It´s the mountain that presides over the panorama of Oviedo, distance of 4 km to reach the top from the centre, so you can either walk since it’s worth it or take the public A2 bus that passes in Uría Street (city centre) with several stops on the same street or you can take a taxi which takes 10 minutes and costs less than 10 euros. It is certainly the panoramic photo that you will want to take from this city. But we rather call it a night panorama because in many cases when we arrive in Oviedo to finish our panoramic visit, it gets dark. So, whether you take a photo or only keep the sight in your retina it will show us another side of Oviedo with the romanticism that the lights of the city provide. In front of the capital of the principality is Mount Naranco, which extends its skirts so that the city unfolds on the top. The best place to have this fantastic photo of Oviedo would also be a very special gift since the site is worth it and is a delicacy of the Asturian pre-Romanesque art that is found on the ascent to the mountain. Santa Maria del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo, one in front of the other. Well, we are going to see Oviedo from the heights and contemplate these two jewels of Austrian pre-Romanesque.
- Santa Maria de Naranco. Royal Hall of the palace complex of King Ramiro I, built in 842 and located on the southern slope of the mountain, it became a church due to the collapse of the head of San Miguel de Lillo. It is divided into two floors with a height of 9 metres and a fairly long rectangular plan. The upper floor was the noble floor, while the lower floor is believed to have been the royal hall where audiences were kept.
- San Miguel de Lillo. It was probably the palace church, built at the same time and just 100 metres from what was originally the Palace of Ramiro I. It had a basilica floor plan but the poor soil conditions caused the loss of part of its structure, losing length while retaining where the naves comence. So, the place is worth visiting not only to contemplate these beautiful Asturian pre-Romanesque monuments, an art that was only developed in this region, but you will also have Oviedo at your feet.
Monte Naranco s/n.
TORTOS WITH PICADILLO AND CABRALES
Asturias has so many delicious things to eat that it took us a while to decide on which snack you might like. So, let´s go for a tapa which obviously would not be for getting on a diet, corn cakes with minced chorizo, fried egg (can also come without egg) and cabrales sauce. Cabrales is a blue cheese, which is made with raw cow´s milk or with various types of milk (cow, goat, sheep). It has almost no rind and is unctuous in appearance. The cheese is made in the principality of Asturias in the council of Cabrales.
The “tortos” are corn and wheat pancakes that are fried and accompanied by minced chorizo, a fried egg is placed on top and served with cabrales cheese sauce. As you will see, it is not to count calories, but to enjoy this delicious cuisine, so for this tapa to be really delicious, we can accompany it with a good bottle of typical cider from this region. To try the “tortos,”we will not have to walk long since it is found in many bars in the city centre, especially in Gascona Street.
Oviedo´s shopping street is undoubtedly Uría Street, designed to link the city centre with the North Station. Not without controversy, the construction of this road led to the elimination of the famous Carbayon of Oviedo, (a tree of the oak family) much loved by the inhabitants of the city and which gives its name to the people of Oviedo (they call those who are born in this city, Carbayones) as well as a typical sweet of Oviedo. In the place where the tree was, there is a commemorative plaque now that reminds us that it was demolished in 1879. The street is full of the most interesting buildings such as the neo-baroque façade of the Cuitu Houses or the façade of the old Aramo Cinema in addition to a variety of shops and warehouses. But in addition to these businesses, we find a lot of variety in souvenir shops. What do you want to buy now? Because Oviedo is full of very interesting things for your gifts:
-Taramundi Cutlery, steel blades and wooden handles decorated manually with different motifs such as the design of cross lines or Celtic motifs. These knives began to be manufactured in the XIX century in the Taramundi forges.
-Jet Amulets, a stone considered magical by different civilizations such as Egyptians, Phoenicians and Roman Etruscan, which is abundant in Asturias. Protective in nature, it is highly appreciated by pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. The Camino Primitivo, considered to be the oldest of all the roads to Santiago, passes through Oviedo.
- Black Pottery from Llamas de Mouro, with an intense black and greyish colour, a result which is obtained after the clay has been turned, polished to give it shine and from there it goes to the oven. Once it is cooked, the oven is covered and the smoke itself is which gives it the black colour.
-Madreñas, which is a one-piece wooden shoe with three heels. They were used mainly in the field work, especially in the northern part of Spain, although they are not exclusive to our country. It is made with green wood which makes it easy to manufacture and although they have fallen in to disuse, it can be a very beautiful gift.
THE FEMALE REGENT
The place is not a secret for anyone in Oviedo, but for our first visit, we think it is essential to take a photo with her. She is Ana Ozores, or as everyone knows her “La Regenta” (The Female Regent) who was born from the imagination of a writer who lived many years in Oviedo and whose name was Leopoldo Arias “Clarín”.Ana is the protagonist of his famous novel, “The Regent´s Wife”. She married for convenience to the city manager, who was a lot older than her.
Ana wants another life and takes refuge in her confessor to give an outlet for her frustration, but she feels cheated and disappointed, which leads her into the arms of a “Don Juan” who will make her face the society of Vetusta, as the writer called the city of Oviedo. Clarín, masked the city of Oviedo by calling it Vetusta in his work, although it was easily recognizable to everyone. And in Ana, he represented the evils of the society of the moment.
The work published in 1885 was a real scandal, receiving criticism from the Bishop of Oviedo. Today it is considered to be one of the most important works of literature and Leopoldo Alas “Clarín” as one of the best writers in the Spanish language.
If you want to meet Ana, she is waiting for you in the Cathedral Square, where you can not only take pictures with her, but the background of that photo will be unbeatable with the façade of the cathedral. Gothic Cathedral, dedicated to San Salvador, houses the Holy Chamber with some of the most important relics of Christianity.
The construction of the cathedral began in the XVII century, although the façade that you are going to photograph is from the XVI century, with three arches and doors that allow the entrance to each one of the naves.So, by finding the perfect angle, you will take photo of The Female Regentand the Cathedral in a single click.
Can someone give you more than this?
THE STREET LAMPS
It is not exactly a monument; it is literally a lot because Oviedo is lit by 35,000 Elizabethan style street lamps. In other cities they are called Ferdinand’s and it was a style that proliferated in the XIX century. What characterize these streetlights is their glass lanterns with a cylindrical shape and with the upper part in a form of a dome with a crown. Well, in Oviedo, as we have already said, there are thousands of these lampposts, in a style from another era that give the city an appearance of nobility with its forging and its dim light. But if you look closely, you will see that the number of lanterns and arms of each lamppost are not the same in one street and the other. The most important streets have more lanterns because it was considered that those of greater importance should have more light.
Uría Street and Cervantes Street.
In Asturias, about 45,000,000 litres of cider are produced per year and a good part remains in this region for its own consumption. It is obtained from the fermentation of apple juice, by traditional processes to which no sugars are added and which obtains a natural alcohol content of more than 5%. In historical documents there were already talks of the consumption of cider by the Astures and thus, has reached the present days. To give you an idea, there are 62 cider houses to enjoy this drink just in Oviedo. But we are going to focus only on a street known as the cider boulevard which real name is Gascona Street. Well, here and only here, there are thirteen cider houses, do you dare visit them all? Not only will you be able to taste the ciders but you will also have to try multiple “pinchos” (small snacks) that are the authentic, mini delicacies of its gastronomy.
To make this experience more typical, in the same Gascona Street, there are authentic Asturian “chigres”. What is a “chigre”? It is a word that only exists in Asturias and is used to describe a place where cider is served. It is clearly a cider house but that is the name they are called today, while back then, they were “chigres”. There is no consensus on where the name came from. For some it was the system of uncorking cider bottles and for others, “chigre” comes from the Latin word sicera,which means cider.
But, if there ever were an agreement, it would be based on the characteristics of a “chigre”.It is not enough to only serve cider, it has to smell like cider and have everything necessary like the pouring glasses and the containers for the spilled cider and it has to be served with meals. This is fortunate, at least for us, for it will help us soak up that wonderful apple juice because if consumed without anything solid in the stomach, we may not be able to go through the first “chigre”.
It was born to satisfy the necessity of the bourgeoise of the XIX century in Oviedo. Previously, the representations were made in the Fontán Theatre, in the Fontán Square. In 1883, the works of the new theatre were finished, built on the grounds of Santa Clara Convent and of which they had not yet decided what name it would bear. So, its name is due to the proposal of a writer and of also councillor of the city at that time, Leopoldo Arias “Clarín” who proposed the baptism of the building with the surname of the Asturian poet, Ramón de Campoamor, who was born in Navia.
Ramóm, already a consecrated writer, settled in Madrid, could not attend the inauguration, but, as a token of appreciation, sent 1,000 pesetas in gratitude to the people of Oviedo which was distributed among the poor. The theatre was inaugurated in September 1892, with a rectangular shape and four facades, of which the main one is in the neoclassical style. It has undergone major renovations to this day, some for extensions and others for damages suffered.
In this theatre, since 1881, the Princess of Asturias Awards for scientific, technical, cultural, social and human work have been awarded solemnly every year. In the international sphere it´s considered, together with the Nobel Prizes, the most important in the world. The interior of the theatre is all luxurious and elegant, the red and the gold colours adorn railings and armchairs and underneath the great vault is a chandelier of almost one ton.
Address: Pelayo Street, 3
Something very curious that adorns this city are the sculptures. Public sculptures have become dozens of tributes to this city. Touring through more than 100 that there are in Oviedo would be impossible in one day, but not touring through those in the historic centre would be unforgivable.
We start from the Cathedral Square where The Female Regent is located, in Portier Square we will find The Traveller by Eduardo Urculo, we find The Sitting Womanin front of the University building, The Asturcones are waiting for us in the Scandalera Square, also in this square we will find The Maternity, a sculpture by Colombian Botero. Hope Walking is welcoming us when we arrive at the Campoamor Theatre, behind the theatre we have The Thinker, the Monument to Plácido Alvarez Buyllaand the Monument of the Concord, next to the theatre is the sculpture, Culis Monumentalibus, aldo from Urculo.
Next to that sculpture is The Ballerina, very close to Pelayo Street is The Right-Handed, on Milicias Street we meet Woody Allen, a North American film director whose sculpture is in Oviedo because in 2002 he received The Prince of Asturias Award for Arts and fell so in love with Oviedo and praised it so much that the city decided to pay tribute to him with this statue. In Campo San Francisco, there are many sculptures but we will enter specially to greet Mafalda,the famous character of the Argentinian graphic humourist, Quino.
Sometimes while walking through this park, we can hear the famous song “Asturias, pátria querida” (Asturias, beloved homeland) from the clock of a building that plays it on the exact hour bringing the walk through the park alive. As we continue… in Gascona Street, we have La Guisandera (The Stew Lady) andThe Gipsy Lady, we arrive at the Town Hall, where just behind Trascorrales Square, we have The Fishmonger, The Fish Seller and The Milkmaid. From there we go to Fontán Square, where, sitting on a bench, we find The Beautiful Lolaand finally as we leave this square, are the famous Fontán Saleswomen.
All in one route… but, you will not regret it.
Located in the city centre, although somewhat hidden, you will not think that this peculiar name doesn´t have a reason. Well, here it is, it´s called that because it was behind the corrals of the houses that surrounded it. Restored, they put a parallel pavement that makes it more authentic for pedestrians and is absolutely colourful since its buildings are painted in different colours. In it, is the sculpture of The Milkmaid.In Oviedo, this square is affectionally known as the donkey square, since the sculpture of The Milkmaidhas a little donkey that is drinking water. The trade of milkman/maid is practically extinct but in the last century it was common to see them in the morning selling freshly milked milk that they transported with their donkeys which they distributed from house to house.
In the same square there is a large building that was formerly the fish market which actually is a municipal cultural centre and an exhibition hall. Also, to remind us of the function that this place had, there are the sculptures of The Fishmonger, dedicated to “la Cachucha”,a well-known fishmonger in the city and The Fish Vendor, a tribute to the many vendors who squatted next to their box of fishes. In addition to its sculptures and its bright colours, the square is full of wineries, restaurants and terraces and is the ideal place to sit down, rest and see how Oviedo´s people’s lives pass by.
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