advertisement

Oviedo has been rebuilt into a modern city around Parque de San Francisco. It still contains historical and artistic monuments, the most important being the Catedral de San Salvador on the Plaza de Alfonso II el Casto (tel. 98-522-10-33). The original church dates to the 8th century, but the Gothic church was begun in 1348 and completed at the end of the 15th century (except for the spire, which dates from 1556). Inside is an altarpiece in the florid Gothic style, dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. The cathedral's 9th-century Cámara Santa (Holy Chamber) is famous for the Cross of Don Pelayo, the Cross of the Victory, and the Cross of the Angels, the finest specimens of Asturian art in the world. Admission to the cathedral is free, but entrance to the Holy Chamber is 1.50€ for adults, 1€ for children 10 to 15, and free for children 9 and under. For 3€ for adults and 1.50€ for children, you can buy a package ticket to also visit the Museo de la Iglesia and the Claustro Gótico. Both are open July to September Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm, and Saturday 10am to 6pm. Off season, they're open Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm and 4 to 7pm, and Saturday 4 to 6pm. Take bus no. 1.

Standing above Oviedo, on Monte Naranco, are two of the most famous examples of Asturian pre-Romanesque architecture. Santa María del Naranco (tel. 98-529-56-85), originally a 9th-century palace and hunting lodge of Ramiro I, offers views of Oviedo and the snowcapped Picos de Europa. Once containing baths and private apartments, it was converted into a church in the 12th century. Intricate stonework depicts hunting scenes, and barrel vaulting rests on a network of blind arches. The open porticoes at both ends were architecturally 200 years ahead of their time. From April to September, the church is open Sunday and Monday 9:30am to 1pm, and Tuesday to Saturday 9:30am to 1pm and 3:30 to 7pm. Off-season hours are Sunday and Monday 10am to 1pm, Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 12:30pm and 3 to 4:30pm. Admission is 3€ and includes admission to San Miguel de Lillo. Entrance is free on Monday.

About 90m (295 ft.) away is San Miguel de Lillo (tel. 98-529-56-85). It, too, was built by Ramiro I as a royal chapel and was no doubt a magnificent specimen of Asturian pre-Romanesque architecture until 15th-century architects marred its grace. The stone carvings that remain, however, are exemplary. Most of the sculptures have been transferred to the archaeological museum in town. The church is open the same hours as Santa María del Naranco . Ask the tourist office for its 45-minute walking tour from the center of Oviedo to the churches.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.