This church in the Spanish province of Orense, in the autonomous community of Galicia, dates back to the 8th century. However, both in Santa Comba de Bande and in another of the main Visigothic temples of the Iberian Peninsula, San Pedro de la Mata, there are hardly any remains of those initial moments. But if the plan design of the church has survived to our days, it has remained practically unchanged over the centuries.
Santa Comba de Bande
Santa Comba de Bande was rebuilt during the time of repopulation. There is even a historical note that says that it was rebuilt by Alfonso III at the end of the 9th century, specifically in 872, which today is discovered in certain aspects of the temple, which we will detail later.
The Toledo churches of Santa María de Melque and San Pedro de la Mata located many kilometers to the south, together with Santa Comba de Bande in Galicia, form a special group of Visigothic churches. Of the three, the orensana is the smallest.
All of it must have been made from a module of the time, a measure called elbow and that reached approximately 30 centimeters, while in the two Toledo, that elbow is larger.
Santa María de Comba maintains its original free cross floor plan, a cruciform structurewhich were later added rooms on the sides. It also has a porch open to the nave. Another very characteristic of the time is that it has an anteapse. And although the original apse has been modified originally, it would have an ultra-semicircular shape.
Other of its characteristics are owed to the aforementioned reform of the 9th century. For example, the offset between the width of the apse and ante-apse. It can also be seen that numerous Visigoth ashlars were reused in the new pre-Romanesque construction. And the opus signinum flooring is also very typical of the 9th century churches built during the repopulation.
It is a rather contradictory temple when contemplating it, since on the one hand you can see a careful layout both in plan and in volumes, and yet you can also see that its execution was quite poor, and with an absolute lack of ornamental elements.
The simplicity of the construction contrasts with the match that its architects knew how to get at the height of the naves and the opening of windows at different levels, which today continues to cause light changes inside the sacred precinct.
On seeing its interior it can be described as ascetic, which would fit in with the idea we have of monastic life and the rites of the early Middle Ages, however the various transformations of the building, it cannot be certain that this was the case in its remote origins.