The Romanesque belt of Vitoria-Gasteiz
The famous “Green belt” at Vitoria-Gasteiz encircles its perimeter with parks, greenways and spaces that connect nature with its neighbourhoods. With the recent expansion of the city, many of the old villages near the medieval town were practically absorbed.
Nowadays, most villages maintain their traditional hamlets and parish churches, creating unique environments where nature, countryside and heritage amazingly merge.
“The Romanesque belt of Vitoria-Gasteiz” route includes some of the temples that preserve part of their Romanesque constructions. In this way, walking or riding on the “Green belt” or the greenways around the city, we will have the chance to visit truly interesting ancient churches.
Digitally opened churches
Located on the Zadorra’s riverbanks just 7 km away from Vitoria-Gasteiz, the town of Lopidana preserves a surprising temple with Romanesque origin: the parochial church of Our Lady of Purification. Besides, the church keeps inside an ensemble of high quality vaults that show the successive innovations incorporated into the medieval architecture.
Betoño’s council is almost integrated in the urban fabric of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the city to which it belongs. Saint Stephen church maintains its medieval past with the façade and other Modern Ages elements from several modifications.
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. Even though it has been into many modifications through history, it still preserves its medieval structure, and an outstanding painting ensemble.
Saint Stephen’s church was built in the end of the 12th century. It underwent important modifications and high-quality renovations. However, the current simple temple houses one of the richest Romanesque façades from Alava.
From Vitoria-Gasteiz to the council of Lasarte there is a pleasant walk that can be done on foot or by bicycle. Once there, we come across an imposing church that announces that we are in a town full of history. Although most of the building is from the 16th century, it preserves some of the most impressive Romanesque remains in the province of Alava.
The small town of Gardelegi is part of the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, and preserves its medieval church of Saint Peter. Indeed, the impressive building houses a set of interesting wall paintings behind the main altarpiece that originally occupied the apse of the church.
Located 7 km away from the city center of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the church of Saint Peter the Apostle of Monasterioguren is one of the most complete Romanesque churches of Alava. And even its Gothic tower and original portico are still standing.
The basilica of Saint Prudencio and Saint Andrew of Armentia, see of the cult to the patron saint in Alava San Prudencio, is located on the outskirts of the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. It was built as a collegiate church during the 12th century, but when its neighbouring town became more important, Armentia went into decline. Its worst moment was during the 18th century, when the basilica lost the cloister and other spaces from the ensemble.
A few metres away from the Roman thermae, the oldest remains of the town of Arkaia, we find the parochial church of the Nativity. Its abundant (although sometimes hidden) Romanesque remnants give us an idea of how the temple was like during the Middle Ages.