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A Quick Visit to Grado

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Hotels in Asturias

About 30 kilometers due west of Oviedo is the small town of Grado, home to about 7000 people.

Grado Villa

Grado is the kind of village where you might casually happen upon something like a reenactment of a fight from the 19th century Peninsular War. Somehow, the mock battle between groups of townspeople in antiquated soldier costumes didn’t surprise me at all. It seemed to fit. Like so many pueblos around Spain, with its slow pace and social life lived out in the streets, Grado seems stuck in an earlier time.

We didn’t have long to walk around the town or explore the surrounding area, but we were charmed by Grado. The architecture is different than other Asturian towns we’ve visited; Grado’s boom was during the early 20th century, when it developed into an important agricultural hub, built new theaters, hotels and cabarets, and became a popular escape from Oviedo. There are a lot of old colonial-style mansions, built by the indianos: Asturians who’d made their fortunes in the Americas and returned home to live in luxury.

Happening upon the war reenactment was totally coincidental. Grado was the scene of four important battles during the Spanish war of independence against the French, and the people here are still proud of their involvement, and watching soldiers kill each other was a fun way to end our short visit to the town. Especially since it’s so close, Grado makes for an easy excursion from Oviedo.

Location on our Asturias Map

Mansion Asturias
Old Times Asturias
Grado Ayuntamiento
Grado Iglesia
Grado Mercado
Pan De Lena Grado
Grado Church
Star Window Grado
Woody in Asturias
Sidra Plaza
French in Grado
Grado Fiesta
High Tech Grado
Boring War
Waiting For War
French War
Grado Asturias
Grado Francais
French Invastion
Asturian Flags
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October 7, 2010 at 8:12 am Comment (1)

Plaza del Riego

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Found near the historic seat of the University of Oviedo, the Plaza del Riego is a small, triangular shaped plaza in the center of the city, which buzzes with activity from morning until evening, when its outdoor terraces are consistently packed.

Plaza del Riego

Formed by the streets of Ramon y Cajal and Peso, the plaza owes its name to the Asturian military hero Rafael del Riego, a general who led the 1817 revolution against an incompetent King Ferdindand VII. The revolt was successful and, after the king was imprisoned in Madrid, Riego became the Asturian delegate in a short-lived constitutional period. Unfortunately, France and other European monarchies didn’t like the idea of a Republican Spain, and soon sent in armies to restore Ferdinand VII. Riego was sent to the gallows.

Before renaming it honor of their fallen hero, ovetenses referred to this area as the Plaza de la Picota, or “pillory”. It was here that lawbreakers and heretics who ran afoul of the inquisition would be punished. The sculpture in the center of the plaza is an archaic meteorological column, which holds the bust of Rafael de Riego and a plaque honoring his achievements.

Location on our Oviedo Map

Riego Oviedo
Rafael del Riego
Cafe Bar Oviedo
Historic Oviedo

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August 26, 2010 at 9:44 am Comments (5)
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