San Salvador de Valdedios

San Salvador de Valdedios
San Salvador de Valdedios

Throughout the 9th century the entire Iberian Peninsula was dominated by two factions, on the one hand the Islamic forces that had arrived in Spanish territory in the year 711 and on the other hand, the Christian monarchs who soon began from the kingdom of Asturias a process of Reconquest. It is precisely in this context that the first pre-Romanesque constructions strongly linked to the Asturian monarchy gradually began to appear. Those same monarchs were the ones who promoted the repopulation of the lands that they gradually conquered and thanks to this, the influences of the Hispano-Muslim culture even reached the north of Spain. In this way we can explain why in works such as the one that concerns us here, The Monastery of San Salvador de Valdediós -also popularly known as El Conventín-, located in Villaviciosa (Asturias) we can find influences of Islamic architecture.


The temple seems to have been built during the 9th century and consecrated in the year 893, as the commemorative stone on its main facade relates; For this reason, the work is assigned to the period of the time of Alfonso III, when pre-Romanesque architecture began an era of isolation and in which it gradually moved towards the Romanesque style, but on some occasions it shows the influences of Muslim art.

The church of San Salvador de Valdediós is a templewith basilical floor plan, that is, without a transept marked on the floor plan, with three naves with four sections; the main nave is wider and higher than the lateral ones, thus allowing the illumination of the temple. The naves are separated from each other through semicircular arcades built in brick and supported by square-section pillars slightly chamfered at their corners. In the area of ​​the feet there is a small narthex that occupies the three naves of the temple; while the space of the central nave is occupied by a tribune for the monarch, in the lower area of ​​the side rooms we can find small accesses that seem to be a place of penance. For its part, at the head of the temple we find a flat front wall with three rooms that open onto the naves through semicircular arches, this time supported by columns and whose capitals have been reused from previous constructions.

On the sides of the temple two chapels or quadrangular rooms were added that would serve as a transept on the outside and can be confused with it; today one of those rooms has disappeared, conserving only the room on the south wall known as the Bishop's Chamber. It is precisely on this south wall where stands a kind of porch or gallery with semicircular windows that illuminate the room and access to the outside through a semicircular arched door and another lintel that communicates with the interior of the temple. Although it is true that the experts have determined that this stay is subsequent to the rest of theAs a whole, it is unusual to find this type of construction in pre-Romanesque churches.

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