Discover the Asturian pre-Romanesque

by / Monday, 16 April 2018 / Published in News

Among the many secrets of the artistic and cultural heritage in Asturias, today we’ll highlight the pre-Romanesque, a very important architectural ensemble built between the 8th and the 10th centuries. If you like the medieval style, the Principality of Asturias offers you one of the best medieval sets of the entire European continent. In fact, they are part of the Unesco World Heritage List. Are you going to miss it? Include the Asturian pre-Romanesque in your holidays in Spain!


Santa María del Naranco

Our tour begins in Oviedo. Specifically, in the palace of Santa María del Naranco, residence of the Asturian King Ramiro I. It is an imposing rectangular construction of 21 meters long and 6 meters wide, divided into two floors and with a height of 9 meters. It stands out for its barrel vault and its side chambers, which have two large vantage points covered by vaulted arches. These arches are, by the way, one of the great tourist attractions of Asturias, so taking a picture here is mandatory.

Nuestro recorrido empieza en Oviedo. En concreto, en el palacio de Santa María del Naranco, residencia del rey asturiano Ramiro I. Se trata de una imponente construcción rectangular de 21 metros de largo por 6 de ancho, dividida en dos plantas y con una altura de 9 metros. Destaca por su bóveda de cañón y por sus cámaras laterales, las cuales cuentan con dos grandes miradores cubiertos por arcos abovedados. Estos arcos, por cierto, una de las grandes imágenes turísticas de Asturias, por lo que hacerse una foto aquí es obligatorio.

San Miguel de Lillo

We continue to walk through the mount Naranco, in Oviedo. A few meters from Santa María del Naranco you’ll find San Miguel de Lillo, a small pre-Romanesque church built in the year 842 a.C. by Ramiro I. It is a small palatine temple that shines, especially, for its interior. It has a complex vaulted roof and various reliefs on the rocks that shape the construction. Also for its arches and columns, as well as for the small windows carved in the stone. It is located in a beautiful natural setting that is worth visiting.

Seguimos de paseo por el Naranco, en Oviedo. A pocos metros de Santa María se encuentra San Miguel de Lillo, una pequeña iglesia prerrománica construida en el año 842 por Ramiro I. Se trata de un pequeño templo palatino que brilla, sobre todo, por su interior. Cuenta con una compleja cubierta abovedada y diversos relieves sobre las rocas que dan forma a la construcción. También por sus arcos y columnas, así como por las pequeñas ventanas talladas en la piedra. Se encuentra situada en un paraje natural bellísimo que merece la pena visitar.

Holy Chamber in Oviedo

The Holy Chamber of the Cathedral of Oviedo, built in the 9th century (it is the oldest part of the cathedral next to the old tower), keeps a special charm. Its function has been the same since its construction: protect the cathedral treasure and the relics. Among them, the crosses of the Victory (symbol of Asturias) and the Angels (of Oviedo) stand out, as well as the “Caja de las Ágatas” (a rich piece of medieval goldsmithing that is more than 1,000 years old) and the Holy Ark (from the 11th century), which holds large relics such as the Holy Shroud.

La Cámara Santa de la catedral de Oviedo, levantada en el siglo IX (es la parte más antigua de la catedral junto a la torre vieja), guarda un encanto especial. Su función ha sido la misma desde su construcción: proteger el tesoro catedralicio y las reliquias. Entre ellas, destacan las cruces de la Victoria (símbolo de Asturias) y de los Ángeles (de Oviedo), además de la Caja de las Ágatas (una riquísima pieza de orfebrería medieval de más de 1.000 años de antigüedad) y el Arca Santa (del siglo XI), que guarda grandes reliquias como el Santo Sudario.

San Salvador de Valdediós

Travel to Villaviciosa, where the church of San Salvador de Valdediós (known as ‘the Conventín’ because of its small size) is located. The King Alfonso III ordered its construction, whose date is not entirely clear to historians. But for sure it was consecrated in the year 930 (the 892 of our era), so that, surely, was raised in the 9th century. This church was declared as a historical and artistic monument and stands out, above all, for the cannon vaults, the arches that separate the three naves of the temple and the exterior porch. Like San Miguel de Lillo, ‘El Conventín’ is located in an enviable natural setting.


Are you thinking of visiting Asturias? Do not hesitate. In Hidden in Spain we can help you organize a tailor made holidays in the north of Spain. Contact us!