Iglesia de San Salvador

The church of San Salvador de Priesca was consecrated on September 23, 921. It is, therefore, a temple built in the final phase of the history of the Asturian monarchy (when the transfer of the capital of the kingdom to Leon).

The Camino de Santiago runs next to the church of Priesca, passing the official route right next to its head, starting a few meters after leaving the temple behind a journey through an old path marked by several small chapels of souls. The old parsonage is located near the church, today converted into a pilgrims’ hostel.

The visit to Priesca constitutes a special moment for pilgrims, since it allows them to go back to the initial times of the Jacobean phenomenon. The building preserves its interior without major alterations with respect to the time of construction, in the 10th century, even maintaining part of the original pictorial decoration. Like many churches in medieval times, that of Priesca served as a refuge for pilgrims, many of whom spent the night here waiting to continue their route to Villaviciosa, Oviedo and, finally, Compostela. The existence of a closed portico attached to the south nave and with access from inside the temple, possibly due to this function of welcoming the temple.

The dedication of the temple to San Salvador puts it in relation to the other great pilgrimage phenomenon that Asturias experienced in medieval and modern times, the one that was destined for the Holy Chamber of the Oviedo cathedral.

Priesca is a church with a basilica plan formed by three naves, the central one being wider and taller than the lateral ones, all of which are covered with wood, being separated by square-based masonry pillars with capitals-impost of moldings and bases that support three semi-circular arches made of plastered brick. In the walls of the central nave, on the pillars, there are four rectangular openings on each side, closed with lattices (mostly rebuilt). The roof is made of exposed wooden armor.

The head is tripartite; the three chapels are covered with barrel vaults. The central chapel is surrounded by a blind arcade formed by semicircular arches on attached columns with highly schematic leaf capitals, which together with the capitals of the triumphal arch, recall those of the Valdediós church. At the foot of the church there is a portico divided into three rooms and a gallery rises above the central one. Above the central chapel appears the typical supra-absidial chamber, accessible only from the outside.

The original pavement, made of thick concrete in the Roman style, is preserved in most of the building.

The sculptural decoration is made up of an interesting set of capitals and capitals-impost distributed along the blind arches that run through the central chapel, as well as in the entrance arches to the chapels, in the pillars of the arcades in terrors and in the access opening from the West. There are also remains of the pictorial decoration that covered the interior of the building and that, although very lost, still allows us to appreciate motifs such as human figures, representations of palaces and fields of hexagonal grids in the vaults of the apses, as well as remains of arches figured blinds on the walls of the side chapels.

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