A digital gate open to heritage
The church of the Nativit (Arkaia)
Located at the boundaries of the new neighbourhood of Salburua in the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, although still an independent town, Arkaia serves as a link between the capital and the surrounding rural world. Despite its small size, it is an enclave full of historical remains that shed light on its age. Its excavated site is worth mentioning, which, although it is modest, reveals the existence of some thermal baths that worked during the Roman era in Álava. Some Romanesque remains still survive in its church, most of them hidden, which tell us about the continuity of the settlement on this area. However, that medieval past is masked by the renovations made on the 18th century according to the neoclassical fashion and in which one of the best architects of the time took part: Justo Antonio de Olaguibel.
The church of the Nativity
A few metres away from the Roman baths, the oldest remains of the town of Arkaia, we find the parish church of the Nativity. The abundant (although sometimes hidden) Romanesque remains scattered along the entire building allow us to get an idea of its appearance in the Middle Ages. The form of the primitive nave of the church is deduced on its northern side, where a line of corbels that show their original dimensions has been preserved.
The primitive facade
The facade that corresponds to this primitive temple still remains between the walls of the building. When the Renaissance renovation was performed, it had to be moved to adapt to the new volumes of the temple and, although it is not perceived from the outside, it is still located at the same point of the portico where we can contemplate the current entrance. From the access stairs that lead to the tower we can see how on the false ceiling created by the portico, built on the 18th century, the archivolts of the Romanesque facade still endure, which are decorated with acanthus leaves. On the same access to the tower we can also see one of the Romanesque capitals with vegetable decoration that the original church had.
De las fotografías actuales: © Alava Medieval / Erdi Aroko Araba
De las fotografías antiguas: Archivo del Territorio Histórico de Álava.