We found two wonderful Romanesque churches outside Zamora, just beyond the walls. So many of these early churches inside the walls have been changed, or highly decorated. It was a joy to find these two which remain much simpler.
Santiago el Viejo
Santiago el Viejo1 stands in the fields, known as La Vega, or the Campo de la Verde where there were Mediaeval jousts. The fields are under the castle walls and alongside a little stream, the Valorio. The church probably dates from the 10th-11th centuries and it is the smallest of the Romanesque churches in Zamora. It also looked much cruder, perhaps just earlier than the first Romanesque churches we found in the Picos de Europa on our last visit.
Legend has it that Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, was knighted in this church.
The church was declared a national monument in 1931.
Inside the church
The building has a strong atmosphere – one senses the passing of time, almost a tiredness or resignation. The carvings on the capitals are strange – fantastical animals, tangles of figures, and Adam and Eve.
Walking along the river
You can walk under the walls, through a little park and along the river to find the next Romanesque church. It is quiet and pleasant – a nice place to live.
San Claudio de Olivares
San Claudio de Olivares hides in a small square between houses and close to the mills on the River Duero. It may date from the 12th century but it may also be older. The origin of the church is uncertain.
Inside San Claudio de Olivares
There are two wonderful Romanesque churches outside Zamora. Unlike many of the other Romanesque churches in Zamora they are mainly unchanged. Both churches are atmospheric, and there are strange carvings on the capitals inside. They are both a must-visit if you are in Zamora.