The holiest place in northern Spain, the cathedral of Oviedo, overwhelms as soon as you enter. Its prevailing Gothic style imposes in the interior, with filigree architecture, slenderness and light.

The stained glass windows that surround it – rebuilt after the disasters of the civil war – fascinate from above, fantastic and allegorical. At the same time, they cut polychrome scenes from the immeasurable main altarpiece and make the gold leaf of the baroque altars that flood it shine.

But we go to the holiest places in the basilica. At the bottom, in that low-vaulted stone crypt, in its pre-Romanesque solidity, is the singular relic of the holy shroud of Christ , jealously protected.

In the far ninth century this dark and demure shelter, the holy chamber, was built. There are more sacred relics and large gold-covered Greek crosses and huge gemstones are displayed.

They are the cross of the Angels , 1200 years old, and the cross of La Victoria , symbols of the Principality that should, perhaps, also be the whole of Spain. We are in the germ and foundation of the future cathedral that we see.

It imposes approaching the sacred chamber, descending the stairs of its small antechamber built in the 12th century. In this we will find our first find. Three exposed arches reinforce the modest semicircular vault, each unloading in double columns on each side. Figures of saints, similar to those of the magnetic Pórtico de la Gloria de Santiago, accompany each shaft.

On the left, in the intermediate capital, there are the wing dogs . The scene is dynamic and beautiful. It is wild boar <a href=””>hunting</a> on foot, for knife grips.

The monteros carry no other weapons than a large dagger and the Alans. These, greedy and agile, with cut ears and wide necklaces, with their robust heads free of prognathism and thin lips, want to catch from the side the knifemaker who attacks a whisk. Dramatism brings the newly emerged danger.

Alanos assisting the prey of the great boar. S. XII.

From the right side of the capital, another hunter arrives urgently with help: he lends himself to free two more Alans in collars from his thick rope. They grow impatient, eager to come.

The tension is maximum, but the veteran dagger hunter approaches, trusting the Alans: he goes behind, resting a hand on the back of one of them, to enter the macareno by the side.

As soon as the other two dogs come and catch on, you can go to the dangerous set. There is the uncertainty and the adrenaline. We do not know what has happened. But how much those warrior bishops and those lords –Christian and warlike– must have liked to hunt the boar on foot with Alans to incorporate the scene into such a sacred and isolated place.

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Affected by art and the sacred, we move away and in a few minutes we reach the cloister. It is a journey through time of 300 years: we are in the XV century. Here there is a mixture of sobriety and Gothic filigree.

On its walls, in the quartzite, there are secret calligraphies and texts with hermetic meanings. On the ground, the worn stones still retain the echoes of prayers and reconquests. The gallery is covered by a pointed vault with fine exposed ribs, which are supported by columns of complex shafts and elaborate capitals. The cloister closes towards the central garden with a fabulous stone latticework contained by pointed arches, which distributes in it a wonderful nuanced light.

Alans now appear in an internal capital on the west wall. Again it is a hectic hunting scene. Here it is the king who hunts. Could it be that D. Alfonso XI, “the Justiciero”, famous in the war and reckless hunter? He goes to the bear, on horseback.

They have already been found, in a pomar with apple trees with fruit. It is autumn and there are beautiful apples on the ground, which the beast was beating on. A large-headed alano, stout neck, severed ears , with a wide protective collar, holds firm grip on the flank with full jaws, holding the bear in a forced contortion.

The king on horseback, with wings, to cast the bear.

Another powerful Alano, this one with uncut ears , comes quickly, skirting the corner of the capital. An agile waiter, on the right side, plays the bronze horn, urging the dogs.

And on the left face, a monk montero , with his habit and his horn, owner of the Alans, releases another, who is struggling to free himself, eager to attend the limit set. The king has already managed to injure the great bear with the spear, entering it by the neck and going through it to the left paddle.

Holds the shaft steady with your right hand. The horse, attacked by the beast, rears in terror, but the sovereign tightens the bridle with his left hand. He must endure the fight until the beast gives way. The distance is so short that it has already reached the horse’s chest with its claws. It is now a melee.

It depends on the ability and strength of the monarch to emerge gracefully from danger. Also the control of the horse and that the damage is not lethal. Trust in the courageous Alans, in their critical assistance: they must catch and immobilize the animal in this extreme situation.

We don’t know how the set with the bear ended. Perhaps in success and in a celebration night banquet, all the chandeliers were lit, with music of bagpipes, dancers and abundant Asturian cider and Leonese wine. What yes, that the hunting scene takes your breath away. At the same time, it is agitated, of maximum tension and beautiful.

We see again how the pure Spanish Alans were essential in the noble big game in these mountain ranges of ours for more than 1000 years.

We are fortunate that the breed was rescued on the brink of extinction and that it consolidated its recovery through the Alajú affix and other respectful breeders. And when today we use a pair of pure Alans for hunting, it is a genuine venom art.

It is to recover and revive the most admirable ancient hunting traditions of our country. And it is to pay tribute to those who, for us, carved these beautiful hunting capitals so many centuries ago in the majestic cathedral of Oviedo.