GRANARIES of the ASTURIAS

Asturias

Located at the North of Spain, lengthened from East to West between the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains, the province of Asturies is an agricultural and wet area with the tormented relief.
To ensure the drying of their harvests and to preserve them, Asturians developed simple and original constructions, the horreos, that one can see in abundance in all the zones of the province.

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The traditional asturian model

It is a small timber construction of square plan from 4 to 6 meters on side with a roof with 4 slopes of the pyramidal shape covered with tiles. This attic rests on 4 pillars which raise it above ground-level. It is named horreo.
This small simple and modest shelter is in fact a very elaborate construction.
The stone pillars
(pegallos) are surmounted by a flat stone (muela) which prohibits the rodents from penetrating. A piece of wood (taza) resting on the muela is used to compensate for the differences in level and ensures the contact between this stone and the attic.
All the wood construction is carried out without any nail, only with ankles, which it make a light and dismountable building (one of the first prefabricated construction).
Wood (chesnut tree or oak of the country to the good mechanical properties) of course were chosen, cut at the good time and were well stored. The details of the assembly of the beams which form the framework of the base
(trabes) , the top of the walls (liños) and the vertical boards of the walls (colondras) as well as elements of the roof make of it a balanced and very rigid structure able to defy time.
Front of the gate, an external stone staircase does not touch construction and remains lower than the board of support resting on the end of the beams and which is used for the access (always for the rodents).
For other details of construction (site in Spanish but explicit drawings)
To protect harvests from moisture and the rodents was not enough; still had they to be guaranteed against the bad forces which could all waste. And the mythology of Asturias is very rich witch, gnomists and other beings jokers. From where these geometrical signs and these drawings symbolic systems, today very unobtrusive, which decorated a number of horreos.
The horreos that one admires today in the villages are more than centenaires. According to certain authors, their origin would be former to the Roman empire. Texts of the middle age attest its presence at that time. But it is towards XIVe or XVe century that it stabilized its technique of construction and asset its form current, and in the XVII and XVIIIe centuries that one built some more with the development of agriculture. Until XXe century the horreos were essential for the rural life. Moderated in winter and fresh in summer, isolated from moisture, one preserved at it cereals, vegetables and potatoes, as well as the pork-butchery and other products. It was given like dowry, and if the girl married apart from the village, it was dismounted and transported close to its new residence.
When do the horreos date that one meets nowadays (there would be even more than 20 OOO)? The people whom I questioned on this subject provided me evasive answers of the kind " it is much older than me! ".



Nontraditional Horreo of high Leon
With its walls of beams assembled from bottom to the top what gives him a strong rigidity and the state of its wood, I estimate that it must have 200 or 300 years. Perhaps more?
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