13/08/2015

The magic of a city with literary airs

The bohemian and accomplice character of Oviedo inspired the author Leopoldo Alas “Clarín” to write the book which became the masterpiece of the Spanish literature of the nineteenth century: La Regenta. In the book, the capital of Asturias was identified with the name of Vetusta and the tory developed in each of its streets and crannies became so powerful that the square of Alfonso II the Chaste houses, since 1997, a sculpture of Ana Ozores, the central character of Clarín’s novel.

With this background it is no coincidence that Oviedo is one of the most important cultural capitals of our country.

la-regenta

Cultural Heritage

Knowing Oviedo means coming in contact with many historical buildings that make up this city. There are a few monuments that have been declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Among the architectural exponents which enjoy international recognition are the Chapel of San Miguel de Lillo, the Palace of Santa María del Naranco –in the picture below–, and the Basilica of San Julián de los Prados, three monuments from the ninth century and included in the Romanesque art. But if there is a famous feature in Oviedo that is the Cathedral, dating from the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries and dedicated to Salvador, the same saint who was worshiped in the temple of the eighth century on which the Cathedral was built. The Holy House of the Cathedral of Oviedo hosts the most important relics of the city, first signs of Asturian style: the Victoria Cross, present in the flag of the Principality of Asturias; the Cross of the Angels, printed on the flag of the municipality of Oviedo; Chest of Agates, and the Holy Shroud.

Behind the Cathedral, on San Vicente street, is located the Archaeological Museum of Asturias. Since 1952, it occupies the cloister of the former convent of San Vicente, the first building of the city of Oviedo when it was founded in 761. The museum’s collection covers has a great historical significance, with pieces ranging from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages.

Besides having one of the largest samples of architectural heritage of our country, Oviedo is home to the Princess of Asturias Awards, that year after year recognize the work of professionals from different sectors of society such as science, culture, technology and sport. The celebration of these awards makes Oviedo become an international capital at least once a year.

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Gastronomy

Asturias has a total of six delicacies that have the Appellation of Origin. How could it be otherwise, cider is one of them. And the production of varieties of cider apples extends over 78 municipalities of the Principality, making this drink the flagship product. The city of Oviedo has a track in the historic center –Gascona the street that has become known as the ‘Boulevard of Cider’–. The nearly ten cider bars of the area have spent years organizing specific activities like contests or food festivals to enliven the already large number of clients that they have throughout the year.

Speaking of cider , we can’t overlook the plate accompanying it: Asturian pot. The Asturian faba, the main ingredient in this recipe, has specific denomination since 1990 and has a number of features that distinguish it from the others: green sheath elongated profile; stem of indeterminate size and long internodes; long, flat oblong grain; white background and a minimum length of 18 mm.

The other four products with designation are different varieties of cheese. The milk production makes Asturias, along with Galicia, one of Spain’s gastronomic references. The Cabrales cheese, the Afuega’l Pitu, the Gamonéu and the Casín are some signs of gastronomic identity of this land.

Oviedo has renowned restaurants where the pot is one of the most popular dishes along with tapas of cheese. Among the most important are Mestura, which combines modern design with the traditional ingredients; and Ca’Suso, which made contemporary Spanish cuisine to be enjoyed in a decorated environment with furniture that recalls the style of an old Asturian family home.

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