Abajas, Burgos

Santa María la Mayor

The church of Santa María la Mayor, perched high above the town of Abajas, was constructed in the second half of the twelfth century. The first construction phase took place mid-century, encapsulating the body of the church and the apse; the Romanesque south portal was sculpted later, around 1175. The portal’s tympanum is relatively simple, decorated with a motif of two beasts (now missing) that flank a central column. This composition is quite common in Islamic art, especially as a repeating motif on textiles. Outlining this central space is a polylobed arch within a band of billeting, then followed by a figural archivolt. Make sure to examine the details of the archivolt in the gigapans below – for example, note the dog acrobatically balancing on the flank of a rider’s horse.    

Click on any highlighted section to view a gigapan (zoomable image). Gigapans open a new window. 

© Liz Lastra