Oviedo is a nice Spanish city, pretty modern despite its location on the sidelines, and in fact on the provinces. It’s distinguished by the number of sculptures that can be seen there – even up to 107 pieces.
In comparison with other Spanish resorts, Oviedo is quite and small. The more that in the old part of the town, Casco Viejo, there’s no traffic. Part of the streets designed for pedestrians runs exactly in this area and this is where life goes on most intensely.
If we’ll visit Oviedo on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday, sooner or later we’ll find ourselves in Plaza del Fontán. Under this name hides a square, which turns into the market in these days. It was built on the site of a small, dried lake. It’s surrounded by arcades, and besides stalls it also consists of pavilions, where we can buy traditional black earthenware and local delicacies. These include cider sidra and cabrales – a blue cheese, with a very distinctive taste and aroma.
In the shadow of the figure of Jesus
Just like over Rio de Janeiro, a big statue of Christ towers over Oviedo. The figure seems to bless the area, raising hands at the top of Monte Naranco. It’s worth to climb this hill, because when standing at the foot of the statue you can admire the beautiful view of the coast, the city and the mountains.
Christ is the sculpture most associated with Oviedo - not only because of the size. In the town we can see, inter alia, the silhouette of the patroness, Santa Eulalia de Mérida and San Mateo, whose feast is celebrated in the loudest manner (during 9-25 September). Plaza del Fontán is full of sellers carved in stone, there’s also a milk lady and el viajero, a traveler with trunks. Among the more original sculptures there’s a statue of Woody Allen, which stood in Oviedo in 2003, and the older one - coming from the 1972 - the figure of Salvador Dali standing astride on a dolphin. Walking the streets, you can sometimes get the impression that a large part of the population has been somehow immobilized, to spend here the eternity, enchanted in the stone.
Temples of Oviedo
Apart from the figures standing in silence, tourists pay much attention to the beautiful temples, in which the city is so abundant. The symbol of Oviedo is Cathedral San Salvador, located in Plaza de Alfonso II, the main square of Casco Viejo. It was built as a royal palace, but was quickly changed into a church, then the basilica, in the end - the cathedral. It combines several styles: Gothic, alterations in the style of the Renaissance and Baroque, as well as a Romanesque tower.
In the suburbs, on a hillside, we can admire several old churches known as Iglesias Prerrománicas de Monte Naranco. They’re a testament of the birth of a new Christian state. They were created as a linker between the late Visigoth era of art and its successor, the Romanesque style. The interiors are rich in frescoes, vaults and elevated arches that make the whole construction look slimmer.
Santa Maria del Naranco was founded in the ninth century as a royal summer residence. Till these days remained a bathroom and a ballroom. 200 years later the building turned into a church, which doesn’t change the fact that it’s the oldest palace in the world, already existing 1200 years. Along with the neighboring church of San Miguel de Lillo, where Lignum Crucis (Tree of the Cross) was stored for centuries, was inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
On the slope there’re another two churches: Santa Cristina de Lena and San Julián de los Prados, (Santullano), where you can admire amazing frescoes.
Camping near Oviedo
The richness and weirdness of Oviedo temples can be overwhelming. It’s best to divide the sightseeing into several days, and then go to the coast to rest a little bit and breathe the sea breeze. About 20 miles north of the city, there’s Camping Perlora. The place for motorhome costs 5.85 euros, while the price of accommodation for an adult amounts 5.30 euros.
Who knows, maybe we’ll dream about a walk through the streets of Oviedo, and silent sculptures will say few words to us?