A digital gate open to heritage
Oreitia is geographically located in the western Alavese Plains, ten kilometres away from the capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz. As the vast majority of the small towns that are scattered across this region, its history starts in the first medieval centuries and, at the same time, the history of its church also begins. What we can see today, the result of multiple transformations, tells us about a rich medieval past, a prosperous 16th century and a no less interesting Baroque. Together with Matauko, Oreitia paid 3 rejas (tithes) to the monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla in 1025, establishing itself as a town of certain importance and dimensions. Over its history, it has lived in close connection with the Sanctuary of Estíbaliz, leaving good proof of all of it in historical documentation.
Church of Saint Julian and Saint Basilissa
There is no trace of the Pre-Romanesque church left, since the history of the building that we can see today starts at the end of the 12th century. From this period, the magnificent Romanesque facade and a large window of the same style that appeared on the portico in a recent intervention are preserved. The facade is conceived as a triumphal arch with four slightly pointed archivolts. It is part of a family of facades, among which the ones in Durana and Otazu stand out, all of them carried out between the 12th and 13th centuries by high-quality workshops. One of the typical features of these stonemason teams is found on the inner archivolt, where a crafted decoration with crossed arches unfolds.
The east end, however, dates from later than the facade and the large window. It is very probable that there was a building of the 12th century that, for unknown reasons, would have been extended short after with a much more ambitious new east end. Some elements of the previous manufacture were relocated inside, such as the famous knight that is located over a huge oculus.
Current photographs: © Alava Medieval / Erdi Aroko Araba
Old photographs:: Archive of the Historical Territory of Álava