balconies Casa de El Cercau

Casa de El Cercáu, a treasure hidden behind walls

​I am always curious, if something is hidden behind walls I just want to know what is inside. That same feeling I had with the palacio El Cercáu (as people call it) in Llanes. And you know, lucky me I went inside this palace.

El Cercáu, 400 years ago

La Casa de El Cercáu (official name) is one of the oldest houses of llanes. Constructed in 1599, it is situated behind the basilica within a walled property. The palace complex with chapel is closed in partly by the medieval wall. This part of the medieval protection wall is well preserved, it still has the battlements and a corner tower.

Building La Casa de El Cercáu started in 1597, but was remodeled in later times. Especially in the 17th and 18th century there were modifications to how it looks today. The palace El Cercáu is one of the most interesting examples of the Renaissance in Asturias.

The main facade is divided in two parts, both with three levels.

main facade Casa de El Cercáu
© Alejandro Braña

The closest to the basilica is the chapel. The facade consists of three floors of semicircular arches with balustrade of turned wood. These are called “loggias”, a popular Renaissance architectural element.

“A loggia is an architectural feature which is a covered exterior gallery or corridor usually on an upper level, or sometimes ground level. The outer wall is open to the elements, usually supported by a series of columns or arches. Loggias can be located either on the front or side of a building and are not meant for entrance but as an out-of-door sitting room.
From the early Middle Ages, nearly every Italian comune had an open arched loggia in its main square which served as a “symbol of communal justice and government and as a stage for civic ceremony.” Source Wikipedia

altar and altarpiece

The loggias in the chapel can be accessed through the house and the chapel. Inside, the chapel is still in its original state with altar. In this chapel was buried bishop Pedro de Junco Posada who founded the building. In the twentieth century his body was transferred to the Basilica, fulfilling a wish.

On the right is the house, which feature original elements from the first build. Predominant sixteenth century elements such as decorative balls in the windows. The house has a more closed and sober aspect.

The palace is declared as, a site of Cultural Interest.

Peoples power

entrance palacio El Cercáu
© Alejandro Braña

Pedro Junco de Posada ordered stonemason Juan del Rio from Cantabria in 1597 to construct the house. Pedro de Junco Posada was member of the noble family of Posada, a family which has shapped the history of Llanes.

Pedro Junco de Posada was the most influential citicen from Llanes in the second half of the sixteenth century. Born in Llanes in 1528, he held senior civil and church official posts, after his law studies at Salamanca. First, he became judge of the Audiencia of Granada, a position he kept for fourteen years. He spent six years as a member of the Supreme and Royal Council of the Inquisition. And in 1589 he was named president of the Chancery of Valladolid. From April 3, 1598, until his death on May 3, 1602, he held the rank of bishop of Salamanca.

salon with ancient furniture
© Alejandro Braña

In January 1594 he asked the Justice and Regiment of Llanes the privilege for himself and his heirs to be buried in the parish church. In exchange he offered a benefit of 2500 ducats. As the basilica is since its foundation popular heritage, it was not the church to take a decision. Unfortunately for him, his proposal was rejected by a majority of the citicens of Llanes. So he purchased the land next to the church and build there the palace and the chapel where he would be buried.

Although several centuries later his wish was granted, when his body was transferred to the Basilica.

Recently the house was sold to “Paisajes De Asturias” a company dedicated to buying palaces of great historical and cultural value in Asturias.

backside of Casa de El Cercáu

corner of the medieval wall of Llanes

Useful information

House and chapel is private property and can’t be visited.
GPS … 43.421350 | -4.753576

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