Why visit Oviedo?
Why visit Oviedo?
Many use Oviedo as a base for visiting the nearby UNESCO Pre-Romanesque churches but spend some time in the city itself and you will find an intimate and curious place. The architecture is so unique that in no other place did we find anything similar to the charmingly decorative bay-windows of Oviedo. The old town is a nice change of pace from the devoutness of Santiago away to the west and the industrial grind of the Basque Country to the east. Charmingly, Oviedo feels very familiar; very quickly and last but by no means least, hitchhiking out of Oviedo is not so difficult due to its size and useful bus services.
Rating: 1 – Bad Experience 5 – Good Experience
Oviedo: the facts
Capital of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain, Oviedo is the commercial and administrative centre of its principality and is home to around 230,000 people. Legend has the city being founded in 761 by two monks who built a church to San Vincent This is, however, disputed as archaeologists have found evident of a Roman settlement dating back to the 1st century. The city first began to take off as the capital of the Asturian kingdom in the early Middle Ages and grew in significance as an important staging post along the Camino de Santiago.
For Asturias, despite remaining the only land unconquered by the Muslims, the golden age soon passed, as the capital moved further south to León , following the Reconquista and the newly conquered lands. The kingdom of Asturias gave way to the kingdom of León which in turn gave way to Castilla and then Spain, as the great land mass slowly solidified and unified.
The city’s university was founded in 1600 and the growth in mining and manufacturing during the 19th century brought much needed impetuous back to the region. In 1934 a miners’ revolt rocked the city and was harshly repressed by a young General Franco. This, coupled with a month long siege in the early months of the Spanish Civil War, saw much of the old town destroyed.
Today, the gritty Oviedo-Gijόn-Avilés industrial triangle still forms the bedrock of the region’s industry to this day. Oviedo’s economy relies upon its role as the administrative capital with much of its economy based in the service sector.
Slap bang in the middle of Spain’s green belt, Oviedo is, put simply, very wet. It rains all year round but especially in the winter months. It is an Oceanic climate so expect cool summers but relatively mild winters with temperatures ranging from 14 – 23o C (summer) and 4 – 12 o C (winter)
Weather in Oviedo now
Oviedo has been the inspiration for many Spanish authors and was the basis for the fictional city of Vetusta in Leopoldo Alas’ La Regenta. The city was also heavily featured in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
The internationally respected Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias (Asturias Symphony Orchestra) also calls the city home. It, together with the Spanish Lyrical Theatre Festival and Opera Season, helps form the basis of high culture in Oviedo. During the summer months a range of musical concerts and events spring up across the city, including Asturian Folk Music Contests as well as more modern pop and rock performances.
The city’s main festival San Mateo takes place in the 3rd week of September and the 19th September sees America Day celebrated with a big procession in honour of Asturian immigrants. The 21st September is the pinnacle of the event when wine and bollu preñau (sausage filled bread) are handed out to the revelers.
Real Oviedo, the city’s sole football team has been having a tough time of late and are currently in Liga B. Oviedo also plays host to a lower league basketball team and is a regular stop on the cycling tour Vuelta a España.
written by: Jon