Celestino Solar Citadel


Celestino Solar Citadel


The Celestino Solar citadel is a revealing testimony of the importance that this type of substandard housing reached in Gijón, where more than two hundred dwellings have been documented to have been built between the last years of the 19th century and the second half of the 20th century.

Low salaries, job instability and the scarce supply of accommodation are responsible for the appearance of these residential complexes which, preferably intended for workers, were built in the courtyards of blocks in widening areas, hidden from public view from the street. In a tiny space, the citadels were extremely humble dwellings, grouped in batteries with only one floor, built with masonry and brick partitions. They shared the toilets and had a small surface area, 40 square metres at most. Their internal layout was very simple. They generally consisted of a corridor around which there were four rooms: a kitchen, two bedrooms and a living room. Two of these rooms were exterior and the other two had no windows. The houses were available for rental.

The number of houses in the citadels ranged from two to twenty. Specifically, the Celestino Solar citadel, also known as the Capua citadel, comprised twenty-four houses that were inhabited between 1877 and 1975. It was built in the centre of the block bordered by the Ezcurdia, Capua and Eladio Carreño streets, and was organised into three batteries of dwellings and two courtyards. The complex was accessible through a narrow alleyway from Capua Street, hiding its shameful presence from those who walked along the main street. Four toilets, a washing place and a well were installed next to the houses, the only basic facilities available in the citadel, which had to be shared by an average of one hundred inhabitants.

The Celestino Solar citadel has been recovered as a museum space, under the management of the Asturias Railway Museum, and today it is possible to see the traces of some of these dwellings.

Natalia Tielve García