed all the monastic buildings, only the church, the sacristy and the library being saved from the flames. The remodelling left its mark especially on the new, monumental and sober façade.

It is the most interesting monument in the borough of Cangas del Narcea due to its historical significance and the artistic quality of the ensemble. No traces remain whatsoever of the original Romanesque architecture. It is known that it had a cloister and a church with three naves.

The monastery was rebuilt in the 16th-17th centuries in the Herrerian style, but suffered a fire in the 18th century which led to the reconstruction of the cloister and the outer perimeter. The Corias complex takes the form of a large rectangle around a central courtyard, on the right of which are the church, the sacristy, the refectory and the kitchens.

The exterior façade is characterized by its decorative restraint, only broken by the bays (alternating windows and balconies) and the two side portals. The doorways are located below semi-circular arches and the first floor is decorated with Ionic pilasters, simple pyramids crowned with balls and the coat of arms of the Order, all around a niche containing statues.

The building of the present church began in 1593 in the Renaissance style, according to the canons of Juan de Herrera. The ground plan is that of a Latin cross, with a prominent transept, a broad chancel and a nave with attached chapels. The entire interior is covered with barrel vaulting with transversal arches, except at the intersection of the crossing, which is covered by a dome on pendentives, illuminated by a lantern. The interior portal of the church is divided into three tiers. The first corresponds to the triumphal arch portal itself with four Doric pilasters. In the second tier, there is a niche with a statue of the patron saint, also on pilasters. Above the impost, there is an oculus that illuminates the choir.

The last tier is topped by a pediment crowned with three spires with large balls, in the classicist Herrerian style.

In July 2013, the Parador de Corias luxury hotel was opened here, forming part of the National Network of Paradores.

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AS-15 107, Corias, Spain
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Founded: 1032
Category: Religious sites in Spain

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