The Cathedral of Oviedo began its construction at the dawn of the fourteenth century just over the ruins of a pre-Romanesque basilica and it was King Alfonso II the Chaste who promoted its construction. During medieval times it became an important pilgrimage center and a must-see for those on their way to Santiago.
Its architectural style was based on the predominant Gothic of the time and a flowery touch. It consists of a single tower of 80 m. which can be seen from any location in the city of Oviedo, thus having a dominant position.
The Cathedral of Oviedo has several elements that attract the attention of visitors. Its doors are made of walnut wood with beautiful carvings. In addition, it has a space of greater value known as the Holy Chamber, within which are some religious relics, so you can see the Holy Ark, the Cross of the Angels, the Holy Shroud, the Ark of the Agates and the Cross of Victory, while at the bottom is the Crypt of Santa Leocadia.
History and characteristics of the Cathedral of Oviedo
The full name of the cathedral is Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de San Salvador de Oviedo. Its majesty is reflected when it rises with its golden color in the main square.
Its façade consists of three doors that lead to each of the naves of the interior. The largest nave is 10 m. wide, 67 m. long and 20 m. high. The Holy Chamber was declared World Heritage for the value of its treasures and the Romanesque sculptures around it.
Also there are, in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Chaste King. There are the sepulchres of Asturian monarchs, being the first royal pantheon of the country, this small chapel.
The construction of this cathedral had different budgetary drawbacks. That influenced some details of the building such as the niches of the main entrance that were not finished and the lack of a second tower that although it was planned in the initial design, it was not possible to build, and therefore does not look like all the cathedrals of Gothic style. Also other technical aspects directly affected the time it took to build the building, but it has still managed to remain a symbolic pillar of the country’s religious culture for the quality of its relics and the large number of pilgrims who arrive there to continue with the Camino de Santiago.
How to know the Cathedral of Oviedo
There are 3 types of visits you can make to get to know much more about the Cathedral of Oviedo.
Guided and theatrical tour of Oviedo
Upon arrival in the city you can hire a guided tour of historical figures. Some examples are La Regenta de Clarín, Ana de Ozores and a historic pilgrim on his way to Santiago. The guide assumes the character you choose and takes you to the most relevant places in the square and the cathedral. He will tell you about historical and interesting facts and help you understand some of the medieval world. It was here that the creation of that beautiful sacred monument was inspired. In addition, the vicissitudes that pilgrims had to face when taking the Camino de Santaigo were created, as well as the strong historical influence of this religious phenomenon.
The other visits are; visits adapted to children, night routes to know the old town of Oviedo. In adition of the route that you start independently without any guide.
Other activities you can do in the surroundings of the Cathedral of Oviedo
Visit the Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias which opens its doors to the public for the exhibition of various works of art and a collection of authors such as Dalí, El Greco, Goya and Zurbarán. This museum is occupied by two buildings of historical tradition in the city and from where you can see the remains of ancient Oviedo. The museum is located 0.08 km from the Cathedral.
Visit the archaeological sites of the region where you can learn about the legacy of some communities belonging to the Neolithic and which were architects of fantastic monuments.