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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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Francisco Garcia-Erguin (2 years ago)
A beauty of a Romanesque building, in the quietest area of ​​the region.
Jörge (3 years ago)
Impressive Romanesque style church. A beautiful place and a simply amazing construction. A must see
Rafael difer (3 years ago)
A marvel, the entire valley of Valderredible, it is, this collegiate church, it is special
Sue Doherty (3 years ago)
It was closed but worth a look and nice views
Petr Shirshin (4 years ago)
Ancient church with well preserved outer decorations
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Spišskà Kapitula, a unique fortified ecclesiastical ensemble, began as a small fortified settlement overlooking Spišské Podhradie in the 12th century. It was the site of the residence of the Provost of the castle, in the no longer extant St Martin"s monastery, and later became a capitulary. This was destroyed in by Tatars in 1241-1243, but the pilgrim"s chapel, in rotunda form and dedicated to the Virgin, survived until the 18th century and the monastery until the 15th century.

The complex of buildings there is based on the Cathedral of St Martin, where building began in 1285 as a three-aisled Romanesque basilica with a chancel at the west end and a double spire. It owes its present form to successive remodellings and additions in the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.

The Provost's residence was completed in 1281 and further religious buildings were added. Frequent raids by marauding Bulgars and others led to its being fortified in the 14th century. The cathedral was rebuilt in the later 14th century. In 1776 it became the residence of the Bishop and four years later a seminary was established. In 1819 the first teacher training centre in Hungary was founded there.

The Bishop's Palace is largely Baroque, with some excellent interior decorations, like many of the religious buildings in the group. The oval ground plan of the centre of the town is due to its having been fortified in the 14th century. The various religious buildings had defensive functions in this early period. New monastery buildings were erected when the provost"s residence was rebuilt and the whole area fortified. The earlier central fortifications were removed in the 18th century.

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