Santa Maria de la Piscina

One of the jewels of the Patrimony of the Shire is without doubt Santa Maria of the swimming-pool. Its foundation dates back to 1136, being consecrated the following year. Looks like it was built in three phases. In the first the headboard was lifted; At the end of the 12th century the central nave was built and, finally, in the XIII, the ship of the divises and the tower would be added. Despite these phases, the Church has a remarkable constructive homogeneity.

It has some remarkable singularities like its curious tower without staircase and the terraced room in the north face whose use is not yet completely clarified.

Its origin is linked to the First Crusade and the presence of Ramiro de Navarra. This one helped to siege Jerusalem and entered the city by the door of the forensic evidence pool. In his will he leaves his son in charge to build a church in his territories of closed Peña in memory of this fact.

The south façade features four buttresses topped with eight-petal flower pairs. Only two original Conecillos are preserved, but very unique. One presents a strange quadruped seized to a branch. The other one seems to be some kind of dancer. On access you can see a large shield, much later at the time of the original construction. Represents the currency shield. (The current work is a copy of the one that was placed in the 16th century that was very deteriorated).

The apse is semicircular with a single window showing vegetal decoration. It retains some original corbels. One represents a feline with the head turned; Another shows a scene with clear sexual connotations.

The north-sided building is part of what would probably be the house of the currency. The building has three entrances (north, east and west). They are very simple and lack decoration. It also has two narrow windows as a arrow.

The Western Wall is smooth and presents mechinales that indicate that attached to it must have been some type of construction. The tower rests on the first section of the vault, has low height and is of square floor.

The interior is very sober and must have had abundant pictorial decoration, today almost disappeared completely. It presents some very beautiful capitals with an infrequent invoice in the territory. Highlights one of the first section that represents captives chained.

At the foot of the church there is a necropolis dated between the 10th and 12th centuries. It corresponds to a village that was prior to the construction of the church. It would be abandoned in the 14th century. In the Necropolis, 49 tombs have been located plus four others on the east side of the church. It has some difficult to interpret elements like the piles that appear between the graves. Especially curious is a circular pile that is located in the center of the whole. Some consider it a baptismal font and could correspond to a previous temple. Another of the existing batteries is believed to correspond with a pool for the ritual lavatory of cadavers.

In the vicinity we can visit the dolmen of the Cascaja.

To visit the interior of the church you can contact the town hall of San Vicente de la Sonsierra.

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