Aviso Aviso
Due to the measures gradually being taken to manage the coronavirus, many events and scheduled activities are undergoing modification or cancellation. We therefore recommend that you reconfirm the contents published on this website.
To see and do

Church of San Martín in Artáiz

Churches and chapels


Church of San Martín in Artáiz - Iglesia de San Martín de Artáiz
icono pie de fotoIglesia de San Martín de Artáiz


Iglesia de San Martín de Artáiz
This small village in the Unciti valley contains one of the most beautiful examples of rural Romanesque architecture in Navarre. The construction of the church stated in the 12th century, as its simple single-nave design reveals. In the gothic era a set of murals was added; these are now kept in the Museo de Navarra and are considered to be among the oldest of their kind.

The real charm of this jewel of the monumental heritage of Navarre lies in its rich and elaborate sculpture, in which the work of different masons can be seen. With the decoration of the pediment and the capitals of the front is more complex and shows plant, animal and human motifs.

As for thedogs in the overhanging eaves, despite the size of their heads, with big bulging eyes and strong cheekbones, the power and beauty with which they are made are undeniable. They reveal a lively world of unsophisticated figures that has a clear moralistic value.

The sound of the zither (a lyre with a sound box) and the rebec seem to echo while a dancer with her hands on her waist gets ready to follow the music with her movements. A magical scene which, nevertheless, condemns the lustful behaviour and search for worldly pleasures that rural society indulged in during the mediaeval epoch.

Another thing that was strongly rebuked at the time was adultery, as we can see from another image. A naked women is giving birth to a baby that carries a dagger; a very original idea indeed. The toga worn by the woman shows that she is married, in contrast to mistresses, who are usually depicted with their hair loose.

The antithesis of this and other vices is symbolised by the Christian knight sculpted on the end of the eave, representing all the virtues that good men and women should show.

Between the corbels emerge metopes with engravings of the Day of Judgement, the descent into hell or the fight between brothers, among others. The size of the characters depends on their protagonism and importance in the scene.

As well as all this, another outstanding feature are the fighting gauntlions, which represent the duality of good and evil. While the one on the left devours men the one on the right protects them between its claws.

Overall, this church is a fascinating and surprising place that lovers of Romanesque should not miss. Another attraction is the Romanesque Interpretation Centre located in the old school, which explains the secrets of the construction of the building.


Opening hours, dates and guide prices. We recommend you confirm with the entity in question.