Friday, December 12, 2014

Photo Post: Hórreos, or Galician Countryside Corncribs

Galician hórreos
Hórreo seen on the pilgrimage to Fisterra
Spend any time outside of the seven major cities in Galicia and you’ll quickly notice peculiar little sheds that are everywhere in Spain’s northwestern countryside: the hórreo. Not to be confused with Oreo cookies (though I love them so), they’re pronounced “OR-ray-o” [ˈo.re.o] and are simply the traditional corncribs or granaries that Galicians have used for centuries to store corn, grain, and other harvested crops.

Galician hórreos
Hórreo in Abanqueiro
Sided with wood to keep out the humidity and elevated on stilts to keep out the critters, hórreos are a common sight in rural Galicia—in fact, it’s estimated that there are 100,000 of them around the region. The most typical form is a small, rectangular construction with a granite skeleton, wooden slatted siding, and a roof of clay tiles. The further east you go, however, they become larger and more square-shaped, often donning slate shingles. Sometimes recently-built hórreos emulate contemporary Spanish housing and sport a concrete frame with brick walls.

Galician hórreos
Hórreo along the Camino de Santiago
If you ever happen to be hiking the Camino de Santiago, you most certainly will walk by hundreds of these guys as you approach Santiago de Compostela. I really enjoy seeing them whenever I ride the bus to school or outside of town, as they’re a really charming feature of the green Galician countryside.

Have you seen hórreos outside of Galicia before? Tell me anything you know about them below in the comments!
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