Santa María Church

Villaviciosa, Spain

Iglesia de Santa María is a 13th-century romanesque church in the concejo of Villaviciosa. It is unusual in having preserved the fabric of an earlier construction dated between the 8th and 10th centuries.



Your name


Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in Spain

More Information


4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

José Julio Melgares (6 months ago)
According to the tourist street map provided at the Villaviciosa tourist office: "Old Church of San Francisco. From the year 1743, it was part of the Convent-Seminary of the Franciscan Fathers" San Juan de Capistrano ". The religious community had a presence in the building until the confiscation of the year 1835. Currently it is the parish temple of Villaviciosa ".
Marcelino (2 years ago)
Good conservation and very central.
José Luis Rivera Gutiez (2 years ago)
Parish Church of Villaviciosa. Is big. Sl Ladito is the Museum of Holy Week Villaviciosina. Our Lady of the Portal of Belen, patron saint of Villaviciosa, is venerated there.
camilo figueiredo (2 years ago)
Jesús R.G. (2 years ago)
In the church was one of the fantastic nativity scenes of this year's Route de Belenes de Villaviciosa. In the church we could also see for free the exhibition of images of Holy Week in Villaviciosa. Although I am not a believer, it was interesting since there was also a small exhibition of nativity scenes / paper book. A few meters before the church, there is the Convent of the Poor Clares, where you can buy at very affordable prices very delicious artisan sweets. The cat tongues of butter and chocolate are a start and do not stop. We will return next year if not sooner.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.


The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.