The Council of Salas is a part of the Region of Vaqueiros which passes from coastal to inland towns of Asturias and is linked by the tradition of the seasonal migration of the livestock trade. The “vaqueiros” or cattle drivers began to inhabit this part of Asturias in the medieval times and the most distinctive aspect of this that still exists today are the Brañas or highland pastures where they used to breed their cattle.
Places of cultural interest are the Doriga Palace with a rural medieval style from the 15th century. As a curiosity this Palace has a batroom made of black marble. Also, the magnificent Cistercian Monastery of Cornellana and the town of Laneo with its Asturian rural buildings and Asturian food stores are of great ethnographic interest.
The main town of the council of Salas is the town of Salas. This is an enchanting town with a medieval essence which you can see a tower from the 14th century which is built on the foundations of the Pre-Romanesque church of San Martin and also the Valdes Salas Palace from the 16th century. Also worth a visit is the gothic Collegiate Church of Santa Maria la Mayor from the 17th century with an impressive alabaster Mausoleum of the Archbishop Fernardo Valdes Salas founder of the University of Oviedo and designed by the Italian sculptor Pompeyo Leoni.
Throughout the area of Salas you will find many “Indiano” houses. Asturias underwent large scale emigration at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century to the Americas, especially Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and the US. After the emigrants settled into their new homes and became wealthy they didn’t forget their roots and decided to build these magnificent houses to show off their new status as rich men. This style of very distinctive and characteristic architecture was almost always is accompanied by large ornate gardens of palm trees as a part of their identity. Also, a lot of the “Nouveau Riche” acted as sponsors and helped finance some basic needs in the towns like education, water or drainage. You can find many examples of this type of architecture in the picturesque town of Malleza, called “Little Habana” due to the extraordinary amount of well preserved Indiano Houses.
The council of Salas is a paradise for fisherman as it has one of the best Salmon Rivers in Spain, The Narcea River. Here, in the town of Cornellana, they celebrate every year the capture of “El Campanu” or the first Salmon of the season in the Asturian Rivers. This is fishing and hunting festival which holds a public auction for the first Salmon and in some occasions has reached bids of 12,000 euros.
The council of Salas is a part of the Route of Santiago called «The Primitive Route« and is one of the locations for the Pilgrims Hostal. Also you can find other walking Routes in the area like the River route of the Salmon.
The Gastronomy in this area is based on a traditional Asturian fare, with stews, Asturian reared beef, Chicken dishes, cured meats, sweet treats and Asturian cheeses but the toast of the area is the “carajitos” which are delicious hazelnut cookies.
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