Ermita de Santa Maria de Melque, San Martin de Montalban

#93 of 265 in Things to do in Province of Toledo
Landmark · Tourist Spot
Santa María de Melque is a church in the border municipality of San Martín de Montalbán in the province of Toledo (in Spain), 30 km south of the capital, and equidistant from the towns of La Puebla de Montalbán and Gálvez, between the brook Ripas and the river Torcón, a tributary of the river Tagus.
Of the entire complex, recently restored, the church stands out, exemplary Mozarabic-Visigothic, as the most important religious monument of the Early Middle Ages in Spain.
Currently, the church, which occupies the center of the complex, and the center of interpretation which has been installed in the adjoining rooms, also restored, can be visited. The scenery that is observed from Santa María is also characteristic of the area.
Santa María de Melque came into being as a monastic collection in the 7th and 8th centuries inside of what was the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom, Toledo. Construction commenced in the 7th century, coinciding with the end of the Visigothic kingdom, and probably came to a halt with the arrival of the Arabs, to be continued later.
There was originally a Roman settlement on that location, with five dams across the two brooks that surround the small, rocky hill. Next the monastery was built with the buildings organized around the church.
The Muslim conquest of the Iberian peninsula did not immediately end with this monastic nucleus, because there are testimonies of the survival of a Mozarabic community that later disappeared. Its constructions were used as urban nucleus and its church was fortified with the construction of a tower on the dome of the church, tower that is still preserved. Water from rain and from the gullys was detained by means of dams placed both sides of the complex.
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  • Santa Maria de Melque is an old Visigothic church that was taken over by the Templars during Spain's interminable Reconquista. This is a spectacular and rare example of nearly pristine Visigothic...  more »
  • A very interesting place for those interested in the history of Spain as it's the oldest church in the country
  • A must visit for anybody interested in the history of Spain. The last time I visited it some 20 years ago it was abandoned and a little worse for wear. Thankfully it has been cleaned and full restored to its former glory.
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