Oviedo is the starting point of Camino Primitivo or Original Way. This Camino was known as the first route to Santiago de Compostela. It started in the 9th century when most of Spain was under Moorish control. This was also the Camino that King Alfonso II the Caste walked from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela.
What to visit in Oviedo?
You should start your pilgrimage visiting the Holy Chamber, San Salvador, in the cathedral of Oviedo. This is in the heart of the city. It was Alfonso II who ordered the construction of the Cathedral. This symbolic temple is the home to many important relics that pilgrims always want to see and know about. The Holy Chamber is a pre-Romanesque church that dates back to the 9th century and it is UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the most important relics is the Sudarium. The Sudarium is sometimes called the other Shroud, or more correctly the face-cloth of Chris.The Sudarium is in the Cathedral of San Salvador in Oviedo, Spain. It is displayed to the public three times a year, on Good Friday, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14th and its octave on September 21st. It is displayed after the main concelebrated Mass and people remain in their seats while venerating the relic. You may be interested in the book by Mark Guscin entitled The Oviedo Cloth.
The shell symbol can be found all over the city, on the sidewalks, on signs and engraved in stone within the Cathedral, and demonstrates the importance of the Camino to Oviedo.
Calle Magdalena, near the park of Campillín, used to be the way pilgrims would enter Oviedo. Within a small niche in the stone facade of one of the street’s buildings, you can still find an ancient statue of Mary Magdalene, whom the pilgrims would pause to revere. The street today is still full of activity, as a popular pedestrian zone with a lot of great little shops.
If you have enough time, you can spend time in Oviedo since there are plenty of things to do and watch. Stroll around the beautifully preserved Old Town immersing yourself in the historical architecture. Head to Cider Boulevard (Bulevar de la Sidra) to sample the favoured local tipple, poured from a great height. Explore the chic streets around Calle Asturias and Plaza América and see why Oviedo is seen as snooty. Head 2km out of the city to see the pre-Romanesque churches of Palacio de Santamaria del Naranco and Iglesia de San Miguel de Lillo. Visit El Mercado de Fontan (Fontan Market) in the heart of the old town and meander around the stalls, seeing the array of fresh fish.
Moreover, if you like movies and culture, this city keeps some secrets. Oviedo is famous for being a principal set in the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona by Woody Allen – Allen is a huge fan of the city and visits regularly. The famous Premios Principe de Asturias are held here annually, awards of recognition given to outstanding candidates in their field. The prizes have been given extra meaning for the city in recent years as Princess Letizia of Spain is a native of Oviedo. Also from this seemingly productive little city is Formula 1 Champion Fernando Alonso and Spanish International footballer Juan Mata. The name of these awards has changed this year since the Prince Felipe has become King Felipe VI so they are called now Premios Princesa de Asturias due to the new princess Leonor, Spanish King´s daughter.
What about food and drink?
You shouldn´t leave Oviedo without tasting at least some of these delicatessen
Sidra: Cider, cider and more cider
Fabada Asturiana: (Meat and bean stew famous across Asturias)
Cachopo: A meat lovers dream, two veal fillets fried, and served together with a filling (normally melted cheese)
Queso Cabrales: Strong blue cheese found all across Asturias. Delicious with Cider .
Oviedo is worth to be visited, try to stop your pilgrimage for a while and enjoy it.
Buen Camino, amigos!