Oviedo, Asturias, Spain

Oviedo is the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain. It is also the name of the municipality that contains the city. Oviedo, which is the administrative and commercial centre of the region, also hosts the annual Prince of Asturias Awards. This prestigious event, held in the city’s Campoamor Theatre, recognizes international achievement in eight categories. It is said that two monks, Máximo and Fromestanus, founded the city in 761. That settlement was soon to be completed with the construction of a small church dedicated to Saint Vincent. Nevertheless, the archaeological register has shown traces of occupation since the 1st century, in Roman times. King Fruela I of Asturias, the fourth of the Asturian monarchs, was the first decided promoter of the city as may be witnessed by his construction of both a palace and a nearby church. Oviedo owes to a later king, Alfonso II The Chaste (791-842), its establishment as a capital city and ruling seat as a result of the moving of the court from Pravia and the creation of the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela, a major event in the history of Oviedo, a church dedicated to The Saviour, the Cathedral of San Salvador, and a royal palace formed the nucleus and motive power of Oviedo.

Architecture

  • Cathedral of San Salvador, from 13th century, erected in 1288 over the previous cathedral, which was founded in the 8th century.
  • Cámara Santa de Oviedo. Dating from 802. It is located within the Cathedral, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Santa María del Naranco Hall, 9th century. A relatively large pavilion, part of the palace complex built for and by King Ramiro I.
  • San Miguel de Lillo (small church), 9th century.
  • Basilica of San Julián de los Prados.
  • La Foncalada. Fountain of the 9th century. It is the only preserved Pre-Romanesque civil work in the whole of Europe.
  • The University of Oviedo was created in 1574, but only inaugurated on September 21, 1608, the feast of Saint Matthew. It was funded by the terms of the will of Archbishop D. Fernando Valdés Salas, minister and General Inquisitor under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Philip II.
  • Town Hall (Casa Consistorial). Dates from 1662.
  • La Balesquida Chapel (13th century). Associated with Oviedo’s taylors’ guild. Repeatedly restored in the 17th, 19th and 20th centuries. It is dedicated to the Virgin of Hope.
  • House of the Llanes (18th century). It is the best Baroque façade in the whole of Asturias.
  • Deán Payarinos’ House (20th century). A building on the Beaux Arts style. Nowadays, it houses the Eduardo Martínez Torner Conservatory.
  • The Monastery of San Vicente (8th century). At the moment, home of the Archaeological Museum of Asturias.
  • The Convent Church of Santo Domingo, Oviedo (16th century). One of the monastic settlements outside the city walls. The original building burnt down in 1934 and it was heavily reconstructed after the Civil War.
  • El Fontán Market (17th-18th centuries). A simple but rather monumental complex; an 18th century porticoed square, which housed the vegetable market. It fell victim to speculative manoeuvres. It was left to deteriorate on its own; claiming that it was beyond repair, it was then demolished on 1998 and rebuilt offering all modern amenities, but with its original proportions radically changed; the original complex being much lower than its modern replacement.
  • Casas del Cuito, early 20th century Art Nouveau apartment building

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