San Miguel de Escalada is located 10 km from the Way of St. James pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The building is an example of Mozarabic art and architecture or Repoblación art and architecture.
An inscription that has disappeared but was published by Father Risco in 1786 gave information about the church's consecration in 951 by Bishop Genadio of Astorga, around the time of the founding of the Kingdom of León. It was constructed on a site dedicated to Saint Michael, probably a Visigothic church.
The monastery church's nave has three aisles separated by columns and large horseshoe arches, with their apses and a crossing, which is not covered by a cimborio or central tower. The choir is separated from the principal nave by three horseshoe arches sometimes called an iconostasis).
Despite the floor plan, the building appears from the exterior as a rectangular block. All arches take down in marble shafts and Corinthian steeples proceeding from other Visigothic or Roman constructions (as it may be appreciated in a cyma carved as from a gravestone, perhaps from the nearby Roman city of Lancia).
The building has wood panels, which are decorated with paintings from the 15th century.
Architectural highlights include a meridional porch fixed by twelve horseshoe arche), which were built in two different phases: the seven occidental arches, with columns and steeples are in the moorish style, while the Mozarabic work from the 10th century is preserved in the alfiz decorations around the arches.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.