Collegiate church of San Martin de Elines

Valderredible, Spain

The church of San Martin de Elines is located in the valley of Valderredible. Initially part of a monastery, St Martin's later became a collegiate church under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Burgos.

The existing church was built in the early 12th century in the Romanesque style. Surviving remains of some mozarabic arches and windows located on the northern wall of the cloister suggest an earlier foundation, probably around the 10th century.

The building follows the standard Romanesque style with a single rounded apse on the eastern side and a basilical nave of remarkable height. The exterior of the apse is divided into three panels by two decorative columns. The cornice is decorated with a set of corbels carved with animal heads, human figures and abstract motifs.

The entrance to the church is placed on the western façade. It is decorated with a semi-circular arch which is supported on columns with capitals carved with vegetal motifs. The bell tower is of circular shape and is attached to the southern wall of the building.


The apse is decorated with blind arcades on two levels. The lower arcade is composed of four semi-circular arches while the upper one has been decorated with five arches, also semi-circular. The capitals are all sculpted but have suffered damage.

The apse retains traces of Romanesque paintings, where two figures looking frontally, probably apostles, can be identified; the only surviving example in the province of Cantabria.

The large rounded capitals that sit on top of the four columns supporting the cupola are decorated with carvings of remarkable quality. One of the capitals represents Daniel among the lions and a second capital seems to depict Samson fighting a lion. A third capital displays passages of the Adoration of the Magi and the Massacre of the Innocents. A fourth one is decorated with cone pines and another scene shows lions devouring human figures.

The cloister

The cloister is located west of the church and was built in the 16th century in a simple Renaissance style. It houses a collection of medieval sarcophagus, some richly decorated.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Spain

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User Reviews

Angel S.B. (2 years ago)
It is another of the pearls of the northern Romanesque. Beautiful Collegiate Church in a privileged enclave. It is worth doing a northern Romanesque route between Palencia and Cantabria.
George Manolis (2 years ago)
Special place, very unique and fascinating history. Must visit! The guide is so great it is worth the visit to hear her tell you the details.
jmanxxi 42014 (2 years ago)
An example of Cantabrian Romanesque, this collegiate church was probably built at the beginning of the 12th century As in so many other cases it is difficult to see inside. And it would be worth it because the only remains of Romanesque painting in Cantabria are preserved in the apse. Even if it's only the outside that we see, it's worth it, look at the corbels. Some are very well preserved. In short... A highly recommended stop!
Francisco Garcia-Erguin (3 years ago)
A beauty of a Romanesque building, in the quietest area of ​​the region.
Jörge (4 years ago)
Impressive Romanesque style church. A beautiful place and a simply amazing construction. A must see
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