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Oviedo, Asturias

Ancient, enduring belief

Oviedo is a monumental city, not only in the traditions and customs that dominate its festivals, history and culture but also in the physical presence of architectural jewels that trace the development of man’s relationship with the Iberian Peninsula from the first indications of human settlement to the fanfare of imagination that accompanies Spanish modern-day architectural ingenuity.

The modern-day origins of the city can be traced back to 761 when a monastery was founded on the skirts of the Oveto mountain. Its official title of capital city goes back to the reign of one Fruela I and it was then that it became, after Santiago de Compostela, the most sought-after destination of pilgrims from the Christian world.

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Routes and Places worth a Visit

Santa María del Naranco is one of the jewels of pre-romanic architecture of the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. This singular building was built on the sides Mount Naranco, outside of but close to the heart of the city of Oviedo. It is a building with two floors and beautiful symmetry that was originally built as a summer palace for the Asturian kings.

San Julían de los Prados is the largest and, arguably, the best preserved pre-romanic temple of Spain, if not Europe. Amongst the treasures kept within its walls are some fabulous painted murals that date from the Spanish Middle Ages. The church was constructed between 812 an 842 on the orders of Alfonso II and formed part of a palace that was built by him outside the walls of the ancient city.

The university of Oviedo is a magnificent collection of medieval buildings whose construction was completed in 1608. However, during the revolution of 1934 much of the original building was destroyed by fire. A new building, conserving the original lines was constructed on the ruins around the XVI plateresque façade that was saved from destruction.

The most typical ‘barrio’ of the city is found in the El Fontán area of the city. This square, lined with medieval arches, was built over a dried lagoon and is the location of some of the most monumental and memorable buildings of Oviedo.

Oviedo remains one of the places that any self-respecting pilgrim, whether religious of tourist, should visit when in Asturias.

To find out more about Oviedo:

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