Portada de la Antigua Iglesia de San Isidoro (Arch of the Old Church of San Isidoro) – Oviedo, Spain - Atlas Obscura
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Oviedo, Spain

Portada de la Antigua Iglesia de San Isidoro (Arch of the Old Church of San Isidoro)

The surviving remnants of a destroyed medieval church now stand in a public park. 

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This distinctly Gothic arch stands in the center of Oviedo’s verdant San Francisco Park. It looks like a portal to a mystical realm. 

The arch is all that remains of the Iglesia San Isidro, an early medieval church built in the 1200s that once stood not far away in Oviedo’s Plaza del Paraguas. Generations of the faithful, both rich and poor, passed through the ornate Romanesque archway.

In the 1920s, the local government decided to demolish the church due its state of disrepair and a need to build more economic housing for the city’s growing population. The building was therefore destroyed, but the doorway, perhaps due to its superb stone masonry, was temporarily spared by admiring demolition workers. It was later saved permanently thanks to the efforts a local historic society that managed to purchase it and have it moved elsewhere. 

A few years later, the arch was given a brand new home in the San Francisco Park, where the general public could continue to see it.  It remains there to this day, an atmospheric landscape feature that, like everything in Oviedo, is awash in local history.

Know Before You Go

The park and its doorway can be seen for free, just walk around the ornamental duck pond and you will find it standing adjacent to a small cafe.

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