A small church built for royalty in a lovely valley.

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Hermitage of Saint Cristina of Lena (Pola de Lena)

A lesser-known saint.

Despite its rough architecture, this small religious edifice built on a hill overlooking the grand valley of the Lena River barely 30 km (18 miles) from Oviedo, is certainly a sight to behold. This church was built for royalty, and yet it doesn't follow tradition "royal" guidelines, having but one main nave with small side "rooms", surprising in light of the fact that kings usually had their own chapel. There are very few extant documents that chronicle the history of this marvel, but once inside, surrounded by the peace that emanates from its walls and the light that filters in through a small window, one can easily imagine what religious life was like in this hermitage, back in the days when Asturian kings rode through the verdant valleys of their countryside.

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