added by archaeologs A town near Orviedo in northern Spain. The province of Asturias and Galicia remained an independent Christian kingdom after the Moors had conquered most of the country, and in Asturias a very individual preRomanesque school of architecture flourished between the 8th and 10th centuries. The Asturian style owed little to the Byzantine world, being much closer to Carolingian and Anglo-Saxon traditions although it betrays slight influences of Visigothic and Islamic art. One of the finest buildings in this style is the church of S. Maria in Naranco, dedicated in 848 by King Ramiro I. The well-preserved church once adjoined a royal palace and baths; it is constructed in roughly coursed ashlar and has a basic hall plan with internal arcades. The most outstanding feature is the doublestoreyed narthex (entrance porch) supported on columns with an upper belvedere. In the nave and crypt are some of the first examples of transverse vaults in Europe. The inset medallions decorating the arcades and other parts of the church are another individual and attractive feature.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983