IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
By Nick Lloyd - Home - Contact


Hórreos are granaries found in Northern Spain. As can be seen in the photos they are raised off the ground by stone pillars known as "pegollos", which can be made of either wood or stone. Hórreos have an extensive and regionally complex vocabulary associated with their different parts, but, to simplify, at the base of the hórreos are huge slabs of stone called “pilpayos”, on which the “pegollos” stand. These in turn are topped by a large flat stone called a “muela” which prevents rodents from getting in, the essential purpose of the hórreo. Then, a small stone is placed between the “muela” and the beams, on which the granary itself is built.

The sides are usually slatted for ventilation. They are found throughout north-east Spain , though particularly in Asturias and Galicia . They tend to be square in the former and rectangular in the latter. When I first saw hórreos in Asturias I fell straightaway for their chunky idiosyncrasy, a thousand tiny variations on the theme, each defying gravity. These days very few are still used as granaries. Some are used to keep firewood or even the car dry, or as a shed to store bikes and whatnot. Some lie abandoned. Some have been restored as folk monuments. They are often several or more in each village.

In Asturias , a panera is similar to an hórreo* but stands on 6 or more legs.

(* should that be a hórreo?)

The longest hórreo in Spain, in Carnota in Galicia , is 35m long.

Galician horreos I have to say lack the hunky charm of their Asturian-Cantabrian cousins, though this one below is not unattractive