Santa Cristina de Lena

“Pre-Romanesque” is a confusing architectural term. The style didn’t appear until centuries after the Romans, so it’s not exactly pre-Roman at all. Instead, the term refers to buildings which pre-date the Romanesque architecture of medieval times, named so because of its rounded Roman arches.

Photos Christina de Lena Ovieo Pre-romanesque

Further adding to the confusion is that the term “Pre-Romanesque” doesn’t have a concrete definition. There are no defining characteristics that relate the Pre-Romanesque architecture of Spain to that of, say, Croatia. It’s just a generic designation for any Western architecture that predates the Romanesque.

In other words, “Pre-Romanesque Architecture” has nothing whatsoever to do with Romans, nor with an architectural style. Maybe I’m slow, but that confused me for weeks.

The only Pre-Romanesque architecture in Spain is found in Asturias, since the rest of the peninsula was under the rule of the Moors (with their non-Western Mozarabic style). In and around Oviedo, there are many well-preserved examples, including the Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo. A less-visited church lays about 30km south of the city: Santa Cristina de Lena.

Photo Archive Santa Cristina de Lena

High up on a hill with an incredible view of the valley, the ancient church was constructed in the year 852. Those kind of dates still blow my mind: more than the length of my life squared. There’s clearly been a lot of reconstruction on the Santa Cristina, but the custodian pointed out many elements which are original, including a 7th-century Visigoth lattice which was worked into the decoration. This was a church built for the use of the king, with a royal tribune above the entranceway, and we found engravings of shells, indicating that it must have been (and probably still is) a minor stop on the Camino de Santiago.

It’s hard to find, but this church is definitely worth tracking down for fans of architecture. There’s also a Pre-Romanesque interpretation center in the nearby train station. Personally, the more of these buildings I saw, the more interesting they became.

More Santa Cristina de Lena Photos:

Hiking Oviedo Lena Church
Cloud religion
Hole in the sky
Church Window light ray
Pre Romanesque altar
Camino Shell Muscle
Oviedo Beasts
Pre Romanesque Architecture Arche
Secret Symbols Oviedo Church Keys
Holy Cristina de Lena
Outstanding wood carvings
dotted wood carvings
Stone Columns Santa Cristina de Lena

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Max

    Camino Buddies has made a post with a link to your blog and supports all you’re doing. Buen Camino!

  2. Carmen

    Good afternoon Mike! Im Carmen, an Spanish journalist that is looking for realizing a report about Santa Cristina de Lena and the interest that is awaking in foreign tourist. I would like to hace ur view in my work. Hope u can get in contact with me. I leave u my email, waiting for ur request. My best regards.

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