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Did you know that... the Castro of Chao Samartín

 

It is located on an elevated promontory over the river Cabalos, close to the village of Castro, in the council of Grandas de Salime. Chronological history tells us that the origin of the fortified settlement dates back to the end of the Bronze Age, 9th-8th century BC. From that period are the first defences, a moat and a large communal hut built next to a large rock and guarded by it, may well have been a sacred enclosure to which the palisade that surrounded it, along with the moat, separated this acropolis from the rest of the village. This large rock, blackened by the use of ritual fire and the funerary deposit found, a small stone box with part of a human skull, possibly a woman of about 15 years of age, endorses it. During the Iron Age, the population of Castro of Chao Samartín grew considerably and the defences were doubled with walls of modules that protected large cabins for community service, metallurgical workshops and even a sauna. From the 4th century B.C. the settlement acquired the characteristics of castros, with circular and rectangular dwellings with rounded corners, roofs made of branches and all surrounded by a wall with several moats.​

Fotografía cortesía de Museo y Castro de Chao Samartín © Sergio Ríos

Photograph courtesy of Museum and Castro of Chao Samartín © Sergio Ríos 

 

A little more history

 

The Castro of Chao Samartín is the oldest in the Principality of Asturias and there were two cultures, the castreña and later the romana, with which it becomes a prosperous population, with paved streets, houses already divided into rooms with slate roofs, and its typical domus. This town, the old Ocela, will see its history finished with a sudden end, when an earthquake in the II century of our era causes a total and massive abandonment by the people of the place, remaining totally unpopulated until in the high Middle Ages, in times of the Asturian monarchy, between the VII to the X centuries, in the ruins of the old castro a necropolis was located, thus prolonging the funerary use of the Chao Samartín until the end of the Middle Ages. In the XVIII and XIX centuries, its existence as an old fortification was already known but it was not until 1967 when it was recognized as a castro and in May of 2014 it was declared by the Regional Government to be of Cultural Interest.

 

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To discover What to see in the Castro of Chao Samartín?

 

It is currently a site that can be visited and museumised. The visit to the castro starts in the museum, since a great number of original objects are exhibited in its rooms, which will help the visitor to know and understand the way of life of the inhabitants of the ancient Ocela and the evolution of the castro. In the visit to the archaeological site itself you can see the outer moats excavated in the rock; a canvas of "modular walls"; and in the settlement itself you can observe its three most relevant episodes, the acropolis, the Roman domus and the medieval necropolis. All of this leads the visitor to discover and learn about the history of one of the most important forts in the northwest of the peninsula.

 

Fotografía cortesía de Museo y Castro de Chao Samartín © Sergio Ríos

Photograph courtesy of Museum and Castro of Chao Samartín © Sergio Ríos 

 

Traditions

 

The Chao Samartín, perhaps originally known as "Saltum Martem", along with the settlement and village, are in an area where storms illuminate the sky with their rays and the loud voice of thunder reverberates through the valley. To all this the ancestral tradition relates him with the god Mars, god of the war that makes assert his power with these effects in the sky. The Christianization of these places, so sacred to the people, changed the pagan name to Christian saints. Martin is very appropriate to the place for its etymological origin, the Latin "warrior" which supports his relationship with the god Mars, and to reinforce the fact, Santa Barbara, lawyer and protector in storms. San Martín and Santa Bárbara are the patron saints of the village Castro.

 

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Curiosities

 

The owners of the houses from the Roman period of the castro made use of the first known locks and keys in the history of Asturias.

 

Fotografía cortesía de Museo y Castro de Chao Samartín © Sergio Ríos

Photograph courtesy of Museum and Castro of Chao Samartín © Sergio Ríos 

 

Useful information for visiting the Castro of Chao Samartín

 

  • The museum of Chao Samartín is located in the village of Castro, close to the ruins of the site. Its strategic location on a hillside also makes it a beautiful viewpoint from which to enjoy a panoramic view of the archaeological site.
  • The reception of visitors takes place in the museum. 
  • The visit to the centre, which lasts approximately 45 minutes, is essential for a better interpretation of the archaeological site..
  • Visits to the archaeological site leave from the museum, are always guided and last about an hour.
  • The museum has adapted access for the disabled.
  • The ticket for the visit to the archaeological site can be purchased at the museum..
  • Visits are from Tuesday to Sunday, both inclusive, at different hours depending on whether it is winter or summer..
  • Admission is free on Tuesdays.
  • The museum and the archaeological site are closed on Mondays, 24, 25 and 31 December, 1 and 6 January, 24 June and the first Sunday in August.
  • For further information the telephone number is 985 627 143 or on the website www.chaosamartin.es

 

Fotografía cortesía de Museo y Castro de Chao Samartín © Sergio Ríos

Photograph courtesy of Museum and Castro of Chao Samartín © Sergio Ríos 

 

The Legend

 

The rapid and total abandonment of the castro of Chao Samartín is attributed to a strong earthquake that took place in the place because there are signs of landslides, demolished walls and even it is appreciated that the paving of the main street, which at that time was being carried out, remained unfinished. And it is said that the settlers, reluctant to leave their home but too afraid to return to it, settled in a nearby place creating a new population nucleus, the town of Castro.. 

 

 

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Get to Castro

 

Castro can be reached from Fonsagrada on the LU-701 road and from Grandas de Salime on the AS-28. There is also a bus stop for the Bustelo-Grandas de Salime line. The telephone number for further information is 985 969 600.  

 

Once there

 

After passing the crossroads of Castro, as we arrive from Grandas de Salime, we will find the crossroads of Llandepereira and Trabada road by which we must take a detour to immediately turn left and ascend towards the museum car park, from where the visits are made..

 

 

 


SENDITUR is not responsible for any variation in the information described, as well as for the misuse of its guides and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go. For any suggestion, SENDITUR invites you to send an email to

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List of Routes
  • Closeness
  • First name
  • Difficulty
  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Assessment
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
1
Difficulty-Moderate

6:55 h.25.8 km.

Stage 07 Grandas de Salime-A Fonsagrada
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding stages, either because they are longer, more uneven or have a specific difficulty.
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
1
Difficulty-Moderate

4:40 h.15.8 km.

Stage 06 La Mesa-Grandas de Salime
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding stages, either because they are longer, more uneven or have a specific difficulty.
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
1
Difficulty-Moderate

6:55 h.24.4 km.

Stage 08 A Fonsagrada-O Cádavo
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding stages, either because they are longer, more uneven or have a specific difficulty.
WAY OF SAINT JAMES
1
Difficulty-Remarkable

6:10 h.22 km.

Stage 05 Pola de Allande-La Mesa
Difficulty-RemarkableRed difficulty category, level 2. Stages with large slopes or important distances, which require good physical preparation.
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