The oldest parts of Alva Church are the choir and the apse, dating from the early 13th century. To this the nave was added during the late part of the same century. Construction of the broad tower started about a hundred years later but was never finished; hence the somewhat squat appearance of the church today. It seems in fact that construction of the church came to a rapid end: apart from the half-finished tower, the main southern portal also seems to have been finished in a haphazard, chaotic way.
The choir portal is Romanesque in style and carried some sculpted reliefs, possibly executed by the locally active Master Sigraf. The likewise Romanesque northern portal of the church is also decorated with sculptures.
Inside, the church displays a set of frescos carried out at the end of the Middle Ages, probably just before the reformation and possibly by the same artist who decorated Lau Church. Among the furnishings, the dominating triumphal cross, dating from the middle of the 13th century, and a partly preserved baptismal font, executed by the Romanesque master carver Hegvald sometime during the end of the 12th century, are especially notable. The pulpit dates from 1740 and the unusually decorated altarpiece from 1653. The church was renovated in 1953-54.References:
Situated in the basement of Metropol Parasol, Antiquarium is a modern, well-presented archaeological museum with sections of ruins visible through glass partitions, and underfoot along walkways.
These Roman and Moorish remains, dating from the first century BC to the 12th century AD, were discovered when the area was being excavated to build a car park in 2003. It was decided to incorporate them into the new Metropol Parasol development, with huge mushroom-shaped shades covering a market, restaurants and concert space.
There are 11 areas of remains: seven houses with mosaic floors, columns and wells; fish salting vats; and various streets. The best is Casa de la Columna (5th century AD), a large house with pillared patio featuring marble pedestals, surrounded by a wonderful mosaic floor – look out for the laurel wreath (used by emperors to symbolise military victory and glory) and diadem (similar meaning, used by athletes), both popular designs in the latter part of the Roman Empire. You can make out where the triclinium (dining room) was, and its smaller, second patio, the Patio de Oceano.
The symbol of the Antiquarium, the kissing birds, can be seen at the centre of a large mosaic which has been reconstructed on the wall of the museum. The other major mosaic is of Medusa, the god with hair of snakes, laid out on the floor. Look out for the elaborate drinking vessel at the corners of the mosaic floor of Casa de Baco (Bacchus’ house, god of wine).