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Atlantic Romanesque deals with new works at San Martín de Tours

Atlantic Romanesque deals with new works at San Martín de Tours

The work will be focused on the roof of the Romanesque building and it is aimed to avoid structural problems that the building has had since its construction.

Actions in San Martin de Tours, Salamanca, have been previously taken by the Atlantic Romanesque Plan, promoted by Castilla y León Regional Government and Iberdrola Spain Foundation. In fact, actions developed along with Santa Maria la Real Foundation, the diocese and the parish church have started in 2015.


The church of San Martin de Tours is a Historic Artistic Monument and it is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in the region along with the Old Cathedral. It was built in the 12th century on a previous construction and it underwent several changes over the course of time. These actions have affected its structure and therefore the Atlantic Romanesque team analyzed it to identify its present conditions and think of the most accurate option to guarantee its conservation.

The original structural problem was documented and although previous works had been carried out, the problem had not been completely solved. The option was therefore to monitor the site in order to obtain actual data about its situation. The first sensors were installed in 2015 and the behaviour of the building has been watched since then.

The monitoring, studies and reports conducted in parallel - such as a highly accurate surveying, key to understand the behaviour of the structure of the building – provided information as to validate the several changes it underwent as a consequence of the reforms, and to confirm that although the urban area which involves the building has damaged it, it also allowed the construction not to turn into ruins. The reports and the structure assessment study carried out by Castilla y León Regional Government concluded that weight and walls are unbalanced and the load needs therefore to be redistributed to improve structural safety margin.


Redistribution of the roof weight

The layout of the project for the restoration of the building was based on the structural assessment study. According to the technicians the most immediate action will mean “works of genuine surgical exercise”, which implied the assessment of all possible risks and scenarios. Works will involve changing the supporting points of the roof, restored during the 90s, relocating it and distributing its weight on the Romanesque walls more efficiently, and thus transferring and centering the loads avoiding damage to the structure of the building.

The intervention is to be executed within six months after implementation and is to be added to the actions undertaken so far by the Plan, which implied an investment of about 356,000 Euros.


Preparatory steps

 In order to face the renovation of the roof it was first necessary to monitor and know the exact condition of the building. Furthermore urgent works were made in order to reduce problems of structural fails and losses. In 2015, for instance, some restoration works were carried out in the first and most damaged section of the Gospel nave, more exactly at the Puerta del Obispo door.  The works also enabled the gradual restoration of the access through the northern door and the adaptation of an information and visitor reception point opened in 2017. The access to the Capilla del Carmen chapel, where a rich Romanesque portal with original polychromy can be found, was also restored and the lightening was reinstalled and is now more in line with the church complex and it is also more efficient.

The works on the roof are priority but other actions are to be undertaken. While the structural problem is being corrected and solved, a new project is being drafted in order to adapt the building to both liturgy and historical and artistic interest of visitors passing by its doors every day, these are the requirements demanded by a site placed at the centre of an historic town.


Atlantic Romanesque deals with new works at San Martín de Tours
Atlantic Romanesque deals with new works at San Martín de Tours
Románico Atlántico
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