Asturian pre-Romanesque Architecture
Asturian pre-Romanesque Architecture refers to the assemblage of churches, buildings and artistic expression connected with the Kingdom of Asturias, which existed between the 8th and 10th centuries (718-910).
It is a unique, original architectural style identified by Melchor Gaspar de Jovellanos (1744-1811), a leading figure of the Enlightenment in Spain, who described it as “Asturian Art”, thus recognizing its exceptional qualities and its territorial connection with the Kingdom of Asturias.
The pre-Romanesque is the art of a kingdom, the Kingdom of Asturias, whose monarchs were the sponsors and creative force behind the development of an architectural style unique in the history of Western European art.
It is also a Christian art form, the artistic expression of the first Christian kingdom that arose in Spain, and in all of Western Europe, after the Muslims invade the Iberian Peninsula in 711. This kingdom arose at the moment of the greatest splendour of the Carolingian Empire and Al-Andalus.
Another of its singular features is that this architectural style is recorded, mentioned and described in the documents of the era in the Asturian Chronicles (Chronicle of Albelda and Chronicle of Alfonso III in both versions, Codex Rotensis and Codex ad Sebastianum).
It constitutes an ensemble of architecture, sculpture, painting and goldsmithing that embodies, in stone, gold and metal, the history of an era and a Kingdom. An ensemble of artistic expressions that has survived to the present day unusually well-conserved and that constitutes one of the most outstanding examples of Western European art in the Middle Ages. Its conservation was possible because all the buildings have remained in use from their origins until the present time.
Almost all these buildings are pre-Romanesque churches or churches of pre-Romanesque origin, many of them are parish churches where parishioners continue to worship today, who, together with their parish priest have contributed decisively to maintaining them over the centuries. This circumstance has contributed to the conservation of these singular buildings, since the use and function for which they have been built continues uninterrupted.
The diocese of Oviedo has made a commitment to conserve, promote and manage this exceptional cultural and spiritual heritage in a sustainable manner, since it is one of the best examples of the cultural wealth of the Principality of Asturias and one of the features of its identity.
Archbishopric of Oviedo
Otilia Requejo Pagés. Cultural Assets Office.
Cristina Heredia Alonso. Art Historian.
César García de Castro. Archaeological Museum of Asturias.
Lorenzo Arias Páramo. University of Oviedo.
Marco G. Recuero.
Esperanza Martí Hernández.