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Oviedo is in the capital of the province of Asturias in the Asturias and Cantabria region of Spain.
Oviedo is an attractive university city with a historic old quarter.
Explore Oviedo, Spain
Oviedo is one of the most attractive cities in the north of Spain. Its old quarter is pedestrianised making its exploration a real pleasure. Oviedo has had a wealthy history and has quite a number of monuments worth seeing as you explore.
Many of the buildings are made of a warm yellow stone and so its narrow streets and little squares are always welcoming and invite further exploration. There are plenty of bars and restaurants dotted around and also the traditional 'chigres' or cider bars.
As it is a university city Oviedo also has a lively night scene though it is quieter in summer when the students leave for the holidays.
Ovieda's Pre-Romanesque Churches
Oviedos's star historic attractions are its three small churches which are in a Pre-Romanesque style unique in Spain to this part of Asturias because it is one of the few areas that was not invaded by the Moors during this period (early 9th century). Non of these are in the centre of town but they are
The Santa Maria del Naranco is the best of the three. The Pre-Romanesque style is a very graceful style and the Santa Maria del Naranco has tall slender arches and columns decorated with rope-effects typical of the style. It is a 45 minute walk from the centre but worth the trouble. The Santa Maria was originally a hunting lodge and was later converted into a church.
Nearby is the chapel of King Ramiro's palace - the San Migueil de Lillo It is thought to be by the same architect as the Santa Maria. Look particularly at the window grilles carved from blocks of limestone, and the carved door frames.
The San Julian de los Prados is the largest of the three churches (and the closest - a 10 min walk) and still contains some of the frescoes that once covered the whole of the inside.
Back in Oviedo centre the Plaza Alfonso II is the heart of the old town and around its edges are several palaces and Oviedo's Gothic cathedral. Part of the cathedral is the Camara Santa, also known as the Chapel of San Miguel, this dates back to the 9th century (though largely remodelled in the 12th) and houses the Holy Chest, the cross of los Angeles and the cross of La Vitoria. A visit to these is part of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The Camara Santa de Oviedo is a UNESCO World Heritage site along with its pre-Romanesque churches and the medieval fountain, la Foncalada.
La Foncalada is a 9th century fountain and is the only example of Pre-Romanesque civil architecture in Europe.
Near the cathedral are a number of palaces which are often now used as civic buildings.
Museums in Oviedo
The Museo Arquelogico is housed in an 8th century monastery behind the cathedral and contains local sculptures and treasures.
The Museo d Bellas Artes is in an 18th century palace and so is a good opportunity to see inside one of the palaces. It also houses a range of Asturian and Spanish paintings.
Places to Visit Nearby
Aviles with its medieval centre and fortified walls is only around 20km away.
The lovely Costa Verde coast with its picturesque coves and beaches is well worth exploring.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Asturias and Cantabria guide.