San Martín church in Frómista, Spain is the archetype of a Romanesque pilgrimage church. Obviously I’m crazy about the place.
It’s the clarity of the structure I love most of all. Notice the precision of the architectural elements and the way the building cleanly meets the plaza.
San Martín was built quickly—in about 15 years beginning in the 1060’s—which explains it’s stylistic coherence.
The lantern is in the shape of an octagon and check it out—three apses for the price of one!
Why yes, that is a UNESCO World Heritage insignia on the sign on the left side of the photo.
If Mies van der Rohe were to design a Romanesque pilgrimage church it would look like San Martín.
I wonder how many similar Romanesque beauties were torn down and replaced with overblown Gothic mega-churches?
We visited Frómista during our Cultural Camino across Northern Spain. Judging by the many benches and ample plaza space surrounding the church, it is a popular stopping point for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. In early February however, we were the only pilgrims
stupid intrepid enough to be tramping around in the frigid outdoors all day.
Perfect proportions with modest but elegant details (and the church ain’t too shabby either).
Checkered trim on the eaves.
The church’s minimal but charming specific exterior decor.
View of the nave with graceful barrel vaults.
Aisles are nearly the same height of the nave and there’s lots of natural light.
See the octagonal lantern inside the crossing tower? It starts out square then turns into an octagonal dome which was quite innovative for the time.
13th century crucifix.
Capital carving featuring two magi shoving Joseph, who is holding both Mary and baby Jesus on his lap.
Crotch shots and wind-barfing: the best themes of medieval art.
Group Heimlich Maneuver?
The hostal we slept in at Frómista. (Why do I always insist on standing like a flamingo?)
The One Armed Hobo Man, a figurine inside our hostal room. I worked really hard on the placement of his dismembered hand, so I hope you admire it.
Frómista has a great, cheap grocery store—so cheap that we bought way too many groceries. That €1 bag of oranges that seemed like a great deal at the time, was less endearing after we shlepped it across Castile and León.
Our train was 2 1/2 hours late.