Asturian Architecture: A Journey Through Time

12/7/20233 min read

two person walking near building
two person walking near building


Asturias, a region located in the north of Spain, is known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and unique architectural styles. From ancient stone houses to modern eco-friendly designs, Asturian architecture offers a fascinating journey through time. In this blog post, we will explore the architectural heritage of rural Asturias, highlighting the distinct features and influences that have shaped its buildings over the centuries.

Ancient Stone Houses: Witnessing the Past

One of the most remarkable aspects of Asturian architecture is the prevalence of ancient stone houses. These structures, often referred to as "casas de indianos," were built by Asturians who emigrated to the Americas and returned with newfound wealth. These houses served as a symbol of status and prosperity, showcasing intricate stonework and ornate facades.

The stone used in these houses is typically sourced from local quarries, giving them a unique character that blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. The thick stone walls provide excellent insulation, keeping the interiors cool in summer and warm in winter. Many of these houses feature traditional Asturian balconies, adorned with intricate wrought-iron railings and colorful flower pots.

Pre-Romanesque Architecture: A Testament to History

Asturias is also renowned for its pre-Romanesque architecture, which dates back to the 9th and 10th centuries. These structures, built during the Asturian Kingdom, are a testament to the region's rich history and cultural heritage.

One of the most iconic examples of pre-Romanesque architecture in Asturias is the Santa María del Naranco. This former palace, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcases intricate carvings, horseshoe arches, and a stunning view of the surrounding countryside. Another notable example is the San Miguel de Lillo, a small church with a distinctive cruciform plan and beautiful frescoes.

These pre-Romanesque buildings reflect a blend of Visigothic, Byzantine, and Islamic influences, resulting in a unique architectural style that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Asturian Gothic: A Blend of Tradition and Innovation

During the Middle Ages, Asturias witnessed the rise of Gothic architecture, which brought with it a new era of innovation and grandeur. Asturian Gothic buildings often feature pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and intricate stone tracery.

One of the most striking examples of Asturian Gothic architecture is the Oviedo Cathedral. This magnificent structure, dedicated to San Salvador, showcases a blend of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance elements. The cathedral's towering spires, rose windows, and ornate altarpieces are a visual feast for visitors.

Another notable example is the Church of Santa María del Conceyu in Gijón. This 13th-century church features a beautiful rose window and a stunning bell tower, showcasing the intricate stonework that is characteristic of Asturian Gothic architecture.

Modernism: Embracing Innovation

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Asturias experienced a period of rapid industrialization, which led to the emergence of a new architectural style known as Modernism. This movement, also known as "Art Nouveau," embraced innovation and sought to break away from traditional architectural norms.

Modernist buildings in Asturias often feature asymmetrical facades, organic motifs, and elaborate wrought-iron balconies. One of the most famous examples of Modernist architecture in Asturias is the Casa del Cuitu, located in Oviedo. This striking building, designed by Manuel del Busto, showcases a combination of Modernist and regionalist elements, with its colorful tiles and intricate wrought-iron balconies.

Eco-Friendly Designs: Building for the Future

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on sustainable and eco-friendly architecture in Asturias. Architects and designers are incorporating innovative techniques and materials to create buildings that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally conscious.

One such example is the Niemeyer Center in Avilés. Designed by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, this cultural center is a masterpiece of modern architecture. Its curved forms, large windows, and use of natural light create a harmonious connection between the building and its surroundings.

Another notable example is the EcoMuseo Minero Valle de Samuño. This museum, located in the mining town of Langreo, showcases the region's mining heritage while incorporating sustainable design principles. The building features solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and energy-efficient materials, making it a shining example of eco-friendly architecture.


Asturian architecture offers a captivating journey through time, showcasing the region's rich history and cultural heritage. From ancient stone houses to modern eco-friendly designs, the buildings of Asturias reflect the influences of different eras and architectural styles.

Whether you are exploring the pre-Romanesque structures, marveling at the grandeur of Gothic cathedrals, or admiring the innovative designs of Modernist buildings, Asturian architecture is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, come and embark on a journey through time as you explore the unique architectural styles of rural Asturias.