San Vicente de Ávila

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Basilica of San Vicente de Ávila.
Southern portal.

The Basilica de los Santos Hermanos Mártires, Vicente, Sabina y Cristeta, best known as Basilica de San Vicente, is a church in Ávila, Spain. It is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in the country.[1]


According to legend, Christian martyrs Vicente, Sabina and Cristeta were martyred during the rule of the Roman Emperor Diocletian; their corpses were buried into the rock and later a basilica was built over their tombs. In 1062 their remains were moved to the monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza in Burgos, but later, in 1175, they were returned to Ávila and the construction of a new basilica was started at the location. Works were repeatedly halted or slowed, and were finished in the fourteenth century thanks to the support of Alfonso X and Sancho IV. The nave and aisles are cross-vaulted. The Virgen de la Soterraña, patron saint of the city, is interred there.

The most notable aspect of the exterior are the decorated western and southern gates. In the interior, the most renowned attraction is the cenotaph of the titular martyrs, in polychrome stone. It is one of the best examples of Romanesque sculpture.


The church is built using rock extracted from quarries of the nearby La Colilla. However, as in all the churches of Avila where this rock is described as sandstone, it is in fact decomposed granite. It is attributed to Giral Fruchal, the architect who introduced the Gothic style in Spain from France.

San Vicente is on the Latin cross plan, with a nave and two aisles ending in semicircular apses, with a large transept, cyborium, atrium and a crypt.


  1. ^ De las Heras Fernández. La iglesia de San Vicente de Ávila y la capilla de San Segundo (The San Vicente de Ávila church and the San Segundo Chapel). 


  • De las Heras Fernández, Félix (1991). La iglesia de San Vicente de Ávila y la capilla de San Segundo (2nd ed.). Fundación Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz. ISBN 84-404-8773-8. 

Coordinates: 40°39′28″N 4°41′49″W / 40.65778°N 4.69694°W / 40.65778; -4.69694