This singular building is found in the South-eastern corner of the southerly arm of the cathedral transept. It constitutes the lower floor of the so-called Holy Chamber. Internally and with a rectangular floor plan, the Crypt is distributed into two spaces, nave and presbytery. It is covered by a brickwork vault. Its height is of approximately 2.30 metres, uniform throughout the nave and presbytery. It is perforated by four loopholes.
The construction known as the Holy Chamber of the cathedral of Oviedo comprises two superimposed and isolated sanctuaries, with independent accesses. We only have indirect indications to date it. However, its chronology seems to take us back to the times of Alfonso III (866-910), specifically to the results of the journey by the clergyman Dulcidio to Córdoba in year 883 as ambassador before emir Abdallah. As a sign of peace, the ambassador would have been authorised to take to Oviedo the remains of the bodies of the two martyr saints from Córdoba Eulogio and Leocricia, executed under the emirate of Muhammad, within the episode known as “the voluntary martyrs from Córdoba”, whose reliquaries would be deposited under the altar.
At the same time as the crypt was built, a shed or portico was added throughout the Northern front of the Holy Chamber. That preserved nowadays is the start of the wall closing the premises. The internal surface of this portico is covered by ten sepulchral slabs, parallel and oriented to in a West-East direction. The lack of space for more burials, its position at the level of the internal paving of the crypt, the monolithic slab covering and the nature of antropomorphous internal excavated tombs guarantee its use in the 10th and 11th centuries, when this kind of burial became common.
Even without forming part of the same constructive project as the crypt of Santa Leocadia, the upper floor, known as the Chapel of San Miguel since the beginnings of the 12th century, it is a functionally independent sanctuary from the one below. In October 1934, in an attempt by the revolutionaries to take over the cathedral, the crypt and the chapel suffered terrible damages due to blasting, leaving over half of the construction as rubble. The reconstruction was very extremely skilfully by several specialists, from among whom we should mention the archaeologist Manuel Gómez Moreno, architects Alejandro Ferrant and Luis Menéndez-Pidal and the sculptor Víctor Hevia Granda.
The chapel of San Miguel repeats the layout in two sectors of the Crypt: presbytery and nave. The nave was initially covered by wood, while the presbytery was barrel-roofed. Its construction was simultaneous to that of the crypt, with which it forms a single building.
It suffered a decisive modification of the nave in the last third of the 12th century: the wooden roof was dismantled, the original height of the walls was lowered 80 centimetres and a barrel roof was built, with three transverse arches profusely decorated with vegetation patterns, over rich imposts, which rest on columns over pedestals, in whose shafts the apostles were carved, constituting one of the summits of Hispanic Romanesque sculpture. The location order is the following:
Northern wall: to the West, San Simón and San Judas; in the centre, Santiago and San Juan; to the East, San Andrés and San Mateo.
Southern wall: to the West, Santo Tomás and San Bartolomé; in the centre, San Pedro and San Pablo; to the East, Santiago el Menor and San Felipe.
Oviedo/Uviéu. Cathedral of San Salvador. Plaza de Alfonso II El Castro.
985 21 96 42 (Holy Chamber)
985 20 31 17 (museum)
November to February:
Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00 h. 7th December, from 10:00 to 13:00 h. and from 16:00 to 17:00 h. Closed, 8th and 9th December.
March, April*, May and October:
Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00 h.
*From 10th to 15th April: Monday to Wednesday, from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 16:00 a 18:00 h. Thursday and Friday, from 10:00 to 14:00 h. Saturday, from 10:00 to 18:00 h.
Monday to Friday, from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 20:00 h. Saturdays, from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00 h.
July and August
Monday to Friday, from 10:00 to 20:00 h. Saturdays, from 10:00 to 18:00 h.
Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 19:00 h. Saturdays, from 10:00 to 18:00 h. And from 14th and 21st, from 10:00 to 17:00 h.
Last entrance 1 hour before the cathedral closes.
Closed: It will remain closed to visitors on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, and on Saturdays from 6:00pm. Closed, 8th and 9th December.
General entry to the Cathedral
Individuals (including audio guide), 13-65 years of age: 7.00 €.
Pensioners (including audio guide), groups of over 15 people and every tuesday: 6.00 €.
Schoolchildren from 12-18 years of age accompanied by a teacher, university students: 5,00 €.
Accredited pilgrims, large families and the unemployed: 4.00 €.
Partial tour* (Holy Chamber, Museum, Cloister)
Whenever liturgical celebrations are being held in the Central Nave.
General public: 5.00 €.
Accredited pilgrims, large families and the unemployed: 3.00 €.
Group rates, accompanied by accredited guides:
Full Visit: 5.00 €.
Partial Visit: 4.00 € (Only when religious celebrations are being held in the Central Nave).
Whenever liturgical celebrations are being held, there are only "partial" visits (Holy Chamber, Museum and Cloister)
Mass, check: catedraldeoviedo.com.