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Románico Atlántico completes the work on the roof of the church of San Martín de Tours

Románico Atlántico completes the work on the roof of the church of San Martín de Tours


The Department of Culture and Tourism of the Castilla y León Regional Government and Fundación Iberdrola España have completed work on the roof of the church of San Martín de Tours in Salamanca, aimed at guaranteeing the safety and stability of the building.

The work has focused on redistributing the weight of the roof. The monitoring of the building is also being maintained to facilitate its conservation, and the project for the restoration and lighting of the interior of the church has been presented, which will be carried out in the next phase.

The intervention is part of the Atlantic Romanesque Plan, a cross-border cooperation and public-private collaboration project to conserve, restore and enhance the cultural heritage of the provinces of Zamora and Salamanca and the border regions of Porto, Vila Real and Bragança.

The church of San Martín de Tours has been declared a Historic-Artistic Monument and is, together with the Old Cathedral, the most significant Romanesque building in the capital. It was built in the 12th century on top of an earlier construction and has undergone numerous alterations over the years.

The existing deformations in the pillars, arches and vaults of the three naves of the building, the result of the construction itself and of different modifications throughout its history, justified a complete study of its construction sequence within the Atlantic Romanesque Plan, which included an analysis of the evolution of its architecture, undertaken by several multidisciplinary teams.

The analysis was completed with the monitoring of the building, through the placement of different sensors and devices that make it possible to know and observe its behaviour in order to have a more precise diagnosis when it comes to tackling restoration actions.

Thus, with the information provided by the monitoring and the studies and reports that have been carried out in parallel, including a precision survey that was key to understanding the structural behaviour of the temple, it was possible to confirm that the loads supported by the Romanesque walls of the building were unbalanced and needed to be redistributed to improve the structural safety margin.

Redistribution of the weight of the roof

The work, which was co-financed by the ERDF fund, focused on the roof of the church, modifying its support points to better distribute its weight on the Romanesque walls, shifting and centring the loads. The work began at the end of 2019 and will continue until the end of the summer. This completes the structural consolidation of the building and, in the next phase, the restoration and adaptation of the interior will be tackled.

The intervention on the roof is in addition to those carried out since 2015 in the temple, within the Atlantic Romanesque Plan with a total investment of 356,000 euros. Thus, together with the studies and the monitoring process, urgent actions have been undertaken to alleviate the problems of landslides and loss of structure, such as those carried out in the first section of the Gospel nave, over the so-called Bishop's Gate, which concentrated most of the damage.

Subsequently, the access through the north door of the temple was recovered and an information and visitor reception point was set up, inaugurated in 2017. Similarly, the access to the Chapel of Carmen, where a rich Romanesque doorway with original polychromy is preserved, was improved, and it was provided with more efficient lighting that is more in keeping with the complex.

Forthcoming interventions

Once the work on the roof has been completed, a project has been drawn up for the restoration and lighting of the interior of the church, which will enable it to be adapted to the requirements of a space located in the heart of a historic city, which combines its liturgical use with the artistic and historical interest it arouses among the many visitors who pass through its doors every day. The restoration work will focus on recovering the original mortars and finishes. As a preliminary step to the work, various tastings will be carried out inside the building in order to delimit and adjust the work.

Románico Atlántico
Junta de Castilla y LeónFundación Iberdrola EspañaGoverno de PortugalFundación Santa María la Real del patrimonio históricoDiócesis de SalamancaDiócesis de ZamoraDiócesis  de AstorgaDiócesis de Ciudad Rodrigo