What to see in Oviedo
The Church of St. Mary of Mount Naranco is a pre-Romanesque Ramirense palace located on the outskirts of Oviedo, on the south face of Mount Naranco. It was originally intended as an Aula Regia within the architectural complex of the royal palace of Ramiro I and dates back to the year 842. This makes it one of the oldest buildings in Asturias.
Like all temples of this style, the church presents a wealth of details on both the outside and the inside, especially its rich sculptural decoration, typically late Roman, subject to its architectural design.
The temple, made mostly of ashlar, has an imposing, elegant and slender appearance, with a rectangular floor plan 6 meters wide by 21 meters long divided into two floors with a height of 9 meters. Thus, it has an extremely elongated construction.
The ground floor has a large central body covered by a barrel vault and transverse arches resting on the wall. This was probably used as a palatine oratory or royal chamber designed to receive royal audiences.
The upper floor has a similar distribution with a central rectangular room covered by a banked barrel vault crossed, in turn, by six transverse arches supported on corbels and crossed at the greater ends by a blind arch supported on a double colonnade.
On the outside, one can admire its buttresses along with the transverse arches inside, as well as viewpoints open to the outside thanks to three canted semicircular arches, the central one being somewhat larger than the lateral ones.
Due to its enormous heritage, artistic and historical wealth, the Church of St. Mary of Mount Naranco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.