- Inland excursions
Inland excursions - Dining - Popular
culture - Map
In addition to the city of Oviedo -absolutely necessary in
order to create a complete image of the Asturian region- the
traveller has two other excursions which should not be missed,
that which introduces us to Cangas de Onis and Covadonga, and
the other which takes us into the rugged landscape of the Picos
de Europa. First, Oviedo is an old and charming city which
inevitably evokes its literary representations contained in
Clarin's "La Regenta" and in the novels of Perez
de Ayala. The Cathedral, porticoes and streets and squares,
with 19th century façades, make up the stage for peaceful
living on a small scale in traditional cities. But Oviedo has
more solid values than those of its own ambience: the Cathedral
to begin with, can be included among the Best of late Hispanic
Gothic. Inside, the traveller can begin to appreciate the truly
marvellous Asturian Pre-Romanesque art and also the Romanesque
moment in all its splendour. The temple, constructed between
the 15th and 16th centuries, is a splendid sample of Gothic
architecture and it contains in its interior, highly valuable
pieces of sacred art among which the main altarpiece stands
out, carved in the heart of the 16th century, in a late Gothic
style. The crypt of Sant Leocadia and the Holy Chamber, two
prior works included in the Cathedral, make up a small Pre-Romanesque
complex intended to shelter the treasures proceeding from the
times when the Astur kingdom was founded.
Around the Cathedral, a well conserved historic centre spreads
out. The Archbishop's Palace, the Monastery of San Pelayo,
the Town council and some fine palaces -such as that of Camposagrado-
are just some of the monuments to be visited in the city centre.
The tour should be completed with a visit to the Campo de San
Francisco and to the El Fontan, a popular and colourful market
which defines the true spirit of Old Oviedo better than any
The Church of San Tirso and that of San Julian de los Prados
are two of the oldest structures in Oviedo though in order
to get to know Asturian Pre-Romanesque art, the traveller has
a more important date with the Naranco mountain, on whose slopes
is found the Basilica of San Miguel de Lillo and the Palace
of Santa Maria del Naranco. Both were built in the 9th century
and considered generally as the most beautiful and representative
of the Christian art in it epoch.
The most recommendable itinerary for getting to know Cangas
de Onis and Covadonga is probably that which starts at Ribadesella.
In Cangas -the first headquarters of the Astur kingdom- references
to its old settlement and its cultural importance are not lacking:
the Cueva del Buxu (cave- just a few kilometres from the center
of town) conserves a valuable series of rupestrian paintings
of the paleolithic era. Also on the outskirts of town, the
Monastery of San Pedro is of Pre-Romanesque origin, though
it conserves mostly additions of the 13th century and the Baroque
period. In the town itself, the most interesting is without
a doubt the medieval bridge, more popularly but erroneously
known as the Roman bridge. But the excursion should continue
into the valley which shelters the Sanctuary of Covadonga.
The Sanctuary is a Neo-Gothic building os the past century
but the historic and religious relevance of the place fully
justified the great number of visitors it attracts. Here in
the year 722, an important battle was fought which led to the
founding of the Asturian kingdom, the main focus of resistance
against the Moslem advance in the Peninsula. From Covadonga,
a very steep highway leads to the Enol and Ercina lakes, an
area of imposing beauty.
The third suggested excursion also reveals some highly interesting
scenery. From any place on the Eastern coast or from Cangas
de Onis, one should head for Arenas de Cabrales and follow
along the course of the Cares river until Puente Poncebos.
Here, the traveller should park his car and continue on foot
along the Garganta del Cares route. However, the less athletic
folk can continue by car to Tielve and Sotres, two small towns
located at the foot of the Picos de Europa in order to take
in some breath-taking scenery.
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