Monastery Church of Santiago of Peñalba

  • Peñalba

A Mozarabic architectural jewel in the province of León. 
The hermit monk San Genadio, who later became Bishop of Astorga, founded this monastery, built between 909 and 916. 
The church is of a later date. It was consecrated in 1105.

In 1968 the reconstruction of the temple began. Work would continue until 1976. 
The foundations of the monastery, occupying a wide area, were unearthed in 1985.

The building, admirably well-preserved despite its age, from the outside offers a harmonious image with well-proportioned sections.

The church has a rectangular nave cut in two sections. Attached to both sides of the second section are the vestry rooms, which gives the nave the false shape of a Latin cross on different levels.

The chancel has an apse with a totally semi-circular design.

Monasterio iglesia de Santiago de Peñalba de Santiago
Horseshoe arches on Attic bases separate the two sections of the nave, with capitals decorated with acanthus leaves.

The lateral vestries are reached through doors decorated with horseshoe arches based on corbels.

Some parts of the temple are innovatively covered.

The apse chapels each have vaults with seven mouldings on the second section of the nave, with tunnel vaults on flat supports.

The south portal is a large load-bearing horseshoe arch.

The door consists of two geminated horseshoe arches on three marble columns with Attic bases and capitals with acanthus leaves under cymatia with triple scotia.

There is also a north portal with a single horseshoe arch.

The building has few windows and slate roofing.

On the interior walls, remarkable remains of the decorative mural paintings have survived, though mostly covered by plaster. The 10th century votive brass cross is nowadays kept in the Museo de León. 
Historical information
State:  Only the church has been preserved but in very good condition. Century:  10th Century Year:  909 
Province:  León