Apart from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the Collegiate Church Santa María is the only church that has maintained its original Romanesque architecture style.
Observing the church closely, the most visible elements at first sight are the small steeple and the supporting arches, which were attached to the northern wall to prevent the church from collapsing.
The baptismal font is a special feature of the church and is right at the entrance, originating in the 12th century. Via the vestry one gets to one of the most beautiful Romanesque cloisters in Santiago de Compostela. Unfortunately, the only part left from the old Romanesque cloister is one wing, the others were added much later in the 17th and 18th century.
The church was built in the 12th century and the supporting arches were then applied in the 17th and 18th century, when the northern part of the church was slightly tilted outward. Why this ever happened cannot be traced back. Whether it was a mistake in the construction work, the vicinity to a flood zone or a mere construction mistake, hasn't been clearly recorded. The angled pillars and walls left the visitors astonished. The disadvantage, though, was that the semi-circular arches needed to be renewed in the 16th century.
- The day pass at Collegiate Church Santa María la Real do Sar is €2 making it the cheapest tourist attraction in Spain.
How to get there
Starting in the centre of Santiago de Compostela, follow the Rúa de Sar towards the east. Just after the underpass you'll find the church on the right-hand side.