Oviedo, Spain, whose name in Latin means “Old Town”, is a real open-air museum. Its sights will give odds to the famous European resorts, and nature will give a lot of positive emotions.
Oviedo is the administrative center and the second largest city of the autonomous community of Asturias. Date of foundation – 761 year. The population is just over 200 thousand people. It is considered the largest reserve of architecture of the pre-Roman period, as well as the most important commercial and industrial base of its region.
Located in the northern part of Spain, Oviedo has a peculiar climate that is completely unlike the weather in Barcelona, Valencia, Tarragona and other warm places. Summer is pretty cool here – no more than + 20 ° C, and winter is mild and comfortable (+ 8 … – 10 ° C). As for precipitation caused by the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean, it can occur often at any time of the year.
For this reason, most tourists come to Oviedo not for a beach holiday (although there are many beaches here), but in order to enjoy its ancient architecture and visit the numerous medieval churches that are part of the popular pilgrimage route.
The city of Oviedo is famous for its unique and rather diverse architecture, represented by wide streets, ancient mansions, marble bridge and medieval temples, to which pilgrims flock from all over the world. Here you can see several directions at once, which are perfectly intertwined and successfully fit into the surrounding space.
The largest number of historical attractions is located in the central part of the city. Many of them are listed not only in the national register of cultural and historical sites, but also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It’s unlikely that you and I will see them all at a time, so we suggest that you go through only the main ones.
Gothic Cathedral, built at the end of the 13th century. on the ruins of a pre-Roman temple, is one of the most unusual religious monuments in Spain. Firstly, it has only one tower – the second in the local treasury simply did not have enough money. And secondly, within the walls of this monastery several artifacts are collected at once, which are of great religious value.
One of them is considered to be the Holy Chambers, in which the burial cloth, taken from the head of Jesus, and two unique crosses, Angels and Victory, which are symbols of the city and the Principality of Asturias, are stored. Equally important is the temple pantheon with a sarcophagus and burial urns, in which representatives of the local nobility are buried. Well, the main pride of the Catedral de San Salvador de Oviedo can be called a gilded altar, made in the middle of the 14th century, and the chapel of Camara Santa, whose walls are decorated with unique works of ancient Asturian art.
The cost of a common ticket with an audio guide:
- Adult (18-65 years old) – 7 €;
- Senior citizens and groups of 15 or more people – 6 €;
- Young people (12-18 years old) – 5 €;
- Members of large families and pilgrims with an appropriate certificate – 4 €.
- November – February: from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 16:00 to 17:00;
- March – May and October: from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00;
- June: from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00;
- July – August: from 10:00 to 19:00;
- September: from 10:00 to 18:00.
Sunday is a day off.
Mount Naranco is a small hill located in the vicinity of the city. This truly unique place has become known thanks to a number of ancient churches, sheltered on its slopes. It is said that some of them were built in the 8-9th century. Here is the famous statue of Christ, which we will talk about a little later, and a spacious observation deck, famous for its incredibly beautiful panorama.
Santa Maria del Naranco, considered the most important attraction of Oviedo in Spain, can be found at the base of the mountain of the same name, 4 km from the city. Being the largest surviving Asturian temples, it is the best example of pre-Roman architecture.
Built in 848 by order of King Ramiro I, Santa Maria del Naranco has long been an ordinary suburban residence. It was turned into a church only at the end of the 12th century, and several decades later a huge stone altar was moved here, remaining from the temple that collapsed next to it. Probably, for this reason, the appearance of this building is completely different from the traditional monastery of God, which most visitors expect to see. The interior of Santa Maria is decorated with an arcade of wicker columns and elegant stone carvings, made in the form of medallions with images of medieval knights, birds and animals.
In 1985, along with other churches located on the hill of Naranco, Santa Maria was listed as a UNESCO site. Nowadays, it continues to be the current church of the parish, which you can get into both on your own (Mon. until lunch for free), and with an organized excursion group (from Mon. to Sat for about 2-3 €).
San Francisco Park, set apart from the old monastery garden more than 1,000 years ago, is the best place for family outings or walks. “Oviedo’s Green Lungs,” as the locals call it, occupies a vast territory that has everything for a comfortable stay – sports and playgrounds, a large artificial pond with ducks and swans, pretty fountains and a music booth.
The main attraction of the Campo de San Francisco are the numerous peacocks walking around the park, and the botanical garden, in which more than 130 species of all kinds of vegetation grow. There is also a charming bronze Mafalda and an unusual flowerbed that informs visitors about the current date. Is it worth saying that both places are the most photographed urban sites?
Among the important attractions of Oviedo include a large number of bronze statues located in the most unexpected places. Of course, we will not be able to describe them all within the framework of one article, so we will focus only on the most famous.
The thirty-meter statue of the Messiah, towering on top of Mount Naranco, can be easily seen from all corners of Oviedo. A monumental composition reminiscent of the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazilian Rio was established relatively recently – in 1980. Until recently, the figure of the Savior was crowned with a 5-meter Victory Cross, considered the main historical symbol of the Principality of Asturias. But because of the great wind, they hastened to take him off and put him on a pedestal.
The sculptural image of the ruler, created by one of the best masters of Spain, is a vivid example of what kind of locals had in the mid-19th century. The prototype of a bronze regency installed on Cathedral Square is the heroine of the novel of the same name, considered a classic of Spanish literature.
Asturcons or, as they are also called, Asturian ponies are another symbol of Asturias, which is reflected in the urban sculpture of Oviedo. Sculptural composition made by Manolo Valdes and located on the square. Escandalera, has not only decorative, but also historical significance. The fact is that horses of this breed began to be tamed from time immemorial: first – to help with the housework, then – to participate in the famous Punic wars. However, with the advent of industrialism, the Asturcons began to have less and less work, and soon the breed began to die out.
Another historical monument, reminiscent of those times when the inhabitants of Oviedo began to go to work in large numbers to South America, and upon returning to their homeland – to invest in the construction of educational institutions, hospitals, churches and luxurious colonial mansions. The events of those days that fell on the first half of the 20th century, and found their response in bronze on Sq. Porlier.
A two-meter statue of a dancer, created in 2011, is located on Pelion Street next to the Campoamor Theater. Despite the impressive appearance, it looks quite easy and dynamic. To achieve this effect, the author of this sculpture used polished brass and clear, cutting air lines. They say that the city authorities spent more than 30 thousand euros on the casting of this monument.
In the immediate vicinity of the previous sculpture is another statue, which is called the most controversial monument of Oviedo. We are talking about the “Monumental Zade”, made by the author of the already well-known to you “Indian.” The four-meter image of female charms carved from black marble is a rough copy of the Barcelona sculpture created in honor of one of the founders of the Olympic Games.
Uriah Street, connecting the central part of the city with the North Station, can be called without exaggeration the main trading artery of Oviedo. Indeed, it is here where you can find boutiques of such famous world brands as Mango, Stradivarius, Women´s Secret, Zara or Pull & Bear.
In addition, the Calle Uria has many interesting buildings made in the Neo-Baroque and Art Deco styles.
An overview of the best sculptural sights of the Asturian capital is completed by the bronze Woody Allen, “walking” along the street of the National Police. At this place, he appeared about 5 years ago – after the famous filmmaker received the Heir to the Spanish Throne Award. By the way, after the loud statements of Millie Farrow, who accused Allen of sexual harassment, they intended to demolish the statue, but this did not happen.
Entering the list of the most visited cities in northern Spain, Oviedo offers a wide selection of housing at various prices. There are more than fifty hotels, pensions, hostels, guest houses and apartments. Most local hotels are three star hotels. The average cost of living in this room is from 35 to 60 € per day. Equally popular accommodation options are individual apartments, the daily rental of which starts at 40 €, but can reach 400.
There are no dangerous areas in the city, and the road to the center takes no more than 20 minutes. The only thing you should pay attention to is the proximity of bars, discos and nightclubs. The noise coming from there can interfere with sound sleep. And one moment! If you plan to travel around the city, look for accommodation in the northern part of Oviedo – it is closer to the bus station.
How to get to Oviedo?
The city of Oviedo is famous not only for its many monuments and other historical sights, but also for its developed transport links. It is very easy to get here from Madrid, Barcelona, Leon, Valencia, Gijon, Bilbao, Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, Seville and other major cities.
This can be done not only by train or intercity bus, but also by plane belonging to the domestic airline of Spain. The airport of the province of Asturias is 40 km from its capital. From there, shuttles and taxis regularly go to the center. The schedule of routes, ticket prices and other important information should be clarified on the official websites of the carrier companies – RENFE, AVE, ALSA and FEVE.
When planning a trip to Oviedo (Spain), take a note of a few useful recommendations:
- It is better to move around the city on foot – only in this way you can feel its atmosphere and get acquainted with the main architectural sights. And to make the walk a success, take care of comfortable clothes and shoes.
- The most advantageous exchange rates are offered by national banks. They, unlike private exchange points, do without a commission.
- Most government offices open around 9am. Saturday is considered a shorter working day, and Sunday is a day off.
- To rent a car you will need an international passport and a driver’s license of an international standard. The minimum age of the tenant varies from 21 to 23 years. The rental price is from 20 to 120 € per day, depending on the brand.
- You can pay for purchases and services in the city not only in cash, but also with bank cards of an international standard, as well as traveler’s checks. By the way, almost all major hotels, restaurants and shopping malls operate according to the cashless payment system. But if you intend to visit one of the budgetary establishments located far from tourist areas, stock up on a certain amount.
- The best time to visit Oviedo is the period from April to October, when the city is set to warm and absolutely dry weather. If you want to attend one of the festivals or numerous national holidays, plan a visit for June or September.
- Going to a prestigious night club or a fashionable restaurant, do not forget to clarify the style of clothing adopted in a particular institution. The fact is that in most entertainment points of the city there is a strict dress code.
- Do not throw telephones, backpacks, or other personal items in the car that could attract the attention of robbers.
- For the same reason, do not leave documents, bank cards, large sums of money, jewelry, cameras and any other valuable items unattended. Either store them in a safe, or hand them over at the reception.
- If you are going for a walk, bring along a copy of your passport certified by a notary public. You will need it to confirm your identity when checked by the police.
The most popular sculptures of Oviedo:
Posted by: Olga Sheyko