Located inside the neighbourhood of San Martin, and fully integrated in the urban fabric of Vitoria-Gasteiz, this medieval hermitage is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. Originally, the hamlet of Avendagnu (as it appears in the “Reja de San Millán”, 1025) was near Gasteiz, but preserved its independence from the future villa of Vitoria. Due to the expansion projects developed in the 20th century and the growth of the capital city of Alava, the hamlet disappeared. However, the hermitage has survived as the evidence of this place’s history. Anyway, as the historian Landázuri said in the 18th century, what once “was a great suburb, where neither dream nor house is, only the Church of Sant Martín has remained”. In other words, it is quite possible that, by then, the place was an abandoned area, from which the church, converted into a hermitage, is its surviving element.
The temple of Saint Martin of Abendaño shows a modest dimension that still maintains some medieval elements. In fact, its Romanesque cornices and large window, or even the many blocked off doors and entries clarify some of the many modifications this building has been into overtime.
Its straight apse is opened just by a semi-circular arch. The new parish hides part of the façade’s entrance from the north wall. Nevertheless, that could never be the original access to the temple, because it connects directly to the apse. Thus, it might be the old entrance to the sacristy.
Color photographs: © Álava Medieval / Erdi Aroko Araba.
Old photographs: Catálogo Monumental de la Diócesis de Vitoria (Vol. III).