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Oviedo travel guide — Oviedo tourism and travel information

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about Oviedo

Oviedo (Asturian, Uviéu) is the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain.

Oviedo is the commercial and business capital, and the administrative and university centre of the region.

Oviedo history

Little could the monks Máximo and Fromestano, founders of the city in 761, have suspected that their choice of a hill in the centre of Asturias would give rise to an urban, commercial, ecclesiastic and military life that has lasted for more than one thousand two hundred years. That first settlement was to be soon completed with the construction of a small church dedicated to San Vicente.

King Fruela I, the fourth of the Asturian monarchs, was the first decided promoter of the city as may be witnessed by his construction of both a palace and a nearby church. Nevertheless, Oviedo owes to Alfonso II, The Chaste (791-842) its establishment as a capital city and ruling seat as a result of the moving of the court from Pravia and the creation of the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela, a major event in the history of Oviedo, a church dedicated to The Saviour, the Cathedral of San Salvador, and a royal palace formed the nucleus and motive power of Oviedo.

During this period the city became the centre of an original and unique architectural expression, inheritor of Visigothic, Moorish and Nordic traditions, which was to reach its high point during the reign of Ramiro I.

The moving of the royal court to León, after the death of Alfonso III, The Great, links the life of the city to the relics preserved in its cathedral and the passing of pilgrims that visit El Salvador, and continue on their way to Santiago de Compostela. The following centuries (XII-XVI) witness the development of the medieval city, the outlines of which are still preserved today, the construction of the city walls, a devastating fire which took place on Christmas Eve in 1521, and the formidable aqueduct works, Los Pilares, constructed in order to provide the city with water throughout the XVI century.

The foundation of the Literary University by Fernando de Valdés Salas, at the beginning of the XVII century, opened Oviedo to a progressive urban expansion, further impulse in the XVII by the city nobility and the construction of remarkable palaces; in the XIX century by industrial growth and the suburban development of Uría Street, and finally in the XX century by administrative and commercial development.

At the present Oviedo is the capital of the Principality of Asturias and maintains its vocation as a university and administrative service city. Business and commerce has become its fundamental economic sector. Today, Oviedo is a city with an outstanding international influence through the Prince of Asturias Awards, annually conceded in the Campoamor Theatre, and also as a result of the International Campus, attended by many world renowned personalities.

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