Hórreo by night

The hórreo, the proud of Asturias

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A hórreo, also hórreu or horru in Asturian language, is a typical granary from Asturias. It is an agricultural construction used to store crops and meat, and safekeep it. Mainly, hórreos are to be found in Asturias and Galicia. Typically the Asturian hórreo has a square shape, while in Galicia it is more rectangular.

It is a construction which survived the centuries, as the oldest document with an image is from the 12th century. Still there are In Asturias hórreos over a century or more old. The oldest el hórreo de las Bodas from Boñar is from the 17th century. Yet, the village Espinaréu claims they have one form the 16th century. A little bit of confusion here, to find the oldest one.

Hórreo Puerto de Pajares

There are considered to be 18 000 hórreos and paneras in Asturias, with a growing interes to preserve them. In this article I will focus only on the Asturian hórreo. Not on the Galician hórreo which have a completely different look and shape.

Structure of a hórreo

A hórreo is built in wood and raised from the ground by pillars known as pegollos. These pillars stand on huge stones called pilpayos, and can be either of wood or stone. On the pillar comes a flat staddle stone called the muela. This is the essential part, as this prevents rodents the access to the storage space. Finaly topped with a small stone or the taza on which the beams or trabes of the hórreo rest.

© Centro de Interpretación del Hórreo - http://www.territoriomuseo.com/pages/index/416-informacion-general
© Centro de Interpretación del Hórreo

You can reach the hórrreo by a stair which is not attached to the hórreo. There is a gap between both, so that rats can’t reach the food. Ventilation is allowed by the slits in the side walls.

A hórreo has always 4 pillars only, one with 6 or more pillars is called panera.


The type of hórreo depends on the …

1 – Characteristics of the roof … thatched, tiled, slate, pitched or double pitched.
2 – Materials used for the pillars … wood or stone
3 – The outside style and decoration … with or without balcony, …

hórreo with thatched roof
© Santi

Did you know that … a hórreo is considered a mueble. When a family moved in the past, the hórreo moved as well. A hórreo can be easily dismantled, as the whole is assembled without any use of nail or screw.

Walking through Asturias you will find hundreds of variations, but only a few are still used as a granary. Often you need to go too the inland villages to find several of them in one space.

Hórreos in the village Espinaréu
Hórreos in the village Espinaréu
The village Espinaréu (GPS … 43.298539 | -5.363319) in the municipality of Piloña for example has 20 granaries and 6 paneras. A few dating from the sixteenth or seventeenth century, the oldest from 1548. In whole Piloña you can find 700 hórreos and 200 paneras. Tuña (GPS … 43.274246 | -6.370639) in the municipality of Tuña has 52 hórreos and paneras. While Barcia and Leiján (GPS … 43.534236 | -6.525066) close to the seaside town Luarca, can count on no more than 83 hórreos and 15 paneras.

The vilage of Bueño has a small museum (see further) and a route dedicated to the hórreo. This route wil take you too the 47 granaries in the village.

Hórreo Museo Etnografico Porrua
Hórreo at the Museo Etnografico de Porrua

Useful information

Centro de Interpretación del Hórreo de Güeñu / Bueño … www.territoriomuseo.com
GPS … 43.317469 | -5.887112

Header photograph © by David Pardo

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