SAN PEDRO DE NORA
- Declared National Monument on June 3, 1931.
- Initially restaured in 1935 by the architect Alejandro Ferrant under the direction of Manuel Gómez Moreno, who did not eliminate the compartments added to the original structure.
- It was burnt during the Civil War (see photograph) and rebuilt as of 1950 by Luis Menéndez Pidal, eliminating the elements alien to its original structure though avoiding the remake of the lateral compartments and adding a belfry at the northeast, of which no trace existed.
This small church, recorded for the first time in a donation document of Alphonse the Third in 905 is considered today that it was built in the times of Alphonse the Second due to its similarity with Santullano y Santa María de Bendones, though it could also be a rural church of the end of the ninth century, as suggested by Schlunk. Declared National Monument in 1931, burnt in 1936 and faithfully rebuilt by Luis Menéndez Pidal, it is today a very interesting example of the Asturian Pre-Romanesque Art.
Located in a beautiful place near the Nora river, it looks as a very attractive rural version of San Julián de los Prados, though better stylized due to a higher length/width ratio. It has a basilical plan with three naves and three apses forming a trapezium of 18m long, 13m wide in the main façade and 12m in the chevet, which is flat with three apses and a rectangular window on each one of them. Besides these three windows linteled with a discharging arch in brick and protected by lattice, there is also a triforium window in the chevet’s upper plan upon a chamber that, similar to Santullano, it is placed on top of the central apse, and neither offers any communication with the interior of the church. Following the same model it also counts with buttresses, though, in this case, only in the separation of the apses and in the laterals of the chevet. There is a rectangular portico at its feet, somewhat narrower than the main nave, rebuilt during the restauration, according to the remains that were still kept. Originally, this portico could have had two lateral chambers, although no proofs have been found during the excavations, and its similarity with Santullano, that has only one central portico, makes it less probable. However remains of the compartments attached to the aisles have been found, which shape and utility are unknown, though it has been demonstrated that they had two heights. During the reconstruction, a belfry tower was added, probably inspired in the one in Santa María de Bendones, but no traces have been found to let us think that there had been another one in San Pedro de Nora.
The church is built with small stone masonry with ashlars in the corners and flat cover on the three naves, separated by four round arches in brick, somewhat casted on square pillars with framed bases and imposts, being the width of the main nave twice as much as that of the lateral ones. The three apses, narrower than the naves due to the great thickness of the walls that separate them, are communicated between them and also with the naves through round arches in brick, covered by barrel vaults. The main chapel is a bit narrower than the main nave. Its similarity with Santullano is absolutely clear, although in this case, being a church of much lesser importance, for which a royal tribune in the clergy zone would not have been mandatory, there is no the great crossing nave that we find in the basilic of Oviedo; therefore the structure of San Pedro de Nora, despite having a trapezoidal shape ressembles more a classical basilic.
The interior, that keeps some rests of the original stucco paintings presents the outstanding visual effect produced by the light narrowing in the church from the base to the chevet that highlights the sensation of depth. It has an adequate illumination of the naves, provided by three good sized rectangular windows at each side of the main nave, above the roof of the aisles, that, in this case, are not centred upon the arches like in Santullano, and through a big open window above the portico in the west façade. As we have mentioned, the chevet also counts with its own lighting through a good sized rectangular window on each apse’s testero. The good illumination added to the great height of the main nave -11m- and to the mentioned visual effect, provides a vision of the interior of a very well balanced and attractive aesthetics.
In spite of its humble proportions and simple structure, San Pedro de Nora is a good example of the Asturian Pre-Romanesque Art and thanks to its careful reconstruction, its interesting parallel with Santullano and the charm of the place, we strongly recommend a visit to all travelers.
Other interesting information
Access; Out of Oviedo take A-63 to Grado-La Espina. Take N-634 until exit 9 to Trubia and divert to Nora at a roundabout at some 2Km. You can see the church at the left of the highway. GPS Coordinates: 43º 22′ 8,65″N 5º 57′ 43,17″W.
Information Telephone: Consejería de Cultura, Sol street Nº 8, 33009 Oviedo: 985 106 737 or 985 106 700
Visiting hours: Ask in the village; they keep the key.
Arte Pre-románico Asturiano: Antonio Bonet Correa
SUMMA ARTIS: Tomo VIII
L’Art Preroman Hispanique: ZODIAQUE
Ars Hispanie: Tomo II
Arte Asturiano: José Manuel Pita Andrade
La intervención en la arquitectura prerrománica asturiana: Jorge Hevia Blanco
Guía del Arte Prerrománico Asturiano: Lorenzo Arias Páramo