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More Pre-Romanesque Buildings

Introduction and Map

To the complex of pre-Romanesque buildings declared World Heritage Site, we must add ten pre-Romanesque structures of civil and religious nature, and an increasingly long list of decorative and architectural elements, as well as inscriptions, scattered throughout Asturias.

The advance of research in the field of Archaeology and of the Historian of Art continues to increase the catalogue of pre-Romanesque churches, as well as the number of architectural, decorative and epigraphic elements that, exceeding one hundred, bear witness in the Asturian region to the vitality of pre-Romanesque art.

  1. Chapel of Santa Cruz, Cangas de Onís
  2. Church of Santianes de Pravia, Pravia
  3. Church of Santa María de Bendones, Oviedo
  4. Church of San Pedro de Nora, Las Regueras
  5. Church of Santiago de Gobiendes, Colunga
  6. Church of Santo Adriano de Tuñón, Santo Adriano
  7. Church of San Martín de Salas, Salas
  8. Church of Santa María de Arbazal, Villaviciosa
  9. Church of San Andrés de Bedriñana, Villaviciosa
  10. Ancient Tower of San Salvador de Oviedo

 Santa Cruz de Cangas de Onís

Cangas de Onís (West of Asturias)

8th century















Built by the son of Pelagius, King Favila, together with his wife Froiluba, the church was dedicated to the Holy Cross on 27 October 737 by the priest Asterius.

It is a modest building that follows local building standards. Although it is not an example of “Asturian pre-Romanesque architecture”, it has the distinction of being the first example of a church under royal patronage in the new Kingdom of Asturias, and in its first capital, Cangas de Onís.

It is mentioned in the Chronicles of Asturias in the Rotensis version, written about 885, where it states that Fáfila (aka Favila) “built the basilica with splendid workmanship, in honour of the Holy Cross”.

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According to the tradition, this church was the repository of the oak cross that Pelagius carried during the battle of Covadonga and which later, in 908, was to be covered in strips of gold and precious stones in the castle of Gauzón by King Alfonso III “the Great”, and called the Cross of Victory, an emblem of the Principality of Asturias.

The building is situated on top of a mound that housed a prehistoric megalithic structure: an instance of the process of Christianisation of the main spaces of pagan religion that is found throughout Asturias.

The original chapel was subjected to successive transformations over the centuries: it was rebuilt in 1663 and completely destroyed during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The current hermitage is a reconstruction by the architects Emilio Antonio González-Capitel and Luis Menéndez-Pidal y Álvarez, in collaboration with the sculptor Gerardo Zaragoza, from the year 1950.

The most interesting aspect is that the foundation stone is one of the most well-known from the Middle Ages. Although it was unfortunately lost during the destruction of the building during the Spanish Civil War, its existence was known since the 16th century, when it was copied by Ambrosio de Morales, who placed it above the arch of the chapel. Its text has come down to us thanks to a copy by Roberto Frasinelli for the Provincial Committee on Historical and Artistic Monuments of the Province of Oviedo (1844):

“This sacred invention of small dimensions rises again at God’s command, decorated with the offerings of the faithful this church clearly shines forth before holy onlookers, displaying in figurative sense the sign of the Holy Cross. May this building, consecrated under the trophy of the cross, be pleasing to Christ, which his servant Faffila (aka Favila) founded in the zeal of faith, with his wife Froiliuba (aka Froiluba) and his children; and may all your grace be upon them credit in exchange for your offerings, and after this life is over may generous mercy be granted to them. Here the priest Asterio consecrated the altars to Christ on the 300th day of the year, in the sixth century of the era, during 775 of the era (27 October 737)”, (English translation from the Spanish translation of César García de Castro) (English translation based on the Spanish translation by Zesauro Traducciones).

Av. D.Constantino Glez Y González 7

33550 Cangas de Onís, Asturias

+(34) 985 84 80 05

Church of Santianes de Pravia

Pravia (Central Asturias)

8th century











The church of Santianes is thought to have been built, invoking St. John Apostle and Evangelist and Sts. Peter, Paul and Andrew, by King Silo and his wife Adosinda, between 774 and 783, in the second of the courts of the Kingdom of Asturias, Pravia.

According to the Chronicle of Albeda (which ends in 883), Silo established his court in Pravia, in the region of the ancient Flavium Avia, which occupied a strategic geographical position since it was an important communications hub in the Roman era.

It was to serve as a church for the palace and a royal pantheon, and to be erected near the king’s palace complex. With the death of King Silo in 774, the ensemble of palatial buildings and the church became a monastic residence, to which Queen Adosinda retired on 26 November 785 in the presence of Beatus of Liébana, Etherio of Osma and Bishop Fidel.

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According to the Chronicle of Alfonso III for the year 905, Silo is buried in the portico of the temple of Santianes, which thereby became a royal pantheon, according to the Hispanic tradition.
The original state of the church is known thanks to the descriptions of several authors, including: Ambrosio de Morales (1513-1591), Tirso de Avilés (1516-1599) and Luis Alfonso de Carvallo (1570-1630). The last of these composed a detailed description of the church, which, thanks to its precision, is of great interest:

“This Church remains until our days in the same outline and shape in which it was built back then; and even though it is very small, it has a main chapel, two collateral chapels, crossing and three naves, all with arches and ashlar over pillars, demonstrating a great sense of proportion and correspondence. I noted, moreover, another ancient feature in this church; namely that the main altar is in the middle of the chapel, and it is possible to walk around the altar on all sides, and that back then all altars were designed this way; and in the chapel of the Chaste King there is another of this sort, in one of the apsidal chapels, and another in the Church of Santullano, near the City of Oviedo, and in other very old churches”.

In 1637, the church underwent changes in the original pre-Romanesque architectural structure due to the work done on its interior for the construction of a sepulchral chamber for the Salas family.

This work led to the demolition and expansion of the main chapel, and of the well-known labyrinth stone of Silo, the acrostic “Silo princeps fecit” (“Prints Silo built this”), and the foundation stone of the church.

Over the course of the 19th century, the temple was subjected to successive reforms: Fortunato de Selgas, in 1836, transept and transverse nave was restored, and in 1868 the vestibule disappears and, hence, the royal tombs, while the current tribune was restored subsequently.

In 1894, important architectonic remains were discovered belonging to the original 8th century church, a pilaster, probably from the podium of the altar, and two chancel screens decorated with different floral and geometrical motifs that are currently found in the Selgas Fagalde Fundation, in the Palace of El Pito, Cudillero.

Excavation and restoration efforts starting from 1975 under the direction of the architect José Menéndez-Pidal y Álvarez brought to light architectural structures and important decorative remains. The baptismal font situated at the foot of the nave, facing south, is especially interesting; an immersion baptistery, carved into a block of sandstone, possibly older than the construction of the church.

Over the course of the centuries, important pre-Romanesque cultural remains have been recovered that constitute an outstanding ensemble of 182 pieces conserved in the church itself.

Fourteen of these pieces, including the foundation inscription of the church and the labyrinth stone of King Silo, have been ceded by the Archbishopric of Oviedo to the Pravia City Council for temporary deposit in the pre-Romanesque Museum of Santianes, located in the old rectory, owned by the municipality and managed by the Valdés Salas Foundation.

San Juan Apóstol y Evangelista de Santianes in Pravia continued in use as a parish today.

El Palacio 33129 Santianes. Pravia

+(34) 985 820 473

+(34) 985 821 204

Church of Santa María de Bendones

Oviedo (Central Asturias)

9th century








It is located in the municipality of Oviedo, about five kilometres from the capital city. It was set on fire and collapsed in 1936, but was discovered by Joaquín Manzanares in 1954 and reconstructed in 1958 by the architect Luis Menéndez-Pidal y Álvarez.

The church is usually assigned to the reign of Alfonso II (791-842), and it is mentioned in the Chronicles of the High Middle Ages from the 10th century, in a donation that King Alfonso III “the Great” and his wife Lady Jimena made to the Cathedral of San Salvador of Oviedo on the date 20 January 905. The original text has not been conserved, but if the transcription made by Bishop Pelagius in the Liber Testamentorum, on a date close to the year 1129, where it is specifically recorded that King Alfonso III “the Great” and his wife Lady Jimena have donated “…iuxta Ouetum uillam Uendones cum Ecclesia Sancte Marie.”

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The floor plan with its single nave shows clear similarities with San Julián de los Prados. The tripartite chevet opens to the east, and the main chapel features a vaulted ceiling, while the apsidal chapels have wooden ceilings. The three chapels conserve latticework fashioned in the modern period on its eastern wall.

The three chapels communicate with nave through associated semicircular arches made of brick. The single nave is illuminated by two large windows, with two openings in each of the four walls. It features two adjoining chambers at the north and south covered with wooden scaffolding, and on the west side there are three attached chambers, of which the central one would have functioned as a vestibule.

In the upper part of the central apse, we find a chamber only accessible from outside of the building through a window with three bays framed by a small moulding along the upper part, in the style of the typical 10th-century Mozarabic alfiz. This blind chamber, typical of pre-Romanesque architecture, had collapsed completely by the time of the reconstruction.

The original table of the altar is still in the church, in the south chapel and it can be considered the second oldest pre-Romanesque altar after the one is San Juan Apóstol y Evangelista, in Santianes de Pravia.

In the church were found two decorative fragments that belonged to the original panel of the chancel screen, which would have been located in the main chapel and in the apsidal chapels that would separate the holiest space, high altar, from the space intended for the faithful. The decorative motif is a slender bush from which small leaves combined with flowers emerge, while on the other side there is a winding carving and several small leaves in the shape of a heart together with slender leaves. This decoration is similar to the panels of the chancel screen reused in the Church of Santa Cristina de Lena, which probably dates back to the second half of the seventh century.

These two fragments of panels of the chancel screen are currently conserved in the Archaeological Museum of Asturias where they were deposited on the occasion of the first campaign of restoration of the building directed by Luis Menéndez-Pidal y Álvarez in the years from 1958 to 1961.

In the main chapel, a fragment of painting is conserved depicting a modillion, sketched in perspective, and there are two other paintings on the southern apse, such as the vessel with wreaths situated in the entry archway to the chapel.

On the exterior of the south façade, there is a free-standing tower reconstructed by Luis Menéndez-Pidal on remains of the 12th-century building. Its predictable function would be to serve as bell tower of the church.

Santa María de Bendones continues to operate as a parish in the present day.

Bendones, Oviedo.

Church of San Pedro de Nora

Las Regueras (Central Asturias)

9th century








It is located in the municipality of Las Regueras, on the bank of the River Nora, where it flows together with the Nalón River, to twelve kilometres from the city of Oviedo.

It was constructed during the reign of Alfonso II “the Chaste” (791-842), displaying similarities with other churches from this period such as San Julián de los Prados, Santullano, and Santa María de Bendones.

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The church of San Pedro de Nora is not mentioned in the medieval chronicles until the 10th century, when it is mentioned in the extensive donation that King Alfonso III “the Great” and his wife Lady Jimena made to the Cathedral of San Salvador of Oviedo on 20 January 905. The confirmation of the donation is recorded in the 12th century by Bishop Pelagius in the Liber Testamentorum, dating approximately to the year 1129: “…ecclesiam Sancti Petri de Nora cum suis adiacenciis”.

It has a basilica floor plan with three naves, separated by archways supported by square-shaped pillars, covered by a wooden roof. The illumination is produced through quadrangular windows with latticework set in the upper part of the walls. The chevet has three parts with vaulted apses, illuminated by a window with latticework in each of its back walls.

In the eastern wall of the main chapel a small shrine or tabernacle is conserved, typical of other Asturian churches such as San Julián de los Prados, San Salvador de Valdediós or the crypt of St. Leocadia in the Cámara Santa of the Cathedral of Oviedo.

Adjoining the church on the southern and northern façades are two areas whose location is typical of the Asturian architectural style; also typical is the chamber above the main chapel can only be accessed from outside the building through a window with three bays with semicircular brick arches supported on two columns.

During the medieval era, in the 12th to 13th century, significant changes occur such as the creation of the bays that communicate the apsidal chapels with the main chapel.

At its feet there is a vestibule with entrance through a semicircular arch that provides access to the interior of the church through a gate with lintels.

Destroyed in 1935 during the Spanish Civil War, an intensive reconstruction was undertaken by the architect Alejandro Ferrant and later by Luis Menéndez-Pidal y Álvarez, between 1940-1970. At the initiative of this architect, the bell tower was built close to the church; its location and design do not correspond to any archaeological record, but rather is an interpretation of the architect himself.

San Pedro de Nora continues to operate as a parish in the present day.

San Pedro de Nora 33119. San Pedru Nora

Parroquia: +(34) 985 784 256 

Church of Santiago de Gobiendes

Colunga (West of Asturias)

9th century








Located in Colunga, the church is contemporary with the church of the San Salvador of Priesca, and, in a similar manner, it is one of the few examples of a foundation not sponsored by the Asturian monarchs.


There is no record in the documentary sources and inscriptions of the date of consecration of the church until, in the 10th century, the first mention of the church appears in a donation that King Ordoño II made to the Cathedral of San Salvador of Oviedo on 8 August 921. The document is known thanks to the transcription made by Bishop Pelagius in the Liber Testamentorum, on an approximate date of 1129, where it records

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expressly the donation, located “in territorio Colunga Monasterium Sancti Iacobi apostoli de Gaudentes per suos terminos ab omni integrate”.

The architectural model has formal similarities with San Julián de los Prados, such as the basilica floor plan of three naves separated by semicircular archways supported on square-shaped pillars, with impost capitals, covered with wooden roofing. The tripartite chevet retains the vaulted ceilings of the chapels, which were originally decorated with frescoes.

In 1853, the church suffered a profound transformation in order to increase the surface area of the apse. This expansion entailed the destruction of the closure wall of the back wall and the removal of the blind arcades adjoining the central apse, as well as the tabernacle or sanctuary, with its corresponding excavated box, typical of Asturian churches and dedicated to conserve relics.

Eight pieces of the church have been conserved in the rectory that correspond to the capitals of the blind arcades that have been removed from the main chapel, demolished in 1853. They represent a reproduction on a smaller scale of the series of four capitals from the arches of the central nave, with the introduction of a novelty in one of them: their decoration with plant motifs is similar to the type in San Miguel de Lillo.

During the years from 1983 to 1988, the church underwent a thorough restoration supervised by the architect Magín Berenguer Díez, who recovers the original volume of the main nave and the original windows, closing the wood roof at the original level with two slopes. The level of the original floor is recovered, although the original flooring of opus signinum could not be recovered.

As a complement to this activity, the archaeological work done by the canon and archaeologist Emilio Olávarri Goicoechea, in which part of the original block altar in the main chapter was restored, and the closing wall of the original back wall of the church, also several medieval burials in the interior of the temple were also documented.

The Church of Santiago de Gobiendes continues to operate as a parish in the present day.

Gobiendes. Colunga

+(34) 985 869 043

+(34) 655 809 773

Church of Santo Adriano de Tuñón

Santo Adriano (Central Asturias)

Consecrated in 891








Located in the municipality of Santo Adriano, the church probably formed part of a monastery founded by the King Alfonso III and his wife Jimena (866-910). The church, dedicated to the Holy Martyrs Adriano and Natalia, would have been consecrated by the bishops of Oviedo, Iria, Coimbra and Astorga, according to the foundation letter dated 891 and conserved in the Chapter Archive of the Cathedral of Oviedo.

In the year 1108, the church was subjected to its first reform, which is recorded in the plaque positioned between two arches in the southern archway in which it is indicated that the church has been consecrated again by the Abbot Eulalio and Bishop Pelagius of Oviedo. Another inscription is also conserved, which is a synthesis of the preceding one, dating to the 17th century.

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The church features the classic basilica floor plan consisting of three naves separated by an archway with three semicircular arches resting directly on two pillars that are lacking any type of impost capitals or bases.

The eastern area consists of the chevet with three rectangular chapels and a vaulted roof. Adjoining the façades on the south and north, two chambers were constructed, but only the southern one remains.

The sculptural decoration of the main chapel is limited to the two columns adjoining the archway leading to the central apse: the capitals of these columns are pieces reused from the classical tradition dating from the 4th to 5th centuries.

In the exterior of the chevet and above the main chapel, there is a traditional blind chamber only accessible from outside the building through a window with two bays with semicircular, brick arches and central pillar.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the church was subjected to thorough reforms during which a new body of the nave was added at the feet, as well as the façade and the bell gable.

Between 1949 and 1951, the church was restored by the architect Luis Menéndez-Pidal y Álvarez, and, in the process, important remains of wall murals were discovered in the main chapel. In 1986, it underwent a new process of restoration by the architects Miguel Ángel García Pola, Carlos Ignacio Marqués and Jesús Palacios.

Between 2008 and 2015, the Regional Ministry of Education and Culture undertook a new restoration and a wide-ranging program of measures aimed to resolve the problems with the moisture stains on the facings with wall murals. These efforts made possible the consolidation and restoration of the paintings by the Spanish Institute for Cultural Heritage, which depends on the Spanish Ministry for Education, Culture and Sport.

The pre-Romanesque murals dating from the ninth century are conserved in the central chapel. Their singular iconography is based on trims with plant motifs, concentric circles and crenellated friezes, underscoring the sun and radiant moon in the centre of the back wall and, on the lateral walls, processional crosses. Although the colour palette is limited, they are considered exceptional in Asturian pre-Romanesque art due to the use of Andalusian repertories: the representation of crenels, distributed in the shape of a frieze, inspired in the repertory of Islamic architectural shapes, with their sculptural predecessor in the Church of San Salvador de Valdediós.

Taken together, this is a magnificent image with clear symbols referring to the Heavenly Jerusalem of the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse and finds parallels in the miniatures of Beatus of Liébana. God, and more specifically, the Word of God is considered as the new sun. Christ, since he is considered the manifestation of the Father in the world, represents the East, the Sun that illuminates the Moon, his Church, in the words of Isidore of Seville.

Santo Adriano de Tuñón continues to operate as a parish in the present day.

Tuñón. Santo Adriano

Guía: +(34) 637 061 610

Church of San Martín Salas

San Martin (Central Asturias)

8th-9th century

The Church of San Martín is located at 1 km from the town of Salas at a site close to the Nonaya River.

The church of San Martín continued to perform the duties of parish church until, in 1896, it was agreed to relocate the parish to the collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor de Salas, while continuing to celebrate the ceremonies for All Souls’ Day at San Martín’s.

This church is mentioned for the first time in a document from 896, in which Gonzalo, son of Alfonso III “the Great” and Queen Jimena, make a donation to the church of Oviedo consisting of different villas and churches in Asturias. The document has come down to us in a copy from the 12th century, made in the scriptorium of Bishop Pelagius and conserved in the Liber Testamentorum, compiled around the year 1129.

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The first church was probably constructed at an uncertain date between the 8th and 9th century, and its gradual deterioration made a reconstruction necessary by the date of 12 October 951, thanks to the mediation of a priest calls himself Adefonsus confessus, as stated in the text of the plaque adjoining the southern façade of the church.

The church was completely reformed at the end of the 15th century and afterwards, in the 17th and 18th century. As a result of the successive transformations of the structure, only some pieces of its pre-Romanesque structure are conserved, embedded in a disorganized way in the walls of the church. In fact, they are reproductions, since the authentic ones were removed as a result of a controversial restoration effort carried out in 1980, after which the pieces had been kept in the choir of the Collegiate Church of Salas and were later relocated to the Tower of the Palace of Valdés Salas.

In 1998, a municipal museum was built in the Tower, in which there is an exhibition of a collection of 21 epigraphic and sculptural pieces ceded temporarily by the Archbishopric of Oviedo to Salas Town Council.

The Museum was re-inaugurated in 2019, in the ancient chapel of the Palace of Valdés Salas as the Pre-Romanesque Museum of San Martín de Salas, currently run by the Valdés Salas Foundation. Link to the Museum’s web page)

The pre-Romanesque pieces of the Church of San Martín, taken together constitute an excellent example of the decorative perfection and richness of the Asturian workshops of the 10th century. These magnificent pieces provide more evidence that the last stage of the so-called pre-Romanesque art, Asturian art, open to new influences, without losing sight of its traditions and innovative artistic trends.

San Martín de Salas was a parish church until 1898. At present, religious service is held there on All Saints’ Day, November 1.

Plaza del ayuntamiento 20, San Martín, 33860 Asturias

+(34) 985 83 09 88

Church of Santa María de Arbazal

Villaviciosa (West of Asturias)

8th-10th century








Situated in the village of Arbazal, this small church is a rare example of a church built to serve a small rural community, forming an extensive network of rural oratories and churches from the High Middle Ages.

The pre-Romanesque church has been conserved as sacristy of the modern Baroque Church of Santa María de Arbazal, dedicated to the Our Lady of Sorrows.

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The ancient church, of small dimensions, consists of a single nave that is completed with a rectangular-shaped chevet, which must be entered through a triumphal arch. The nave originally had a greater height than at present, as well as a gabled wood roof, while the chevet conserves the original, slightly pointed barrel vaulting.

There are no known documentary texts that make it possible to date the era of construction, but there are parallels with other churches of the High Middle Ages in the region, such as the ancient church of San Juan de Riomiera, in the municipality of Aller, which no longer exists but has been documented based on archaeological excavations, and the first phase of its construction has been dated to between the 8th and 10th century.

In Santa María de Arbazal, religious services are held on Pentecost and on the day of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Arzabal. Villaviciosa

Church of San Andrés de Bedriñana

Villaviciosa (West of Asturias)

subsequent to 893








Situated a few kilometres from the capital of the municipality of Villaviciosa, the pre-Romanesque church was recovered after extensive efforts undertaken between 2002 and 2007 by the Regional Ministry of Education and Culture.

The temple was restored in accordance with the project of the architect Nieves Ruiz Fernández, and the archaeological excavations made it possible to verify that the church conserves 80% of the original structure from the High Middle Ages.

The church was burned during the Spanish Civil War in 1936, and it was later restored by the architect Luis Menéndez-Pidal y Álvarez, replacing the wood roof and the whitewashing of the walls.

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The conserved nave corresponds to the foundation from the High Middle Ages until the triumphal arch, and the elevations are also original up to the imposts. The church was re-designed in the 12th to 13th centuries, which is the period of the Romanesque southern façade and the triumphal arch that provides access to the main chapel.

The chevet and the apsidal chapels are the result of reforms in the 16th and 17th century, in which the pre-Romanesque structure was demolished in order to build the chapel of Valdés Sorribas, in 1671, which resulted in the loss of part of the original structure and the relocation of some of its components, for example, the lattice currently positioned on the façade.

Four original windows in the north and south walls of the church have been conserved, which respond formally to a monolithic bifora, two small horseshoe arches and decoration with rope moulding, framed by a perimeter fringe with herringbone decoration that forms a false alfiz.

Heart-shaped figures are likewise represented with stalks that conclude in highly geometrised volutes. The mouldings of the four windows feature sculpting similar to the six windows of the Church of San Salvador de Valdediós, although the decorative elements have been enriched in San Andrés de Bedriñana with the inclusion of reliefs of birds that serve to enrich the original symbol of the Eucharist significantly.

The splendid latticework of the façade is noteworthy, since its plant motifs coincide with the influence of the Sino-Byzantine artistic trends that later gave rise to an abundance of plant images in Asturian art. This lattice shares features with the latticework in the portico of the Church of San Salvador de Valdediós and the iconographic is susceptible to the same reading: an image of a tree of happiness, heavy with fruit, that embraces with its foliage the true tree of life, which is the Cross, the symbol of eschatological Christ, that is also the Church.

San Andrés de Bedriñana continues to operate as a parish in the present day.

Bedriñana. Villaviciosa

The Old Tower of San Salvador of Oviedo

Oviedo (Central Asturias)

9th century

The original tower of the Holy Saviour is in the Cathedral of Oviedo, at the side of the Cámara Santa, and it leads to the high cloister, where the Ecclesiastical Museum is currently located.

It was built toward the end of the 9th century, when Alfonso III “the Great” (866-910) reinforced the defences of the walled perimeter of Oviedo, built by his predecessor Alfonso II “the Chaste” (791-842), in order to prevent possible Norman or Moslem incursions in the area of the basilica of the Holy Saviour, thus protecting the Treasure-Reliquary, deposited in the Cámara Santa.

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The inscription conserved on the wall of the entry to the Chapel of Santa María of the Chaste King is considered by some historians to be the foundation inscription, which would attribute its construction to Alfonso III “the Great” (866-910):

“In the name of Our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to the glory of all, of the glorious Holy Virgin Mary, and for the twelve apostles and other holy martyrs, in whose honour the church was built at the site Ovetao by a certain devout Prince Alfonso, from whose death up to the present day, when the fourth of his descendants, with the same name, has taken his place on the throne, the Prince Alfonso, son of King Ordoño of holy memory, ordered this fortification to be built with his wife Scemena, with two sons born so that the defence of this fortification of the treasure chamber of this holy church may remain intact; ensuring that nothing be destroyed, since the Gentiles are accustomed to hasten with their pirate fleet, which must not happen. Let this work that we offer be granted in eternal possession to the same church” (Spanish translation by César García de Castro) (English translation from the Spanish translation of Zesauro Traducciones).

The tower consists of two different parts: the lower part, which is older, pre-Romanesque, with an irregular rectangular structure and scarcely any openings, and which served defensive purposes.

The upper portion is the result of the Romanesque reform undertaken in the 11th century, when the finishing touches that had been put on the construction in the High Middle Ages were dismantled and two vaulted segments were constructed, one above the other: the first rests on the construction from the High Middle Ages, and on this segment, the highest section intended for a bell tower was constructed with two semicircular bays supported on columns with capitals in each of the sections.

The construction of the segment with the bell tower has been linked with the tenure of Bishop Arias (1073-1094).

Pza. de Alfonso II, El Casto, 33003 Oviedo

+(34) 985 219 642