San Julián de los Prados

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Church of San Julián de los Prados
Facade of the church of San Julián de los Prados - Oviedo.jpg
Facade of the church of San Julián de los Prados
Basic information
Location Spain Oviedo, Spain
Geographic coordinates 43°22′3.7″N 5°50′14.1″W / 43.367694°N 5.837250°W / 43.367694; -5.837250Coordinates: 43°22′3.7″N 5°50′14.1″W / 43.367694°N 5.837250°W / 43.367694; -5.837250
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Province Asturias
Year consecrated 9th century
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Church
Heritage designation World Heritage Site
Architectural description
Architect(s) Tioda
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Pre-Romanesque
Direction of façade SE
Length 30 metres (98 ft)
Width 25 metres (82 ft)
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv, vi
Designated 1985 (9th session)
Parent listing Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias
Reference no. 312
Extensions 1998
State Party Spain
Region Europe and North America

San Julián de los Prados, also known as Santuyano, is a Pre-Ramirense church from the beginning of the 9th century in Oviedo, the capital city of the Principality of Asturias, Spain. It is one of the greatest works of Asturian art and was declared an Historical-Artistic Monument by the Spanish Ministry of Culture in June 1917 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 2 December 1998.

The church's construction was ordered by Alfonso II of Asturias and it was built by the court architect Tioda c. 830.[1] It is dedicated to the martyred Egyptian saints Julian and Basilissa.


The spacious church clearly displays the characteristics of its style. It is of basilican plan with a nave and two aisles separated by square piers which support semi-circular arches and with a transept of impressive height. The iconostasis, that separates the sanctuary from the rest of the church is remarkably similar in appearance to a triumphal arch. The size and originality of the church stands out and distinguishes it from works of Visigothic art. However, without doubt, that which most attracts attention to this church is the pictorial decoration, with aniconic frescoes (stucco, very well executed), painted in three layers, with architectural decoration that bears clear Roman influences. Although it appears more a monastic rather than a royal church, a gallery was reserved for the king in the transept.

Original window.

Of the three original entrances to the church, two have been filled in.



The only sculptural decoration that has survived to the present day is that of the marble capitals on which rest the semi-circular arches. There are also two marble flagstones with hexagonal geometric figures and floral motives that are found in the central chapel.


The pictorial decoration is the most important element that can be seen in the church. It is without doubt the most important of its time, in its extent and conservation as much as in the variety of icons represented, in all of Western Europe.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moffitt, John Francis (1999). The Arts in Spain. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-20315-6. 
  2. ^ It can only be compared in extent with the church of St. John of Müstair, a Carolingian church in Graubünden, Switzerland, whose frescoes date from c.800AD. In Germany, on Reichenau Island, is found the church of St. George of Oberzell. In this church the frescoes are also of a similar extent but they date from the tenth century
  3. ^ García de Castro Valdés, César (2004). Santa María de Arzabal. Arte Prerrománico de Asturias. Oviedo: Ediciones Nobel. ISBN 978-84-8459-181-8. 


  • Arias Páramo, Lorenzo (1997). San Julián de los Prados. Arte prerrománico asturiano (in Spanish). Gijón: Trea Ediciones. ISBN 978-84-89427-74-7. 
  • Arias Páramo, Lorenzo (1991). Iglesia de San Julián de los Prados. Dibujos Planimétricos. Fundación Museo Evaristo Valle. ISBN 978-84-604-0881-9. 
  • Moffitt, John F. (1999). The arts in Spain (in Spanish). London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-20315-6. 
  • de Selgas, Fortunato (1908). Monumentos ovetenses del siglo IX (in Spanish). Nueva Impr. de San Francisco de Sales. Archived from the original on 2012-11-06. 

External links[edit]