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The collegiate church of Santa Juliana de Santillana del Mar (Cantabria, Spain), to which this Cantabrian town owes its name (Sant Iuliana-Santillana), is one of the most representative Romanesque monuments in the region. It was declared a Spanish National Monument on 12 March 1889. The young Julianne of Nicomedia was supposedly martyred in Asia Minor (now Turkey) during the persecutions undertaken by the Emperor Diocletian at the end of the 3rd century, and her remains were brought to this part of the Kingdom of Asturias by some pilgrim monks in the 9th century. During the reign of King Alfonso III of Asturias (documents place it in 870), a hermitage was built under the patronage of the saint to guard and venerate her relics, and later on a monastery that prospered under the protection of the local nobility. King Ferdinand I of Castile, in 1045, gave it a definitive boost by granting important privileges, one of which consisted of placing the town and its possessions under the sovereignty of its abbot.© iStock / Alberto Carrera
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