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Centro de Recepción e Interpretación del Prerrománico Asturiano
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In Villaviciosa

San Salvador de Valdediós

General information

This is one of the best examples of the Asturian basilica typology. It is made up three naves, separated by two arcades of four sections, three-part header with three superimposed blind chambers, two rooms open to the aisles and a western three-part front part on the floor plan and double with elevation, with a portico and two chambers on the ground floor and a tribune and another two rooms in the upper floor. Attached we find a portico and a chapel to the South. All the quarters are barrel-roofed with tuff stone.

The basilica of San Salvador de Valdediós is the most significant architectural work of the end of the 9th century in Asturias. It was consecrated on 16th September 893 by seven bishops, whose names appear in the consecration inscription found in the so-called chapel of the bishops, in the south-eastern corner of the temple.

On the other hand, an archaeological analysis of the faces, paintings and constructive structures leads to guess its consecration date refers only to the Southern lateral portico and the wall paintings, inasmuch the temple would have been built previously, perhaps towards 875 in view of the palaeographic arguments of the inscriptions inside the temple. The dedication inscriptions of the three chapels, San Salvador, San Juan Bautista and Santiago are preserved, together with an inscription over the western door, of a comminatory nature.

The southerly lateral portico differs from the rest of the temple. It is previous to the pictorial decoration inside the building and presents magnificent sandstone ashlar and is barrel-roofed with transverse arches supported on columns attached to the wall beams and to corbel-capitals placed on the internal face of the portico wall. An arcade with six arches joins the faces of the nave and the lateral chamber wall.

It is difficult to date the chapel in the south-eastern corner. Its function seems to have been that of protecting the consecration stele. It is raised with different bonds, alternating regular ashlar rows with irregular masonry work. The roof is a brickwork vault.

The architectural sculpture comprises three sets of pieces. The internal supports are monolithic pillars, with the characteristic Asturian moulded imposts. However, the entrances to the three header chapels are ennobled with arches of triumph over column couples with bases and capitals. Those of the central chapel are original Asturian creations. On the other hand, the reuse of capitals obtained from spoliation was resorted to in the aisles. In the southerly and western portico, the 24 capitals prove a deep knowledge on Andalusian samples to which, however, an Asturian structural typology was added.

The inside of the building preserves considerable remains of paintings in the central chapel, the northern chapel, the central nave vault and the central and southerly quarters of the upper floor of the western front part. The largest surfaces have been lost, such as the areas between windows and dividing arcades in the central nave, and the wall areas in the aisles.

From the spatial morphology point of view, Valdediós is a finished example of the basilica layout combined with the vaulting of all spaces, reducing the internal space and lighting capacity. The richness of its decoration and the fact of its consecration by seven bishops lead us to think that the court must have intervened in such circumstances, presided at the time by Alfonso III (866-910).

Useful information

Villaviciosa. Valdediós.
Access along road AS-113
Villaviciosa to La Secada.

Tel.: 985 97 49 66.

Reservation in

October to March:
Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:30 to 13:30* h. *Last visit.

April to September:
Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:30 to 13:30* h. and from 16:00 to 19:00* h. *Last visit.

Closed on Mondays and 1st and 6th January, 8th September and 25th December.

Complete visit: € 6
Children under 8 years old visit to the Conventín and/or monastery: free

Groups over 15 adults: € 5