The most autochthonous architecture of Asturias loses its roots more than a thousand years ago. The traces of the court in Asturian territory are now more admired than ever for their unique artistic accent. In 1985 UNESCO gave its support for a new cult in the vicinity of these buildings. He declared that the monumental heritage of Oviedo was in reality a Heritage, giving way to the cult of culture, the art of knowing how to look and scrutinize the habits of ancient societies that lived in this same territory.
In Asturias 14 buildings are located with a lower or higher degree of conservation, mainly in the center of the region. And in the Monte del Naranco, at whose feet the city of Oviedo is growing, two of the most representative monuments of pre-Romanesque Asturian art coincide. In them it is clear that architecture and sculpture are intimately linked. They are buildings stretched but of proportional dimensions and without great fuss. Utilitarian forms, austere ornament, which in the background propose very good stylistic arguments, an aesthetic unity of all the elements that surprises more by the early date in which it arises.
The city of Oviedo, as capital of the kingdom of Asturias that was, keeps notorious architectural gems that were forged during 200 years of monarchy and Asturian pre-Romanesque art. Since the reign of Don Pelayo began in the year 722 until the death of Alfonso III in the 910, when the royal capital moves to León.
Santa María del Naranco
The popular palace of Santa María del Naranco It was originally conceived as a royal residence, hunting palace and resting place of Ramiro I. Its beauty and functionality have already been admired in the Middle Ages. It consists of two floors, the upper one is a large vaulted room that opens to the outside through two large viewpoints. In the same century of its construction, ninth century, it was transformed into a church. They are to emphasize their capitals of Byzantine type, that yes, with the typical sogueado Asturian, and the representations of animals and human figures. In the vicinity of the monument there is a Interpretation Hall, and its explanatory panels illustrate the different stages of Asturian Pre-Romanesque Art.
San Miguel de Lillo
At a short distance we find San Miguel de Lillo or Liño. A royal temple that is supposed to correspond to the palace nearby the monarch. This monument has reached our days very altered. In the thirteenth century it sank partly due to the poor conditions of the land on which it sits. Of its original layout only the western body and the first section of the ships are conserved. The decorative section is very interesting, the reliefs that are in the jambs of the doors are of an exquisite invoice; as well as the latticework and the interior tribune, designed to dignify the religious ceremonies that the king attended.
If we do not have too much hurry we can continue up, until we crown the mountain. There we can enjoy some really aerial views of the city of Oviedo.
San Julián de los Prados
Another beautiful example of Asturian pre-Romanesque architecture is located at the entrances to the city on its eastern slope. It is none other than the church of San Julián de los Prados or Santullano , as it is popularly known. King Alfonso II the Chaste dedicated to San Julián and his wife Santa Basilisa this beautiful church. It dates from the ninth century and at that time was integrated into his palace outside the walls of Oviedo. It is the largest pre-Romanesque temple that is preserved in Spain. It has three naves with a transept and three square-headed apses. In parallel to its architecture, Santullano retains a pictorial repertoire that turns it into one of the most singular churches of the Spanish high medieval art. It is known that the frescoes covered the entire interior, including the roof, and have been linked with mural paintings of the Pompeian tradition.
The Asturian pre-Romanesque is still that unusual and in Oviedo we can enjoy it in its sauce, with a visit that can be prolonged what each one decides.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com