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El Cristo – Oviedo from Above

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The neighborhood of El Cristo occupies a hill just south-west of the city center, and hosts the majority of the University of Oviedo’s facilities.

Power Plant Oviedo

We ascended into El Cristo, a hundred meters above the historic center, to check out the neighborhood. It’s a lively area full of students and residents, and interesting both for the crazy university architecture and the views over the valley.

Oviedo’s Plaza de Toros can be found in El Cristo, towards the foot of the hill. It’s out of use and has apparently become the hangout for the city’s alcoholics; at 11am, we saw a woman squatting in the bushes with her pants down, trying clownishly to maintain balance without letting go of her beer bottle. We named her “Sweetie”. Sweetie del Cristo.

The architecture is surreal, exactly what a sci-fi writer from 1964 might consider “futuristic”. Up at the very top of the hill, we arrived at the old meteorological center and a bunch of industrial storage silos, which would make a great location for a Hollywood chase scene. Overall, we liked El Cristo more than we thought we would. A cool contrast to the rest of Oviedo, which is so monumental and ancient.

Cristo Oviedo
meteorological-oviedo
Oviedo Students
Students Lost
Calatrava Swimming Pool
Soccer Oviedo
Oviedo You Tube
Oviedo Shapes
Oviedo
Hospital Oviedo
Oviedo Wired
Modern Art
Modern Art Photography

Photographer

Autovermietung

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September 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm Comments (2)

Santa Cristina de Lena

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“Pre-Romanesque” is a confusing architectural term. The style didn’t appear until centuries after the Romans, so it’s not exactly pre-Roman at all. Instead, the term refers to buildings which pre-date the Romanesque architecture of medieval times, named so because of its rounded Roman arches.

Santa Cristina de Lena

Further adding to the confusion is that the term “Pre-Romanesque” doesn’t have a concrete definition. There are no defining characteristics that relate the Pre-Romanesque architecture of Spain to that of, say, Croatia. It’s just a generic designation for any Western architecture that predates the Romanesque.

In other words, “Pre-Romanesque Architecture” has nothing whatsoever to do with Romans, nor with an architectural style. Maybe I’m slow, but that confused me for weeks.

The only Pre-Romanesque architecture in Spain is found in Asturias, since the rest of the peninsula was under the rule of the Moors (with their non-Western Mozarabic style). In and around Oviedo, there are many well-preserved examples, including the Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo. A less-visited church lays about 30km south of the city: Santa Cristina de Lena.

High up on a hill with an incredible view of the valley, the ancient church was constructed in the year 852. Those kind of dates still blow my mind: more than the length of my life squared. There’s clearly been a lot of reconstruction on the Santa Cristina, but the custodian pointed out many elements which are original, including a 7th-century Visigoth lattice which was worked into the decoration. This was a church built for the use of the king, with a royal tribune above the entranceway, and we found engravings of shells, indicating that it must have been (and probably still is) a minor stop on the Camino de Santiago.

It’s hard to find, but this church is definitely worth tracking down for fans of architecture. There’s also a Pre-Romanesque interpretation center in the nearby train station. Personally, the more of these buildings I saw, the more interesting they became.

Location on our Oviedo Map

Fairy Tale Asturias
Ray of Light
Sun Hole
A Sign
Santa Cristina de Lena
Churches of Asturias
Camino Santiago Shell
Asturian Monster
Roman Arches
Cristina Grill
Santa Cristina
Hear Cristina Lena
Asturias Heart
Details Churh Lena

Youth Hotels in Asturias

Road Trip Asturias
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September 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm Comments (2)

The Asturian Museum of Fine Arts

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The incredible Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias is smack dab in the middle of Oviedo, just meters away from the Cathedral. Filled with modern and classic works spanning centuries, a visit is indispensable, especially considering the happy fact that it’s free.

Altarpiece-of-Saint-Marine

The museum, which opened in 1980, occupies two of the city’s most important historic buildings: the Palacio de Pedro Velarde, which houses the museum’s classic masterworks, and the Casa de Oviedo-Portal, with a collection of modern art. We recommend starting at the former, through its entrance on Calle Santa Ana, to proceed in a chronologically correct way through the museum’s artwork.

The modern art, with a heavy emphasis on Asturian works, is alright, but the museum’s real treasures are found in the Palacio Velarde. Dalí, Picasso, Sorrolla, Goya and more. We were impressed by El Greco’s series of the Twelve Apostles arranged around a large column, and also liked the massive Altarpiece of Saint Marine, which depicts twelve scenes from her life and six from the Passion.

The museum is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside, and is set to expand even further in the near future, with construction already underway on five additional buildings. Expect to spend a couple hours, to get through all the rooms.

If you have even a passing interest in art, make sure to check out the museum during your stay. Actually, even if you don’t have interest in art, you should go. Should you be so disinterested that a free museum filled with works from Spain’s greatest masters doesn’t entice you, you need to work a little on your cultural awareness, anyway.

Location on our Oviedo Map
Official Website

Wood Monster
Stone Doll
Wood Astronaut
Marbel Angel
Disco Ball Painting
Fine Art Museum Oviedo
Day @ the Beach
Art Critic
Asturian Painter COLORS
Sneak Peek Painting
Museo Bellas Artes Oviedo
El Greco Oviedo
Jesus 3D
Lady Boy
Shadow Fish Painting
praying
Steeling from the Blind
Santa Marine Mirror
Sant Marine

Art in the Reina Sophia Museum in Madrid

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September 26, 2010 at 7:22 pm Comments (4)

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