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The San Martín church reopens with guided visits

The San Martín church reopens with guided visits


This first stage in the scope of the Atlantic Romanesque Plan has recovered the access to the temple through the northern entryway and has allowed the opening to the public of the chapel of Camarín, previously closed. The church’s situation, in the core of a city as touristic as Salamanca, has lead the intervention to be focused on recuperating access to the church through the Plaza Mayor, in order to turn the space into an information center and an invitation to visit the Atlantic Romanesque Plan’s territory.

This way we meet the goal of the second phase of the intervention plan, started in 2015 and focused not only on the intervention in the churches, but also in the difusion and implementation of new cultural management models, as a fundamental part of the socioeconomic dynamization of the territories.

With a romanesque origin, the church of San Martín dates from 1103 and was built under the authority of the count Martín Fernández, leader of the repopulators of Toro. Until today, despite the alteration of its original physiognomy and the fact that it is caged between modern constructions, it is considered one of the city’s most important romanesque buildings, along with the Old Cathedral.

Locked in the neuralgic center of the city since the beginning of the XII century, it is known as “San Martín del Mercado” [Saint Martin of the Market], because it is where the commercial activity of the city took place. In the XVIII great part of the central nave’s domes collapsed and were rebuilt by Jerónimo García de Quiñones. Two of the oriental sections of the nave also had to be rebuilt after the fire on the 2nd of April of 1854, which destroyed the main altarpiece. The medieval testimonies of the church of San Martín are currently completely masked by the successive reforms in the church and the modern buildings of the surroundings.

As for the conservation state, the northern door dome was one of the ones that presented the biggest problems, due to its bulges and detachments, which had forced the closing of access, recovered today thanks to the restoration of the space.

Atlantic Romanesque Information Point

After recovered and opened to the public, the North Door became the natural access to the Atlantic Romanesque information point. Inside, an audiovisual works a call to attention for the visitor and invites the visitor to continue his path through the remaining exhibitive areas, to get to know the history of the church, the intervention developed in the scope of the Atlantic Romanesque and the plan’s philosophy.

After crossing the Northern Door, the path that combines the strength of audiovisuals with a lighting thought to highlight the most iconic arquitectonic and sculptural elements, goes on through the Capilla del Conde de Grajal and a pathway that ends in the Capilla del Carmen.

This room was built by the end of the XVII century by José Benito de Churriguera, at the request of the fabric seller Juan Muñoz del Castillo and his wife María Cruz Guerra, that were de butlers of the church and have sponsored the foundation of the Música de San Martín [Music of San Martín] which allowed the church to have its own musicians.

This space, where the lighting highlights the elements such as the richly polychromed romanesque entryway was concealed during the construction of the mentioned baroque chapel and was rediscovered in 1958.

Es en este espacio donde la iluminación sirve para poner en valor elementos como una portada románica ricamente policromada, que quedó oculta durante la construcción de la citada capilla barroca y que fue descubierta en 1958.

Parallel activities

In order for the church to be know and opened to the city of Salamanca, cultural workshops were organized, and these will begin tomorrow in the afternoon at 18h00, with a guided tour, open to the public. The tours will carry on until the weekend, at 11h00 and 14h00 and on Friday and Saturday with the extra slots at 17h30 and 17h00, respectively. On Saturday a concert will also take place, at 18h30, in homage to the foundation of Música de San Martín.

Monitoring the church and future interventions

Along with the creation of the information point, the monitoring of the church has been provided, through the installation of wireless sensors in specific points of the building. These sensors monitor the space and control its conservation state, measuring different environmental and structural parameters, along with other parameters related to the building’s management and usage. The data collected by the sensors will allow for the causes of the church’s structural deterioration to be known, which will help to approach the next actuation stages, starting in 2016, to be more effective.

The San Martín church reopens with guided visits
The San Martín church reopens with guided visits
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