Although it has gone little noticed by the world, there is architecture in the mountains of northern Spain that is as old as that of the Carolingians. It was built by a dynasty that was founded earlier and lasted longer than the empire of Charlemagne.
Against this backdrop, the pre-Romanesque architecture of Asturias emerged during the second half of the 8th century.
The main work of architecture is the Santa Maria del Naranco, a World Heritage Site, built on the mountain of the same name. The structure was erected as a summer palace above the capital Oviedo under King Ramiro I (842-50).
The hall and cellar are single-aisled and barrel-vaulted.
Today's visitors will see the main building of the palace, which was severely damaged a few centuries after its creation by a landslide, and subsequently consecrated as a church. There is nothing that reminds us of this period.
The photo still conveys the building’s function as a summer palace.
During the first half of the 20th century, those responsible realized once more the value of this building from the Asturian pre-Romanesque period. Adjacent religious buildings were removed and typical architectural details were worked out.
The building nowadays is therefore the foremost example of Asturian, pre-Romanesque architecture.