An hórreo is a typical granary from the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (mainly Galicia, Asturias and Northern Portugal), built in wood or stone, raised from the ground by pillars (pegollos in Asturian, esteos in Galician, abearriak in Basque) ending in flat staddle stones (vira-ratos in Galician, mueles or tornarratas in Asturian, or zubiluzea in Basque) to avoid the access of rodents. Ventilation is allowed by the slits in its walls. Similar buildings (barns) on staddle stones are found in Southern England.
In some areas, hórreos are known as hórreu, horru (Asturian), horriu (Leonese), hurriu (Cantabrian), hórreo, paneira, canastro, piorno, cabazo (Galician), espigueiro, canastro, caniço, hôrreo (Portuguese), garea, garaia, garaixea (Basque), orri (Catalan).
Hórreos are mainly found in the Northwest of Spain (Galicia and Asturias) and Northern Portugal. There are two main types of hórreo, rectangular-shaped, the more extended, usually found in Galicia and coastal areas of Asturias; and square-shaped hórreos from Asturias, León, western Cantabria and eastern Galicia.
The oldest document containing an image of an hórreo is the Cantigas de Santa Maria by Alfonso X "El Sabio" (song CLXXXVII) from XII A.C. In this depiction, three rectangular hórreos of gothic style are illustrated.
There are several types of Asturian hórreo, according to the characteristics of the roof (thatched, tiled, slate, pitched or double pitched), the materials used for the pillars or the decoration. The oldest still standing date from the 15th century, and even nowadays they are built ex novo. There are an estimated 18,000 hórreos and paneras in Asturias, some are poorly preserved but there is a growing awareness from owners and authorities to maintain them in good shape.
Hórreo of Carnota, Galicia
Hórreo from Cosgaya, Cantabria
Corn cobs inside a hórreo, Boiro, Galicia
The pillars can be stone or wood and in Spanish are called pegollo. These are capped with staddle stones called muela to keep vermin out. The pillars may be on footing stones called pilpayos.
A building sitting on staddle stones, at the Somerset Rural Life Museum, similar to Iberian hórreos.
Hórreo-like granaries in Europe
French Savoy has its regard, also encountered in the Swiss Valais (raccard) and the Italian Aosta Valley (rascard). Norway has its stabbur, Sweden its härbre or more precisely stolphärbre or stolpbod. Hambars are found in the Balkans, and serender in northern Turkey.
Härbren exist throughout Sweden, but the more hórreo-like härbren, raised from the ground by pillars, are only found in the central and northern parts of the country. The church härbre (kyrkhärbret) in Älvdalen, Dalarna, built c. 1285, is one of the oldest surviving religious wooden buildings in Sweden.
- Hórreo de Carnota
- Asturian hórreos
- Galician hórreos
- Horreos in English
- Nice collection of images of horreos.
- Large collection of images of staddle stones/pillars
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