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San Salvador de Cornellana
Salas (Western Asturias)
Contact Address
33850 Cornellana
  • Monday to Thursday: 9:00am-2:30pm
    Friday: 9:00am-11:00am

    Closed on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Ecclesiastical
The ensemble includes the monastery and the church.

The Monastery of San Salvador was founded in 1024 by Infanta Cristina, daughter of King Bermudo II and Queen Velasquita, who retired to this convent after the death of her husband, Ordoño. On the death of the Infanta, her descendants gave the monastery to the monks of Cluny in 1122 so that they could establish a Benedictine monastery here.

Over the doorway opening to the vegetable garden, there is a relief of a bear nursing a girl, with two lion heads on both sides. This relief conveys the popular legend that as a girl, Infanta Cristina, was lost at an early age in the Asturian woods and survived thanks to being nursed and protected by a bear.

The architectural ensemble of the Monastery of San Salvador de Cornellana includes the church and the adjoining monastery. The Romanesque Church of San Salvador was renovated in the second half of the 17th century and has a basilica with three naves, separated by cruciform pillars, with an east end with three apses and a square tower with two floors adjoining the right side. The remodellings carried out in the 17th century focussed primarily on building a new vaulted ceiling, on the addition of a high choir at the west end of the church and in the remodelling of the façade. The interior is decorated with magnificent 17th-century altarpieces.

The east end retains the stylistic features of the Romanesque style with three semi-circular staggered apses preceded by a straight section. Outside, the apses are decorated with attached columns, arched windows, horizontal mouldings and decorated corbels. The bell tower stands very nearby, its square shape highlighting its height and contrasting with the curved walls of the apses.

The rest of the monastic buildings were remodelled in the early 17th and early 18th centuries. The monastery was endowed with an elegant two-storey façade with moulded windows on the first floor and iron balconies on the second. The central body is decorated with the typical motifs of the Baroque: columns, balconies, a split pediment and a huge coat of arms.

The Baroque cloister, which replaced the medieval one, is square and has two floors that combine arcades on the ground floor with moulded balconies on the upper floor. It also preserves two Romanesque doors from the previous building.

San Salvador de Cornellana