Uviéu  (Asturian)
Benemérita, invicta, heroica, buena, muy noble, muy leal
(Meritorious, undefeated, heroic, good, very noble, very loyal)
Coordinates: 43°21′36″N 5°50′42″W / 43.36000°N 5.84500°W / 43.36000; -5.84500Coordinates: 43°21′36″N 5°50′42″W / 43.36000°N 5.84500°W / 43.36000; -5.84500
Autonomous communityAsturias
 • AlcaldeAlfredo Canteli (2019) (PP)
 • Total186.65 km2 (72.07 sq mi)
232 m (761 ft)
 • Total220,020
 • Density1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
Demonym(s)ovetense in castilian
uvieín/a in Asturian or, colloquially, carbayón
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
from 33001 to 33013
Official language(s)Spanish
Santa María del Naranco (Pre-Romanesque shrine)
Santa María del Naranco (Pre-Romanesque shrine)
San Julián de los Prados (Pre-Romanesque shrine)
San Julián de los Prados (Pre-Romanesque shrine)
San Miguel de Lillo (Pre-Romanesque shrine)
San Miguel de Lillo (Pre-Romanesque shrine)
Cathedral of San Salvador (founded in 781 A.C.), and the Statue of La Regenta
Cathedral of San Salvador (founded in 781 A.C.), and the Statue of La Regenta
San Isidoro El Real Church
San Isidoro El Real Church
San Pelayo Monastery
San Pelayo Monastery
Building at Plaza de La Escandalera
Building at Plaza de La Escandalera

Oviedo (UK: /ˌɒviˈd/, US: /ˌvi-, ˈvjd, -ˈvjɛ-, -ð/,[2][3][4] Spanish: [oˈβjeðo]; Asturian: Uviéu [uˈβjeʊ]) is the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain and the administrative and commercial centre of the region. It is also the name of the municipality that contains the city. Oviedo is located approximately 24 km (15 mi) southwest of Gijón[5] and 23 km (14 mi) south of Avilés,[6] both of which lie on the shoreline of the Bay of Biscay. Oviedo's proximity to the ocean of less than 30 kilometres (19 mi) in combination with its elevated position with areas of the city more than 300 metres above sea level causes the city to have a maritime climate, in spite of its not being located on the shoreline itself.

The Kingdom of Asturias began in 720, with the Visigothic aristocrat Pelagius's (685–737) revolt against the Muslims who at the time were occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula. The Moorish invasion that began in 711 had taken control of most of the peninsula, until the revolt in the northern mountains by Pelagius. The resulting Kingdom of Asturias, located in an economically poor region of Iberia, was largely ignored by the Muslims. In 720, the area where Oviedo is now located was still uninhabited.[7]

It is said that two monks, Máximo and Fromestano (Latin: Maximus et Fromestanus), founded the city in 761. That settlement was soon to be completed with the construction of a small church dedicated to Saint Vincent. Oviedo was established on an uninhabited hillside, with no Visigothic or Roman foundation before it became an Asturian city.[8] Following Pelagius, who died in 737, Alfonso I (739–57) founded a dynasty that reigned until 1037. The Asturian Kingdom was on hostile terms with southern Moorish Spain. In 794, Oviedo was sacked and pillaged by Caliph Hisham I in one of his numerous campaigns against the Christian kingdoms.[9]

King Alfonso I is said to have "set in place the whole order of the Goths, as it had been in Toledo, as much in the church as in the palace."[10] The intention with Oviedo was to shape it into a city similar to that of Visigothic Toledo. Once kings had settled in Oviedo, they adopted as much of the architectural style and imagery of Toledo. Even with this in mind, Oviedo did not necessarily resemble the old Visigothic capital in Toledo. The churches and buildings of Oviedo follow instead late provincial Roman tradition. Since Asturias at the time was an agriculturally poor area of Spain the scale of the buildings is quite impressive.[11]

Oviedo's rich architectural tradition began with King Fruela I (757–768). King Fruela I of Asturias, 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. This church was later restored by Alfonso II. Oviedo owes to a later king, 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 of Oviedo. Also constructed during Alfonso II's reign was the San Julian de los Prados church, which is one of the best preserved Asturian churches. Alfonso II's successor, Ramiro I (842–850), continued Alfonso II's construction streak. Ramiro I constructed two buildings, the Church Santa Maria del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo. The Church Santa Maria de Naranco was likely to originally be Ramiro I's palace and later changed into a church.[12] By this time the Court of the Palace was centered in Oviedo, which was the main royal residence. This court was controlled by members of the Asturian nobility.[13]

Ramiro I's (842–850) eight-year tenure was uneasy, he faced rebellions from the Counts of the Palace. The first rebellion against Ramiro I was led by Alroitus, and the second rebellion was led by Piniolus. Both of these rebellions were unsuccessful in removing Ramiro I. These rebellions may have been why Ramiro I built his palace in the mountains surrounding Oviedo, presumably away from the violence.[13] During the 9th century in Oviedo, Roman style property law is common. 9th century documents also indicate small scale aristocracies across the kingdom, as well as a large presence of a landowning peasantry.[14]

Following Ramiro I's reign, Ordoño I (850–866) came into power and began the Asturian king's father-son succession. Ordoño I was the first king to push southwards into Arab territory.[14] Following Ordoño I's death on May 27, 866, usurpers attempted to take the throne. The following king Alfonso III (866–910), who was thirteen at the time, took refuge in Castile until his followers had killed the usurper.[15]

Alfonso III's contributions to building construction are not nearly as well documented as Ramiro I's or Alfonso II's contributions. The Chronicle of Alfonso III does not mention any buildings created by Alfonso III, neither does the Chronicle of Albelda. In 882, the body of the Cordoban martyr Eulogius was sent to Oviedo. This was meant a diplomatic gift from Emir Muhammad I (852–886). Eulogius was executed in 859. The body was likely accompanied by Eulogius's book collection.[15] In the 16th century, the only manuscript of Eulogius's writings was discovered in the Oviedo Cathedral Library. Here it was copied once before it disappeared completely from the library. Following an offensive in 881 against an Umayyad army, Alfsonso III returned to Oviedo to rebuild churches. It was at this time he constructed one or more palaces. The Chronicle of Albelda and the Chronicle of Sampiro tie Alfonso III's victories in battle to his program of church building in Oviedo.[16] In 908, Alfonso III commissioned a gold and jewelled cross to contain the cross carried by Pelagius I at Covadonga. This "Cross of Victory" is located in the Camara Sancta in the Oviedo Cathedral. However, recent Carbon14 analysis of the wooden cross indicates that it was no older than the golden casing created to surround the cross. The commission of the casing shows us Alfonso III's interest in perpetuating the legend of Pelagius I.

Towards the end of Alfonso III's reign, he faced many challenges. In 901, a prophet named Alhaman led a "great army of Muslims" and attempted to take Zamora[citation needed]. To add to this, Alfonso III's brother Vermudo revolted in Astorga. There were several attempts at the aging Alfonso III's life by his sons. Alfonso III was overthrown by sons, and died in Zamora. His body was taken to Oviedo for burial.

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. Kings spent less and less time in Oviedo following the change, and spent more time in the rich Duero Plains. León was built up after it became the capital, and eventually surpassed Oviedo in terms of construction.

During the 12th century, many Royal Charters were fabricated by Bishop Pelayo de Oviedo, "el fabulador" ("the fabulist"). Since were few checks on internal bookkeeping in the Asturian kingdom actions like this were commonplace in the kingdom. When original documents faded, they were copied onto cartularies and often with alterations that suited the needs of those who copied the documents. The most glaring example can be seen in the Liber Testamentorum, which was compiled by Bishop Pelayo de Oviedo in 1109. This document contained many confirmation rights and property rights of the Oviedo cathedral by Asturian and Leonese Kings. Bishop Pelayo's intent behind this was to try to gain the independence of his see from the archbishop of Toledo or Santiago, as well as to promote Oviedo as a pilgrim destination.[17] According to Sánchez-Albornoz, "He (Bishop Pelayo) always, always, always falsified."[18] It is assumed that Bishop Pelayo never committed forgery for the enjoyment, but primarily to promote the church of Oviedo.[19]

The following centuries (12th–16th) 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 aqueduct works, Los Pilares, constructed in order to provide the city with water throughout the 16th century.

The foundation of the Arts College (University of Oviedo) by Fernando de Valdés Salas, at the beginning of the 17th century, opened Oviedo to a progressive urban expansion. Further impulse was in the 18th century by the regional nobility and the construction of remarkable palaces; in the 19th century by industrial growth and the suburban development of Uría Street; and finally in the 20th century by administrative and commercial development.

In October 1934, there was a left-wing revolt against the conservative government, based in several cities. In Asturias, the fighting developed into a small, short-lived civil war: the Asturian miners' strike of 1934. 50,000 workers, mostly miners, armed themselves with dynamite and captured Oviedo after heavy fighting. They gained control of the arsenal with 30,000 rifles and machine guns. The Army Chief of Staff, General Francisco Franco sent in soldiers who overpowered the rebels after severe street fighting that left 3,000 rebels dead and 7,000 wounded. The cathedral was badly damaged, with its eighth-century chapel blown up by a mine. In the aftermath, many false atrocity stories circulated.[20]

The Siege of Oviedo in 1936 was a memorable event in the Spanish Civil War. The army garrison rose in support of the Nationalist coup d'état and withstood a siege of three months by an improvised Republican force until relieved in 1937.


Oviedo is located in the centre of Asturias between the Nalón River and Nora River. To the north lie Las Regueras and Llanera, to the south Mieres and Ribera de Arriba, to the east Siero and Langreo, and to the west Grado and Santo Adriano. The altitude of Oviedo is between 80 and 709 metres above sea level. The city is protected against strong winds by Monte Naranco in the north and the Sierra del Aramo in the south. The city centre is rather hilly.


The economy is strongly dependent on the service sector, with many office buildings in the city centre. Oviedo's status as the administrative centre of the region supports a large number of jobs in public administration. The manufacturing sector, which remains important in this part of Spain, is not prevalent in Oviedo itself, but is more important in the adjacent municipalities of Siero and Llanera which lie to the north of the city, between Oviedo and Gijon. In 2009, the municipality had a total debt of €135 million.[21]


Oviedo contains a very rich architectural history, with many buildings dating back to the early medieval period. Many of the building projects were undertaken during Alfonso II's (791-842) reign and Ramiro I's (842-850) reign. Alfonso III's contributions are not as well documented.

Alfonso II is said to have built four churches, one dedicated to Christ the Saviour, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Tyrsus, and SS Julian and Basilissa. There are few traces of the churches dedicated to the Saviour, the Virgin Mary, and St. Tyrsus. The San Salvador church, which was dedicated to the Saviour, is likely beneath the Cathedral of Oviedo. The church of Santa Maria de la Corte, which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was demolished in 1702.[22] As for St. Tyrsus, the church dedicated to him exists today as the church of San Tirso. Only a wall and a three light window are believed to have been built by Alfonso II, the majority of the rest of the church is dated to the 14th century.[23] The best preserved church constructed during Alfonso II's time was San Julian de los Prados.

Panoramic view of Oviedo
Panoramic view of Oviedo

Two buildings are said to have been built during Ramiro I's reign, one was a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the other construction was a palace. These were built just outside Oviedo, on Monte Lignum. The church Santa Maria de Naranco seems to originally have been a palace, but later repurposed into a church. The church has an atypical plan from other churches at its time, possibly because it was supposed to contain a throne room for the king. The other church built during Ramiro I's time was San Miguel de Lillo.[22]

The Chronicle of Albelda, one of the primary sources used to discern which King commissioned which building, only extends to 883. Because of this, constructions undertaken during Alfonso III's time as king were not documented.[16]

The following is a list of the notable architectural sites in Oviedo:

Plazas and squares


Fine Arts Museum of Asturias
Fine Arts Museum of Asturias
Campoamor Theatre
Campoamor Theatre
Parliament building of the Principality of Asturias
Parliament building of the Principality of Asturias
The Uria Street, city centre
The Uria Street, city centre

Oviedo inspired the fictional city of Vetusta in Leopoldo Alas's La Regenta. Other Spanish writers were inspired by the city, including Ramón Pérez de Ayala in Tigre Juan and Dolores Medio in her novel Nosotros los Rivero.

Oviedo was featured prominently in Woody Allen's movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Museums in Oviedo:

Other cultural centres in Oviedo:

Cultural institutions: Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias is the premier orchestra of the region, the Principality of Asturias. This full-time symphony orchestra performs a wide range of the classical repertoire with world class soloists and conductors. It is based in the Auditorio Principe Felipe in Oviedo, but it also performs regularly at the main concert venues in Gijón and Avilés. It is Internationally recognized as one of the best orchestras in Spain, it is also committed to adventurous programing with strong emphasis on education and community partnerships. Rossen Milanov is the Music Director.

Oviedo also hosts the annual Princess of Asturias Awards (previously called the Prince of Asturias Awards). This prestigious event, held in the city's Campoamor Theatre, recognizes international achievement in eight different categories. Previous award winners include Oscar Niemeyer, Bob Dylan and Francis Ford Coppola in the category of Arts; Nelson Mandela, the International Space Station and Al Gore in the category of International Cooperation; and Mario Bunge, CNN and Quino in the category of Communications and Humanities.

Oviedo University's international campus attracts many foreign scholars from all over the globe.

The city lends its name to the sudarium of Oviedo a religious relic[27] revered there since the 9th century.


The current mayor is Alfredo Canteli (PP).

Municipal elections
Party/List 1979 1983 1987 1991 1995 1999 2003 2007 2011 2015 2019
AP / PP 2 13 10 13 18 15 17 17 11 11 9
Somos 6 3
PSOE 11 13 12 10 6 10 8 9 6 5 8
PCA / IU-IX 2 1 1 2 3 2 2 3 3
C's 2 5
UCD / CDS 12 4 2
Vox 2
Total 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27


Formula One

The most famous athlete from Oviedo is 2005 and 2006 Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, famous for being Spain's only Formula One title winner, having raced for teams like Minardi, Renault, Ferrari, McLaren and Alpine. Alonso has his official career and life museum, together with a karting circuit designed by himself, in Llanera, nearby Oviedo.[28]

Sports teams in Oviedo

Annual sports events

Estadio Carlos Tartiere

Feasts and traditions

The Cuban float during the American Day in Asturias parade
The Cuban float during the American Day in Asturias parade
El Fontán square
El Fontán square

The Festive Calendar:

Typical gastronomy of the province:


Oviedo's climate is temperate oceanic (Cfb in the Köppen climate classification). Its climate is very similar to neighbouring city Gijón, with only narrow fluctuations in temperature due to its higher altitude and more inland location. Oviedo's warmest month is in August with an average high of 23.3 °C (73.9 °F).[29] The city centre is located at a lower elevation than the weather station so is likely somewhat milder year-round. Its maritime position renders winters much milder than in continental Spain such as in the Madrid capital region, but summers naturally are far less hot than in the interior. There is a slight drying tendency during summer, albeit far less significant than in other areas of Spain.

Climate data for Oviedo, altitude 336 m (1,102 ft) (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 23.4
Average high °C (°F) 12.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.3
Average low °C (°F) 4.6
Record low °C (°F) −6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 84
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 11 10 10 12 12 8 7 8 8 11 12 12 122
Average relative humidity (%) 76 75 74 76 78 79 79 80 78 79 79 77 78
Mean monthly sunshine hours 115 122 153 161 167 167 177 176 167 138 109 105 1,756
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[30]



Oviedo is served by Asturias Airport, about 48 km (30 mi) from the center of the city; it is located in the municipality of Castrillon. The airport is connected to the city by the A-8 motorway, the A-66 motorway and scheduled bus service (Alsa).

Public transport

Oviedo currently has 15 bus lines [31] and one Búho (owl) line. The owl services run on Saturdays, Sundays and on the eve of public holidays, except Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.[32] Last two lines (Línea U y Línea V) who connect rural zones of Oviedo were implemented in March 2020 and they only operate between Monday and Friday.[33]


The Oviedo railway station provides a wide range of long- and middle-distance services, in addition to regional and suburban (cercanías) services operated by Renfe, and the narrow-gauge Renfe Feve lines. Within the municipality, there are others rail stations on the Cercanías Asturias network, in La Corredoria, Llamaquique, El Caleyo, Olloniego, Santa Eulalia de Manzaneda, Tudela-Veguín, Parque Principado, Colloto, Argañosa-Lavapiés, Las Campas, Las Mazas, San Claudio, Soto-Udrión, Trubia, Fuso de la Reina, and Caces.


From 1922 to 1956, there was a tramway system in Oviedo [34]

Notable people

Princess of Asturias Awards at Campoamor Theatre
Princess of Asturias Awards at Campoamor Theatre

Other places in the municipality

Map with the parishes of Oviedo.
Map with the parishes of Oviedo.

International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Spain

Oviedo's City Hall.
Oviedo's City Hall.
"Estatua del León" (probably 17th century) outside at City Hall.
"Estatua del León" (probably 17th century) outside at City Hall.

Twin towns — sister cities

Oviedo is twinned with:[35]

See also


  1. ^ Municipal Register of Spain 2018. National Statistics Institute.
  2. ^ "Oviedo". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  3. ^ "Oviedo" (US) and "Oviedo". Oxford Dictionaries UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. n.d. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  4. ^ "Oviedo". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  5. ^ "Distancia de Oviedo a Gijón en coche". esdistancia.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  6. ^ "Distancia de Oviedo a Avilés en coche". esdistancia.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  7. ^ Linehan, Peter. History and the historians of medieval Spain. Clarendon Press, 1993, p.83-4.
  8. ^ Linehan 1993, p.83-4
  9. ^ Hisham I, D.M. Dunlop, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. III, ed. B. Lewis, V.L. Menage, C. Pellat and J. Schacht, (E.J. Brill, 1986), 495.
  10. ^ Chronica Albeldensia. XV. 9: ed. Gil, Crónicas asturianas, p. 174.
  11. ^ Wickham, Chris.The Inheritance of Rome. Penguin Books, 2009, p. 500-3
  12. ^ Collins, Roger. Caliphs and Kings: Spain, 796-1031. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, p.109
  13. ^ a b Collins 2012, p.71
  14. ^ a b Wickham 2009, p.500-3
  15. ^ a b Collins 2012, p.78
  16. ^ a b Collins 2012, p.81
  17. ^ Collins 2012, p.51
  18. ^ 'Siempre, siempre, siempre falsificó al service de las Gloria de su iglesia’: Hist. de España Espasa calpe, vii. I. p.589
  19. ^ Linehan 1993, p.78-9
  20. ^ Gerald Brennan, The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War (2nd ed. 1950) pp 285-87
  21. ^ "Microsoft Word - Informe_Deuda_Local_2009" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  22. ^ a b Collins 2012, p.109
  23. ^ Collins, Roger. Spain: an Oxford archaeological guide. Oxford University Press, 1998, p.217-219
  24. ^ a b c Collins 1998, p.217-9
  25. ^ Collins 1998, 217-9
  26. ^ Vasquez de Prada, Fernanadez (4 November 2011). "Palacio de los Marqueses de Camposagrado en Oviedo/Arquitecto de la Riva Ladron de Guevara". Patrimonio Arquitectónico de Asturias (in Spanish). Patrimonio Arquitectónico de Asturias. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
  27. ^ Bennett, Janice (January 2005). Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo, New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. Ignatius Press. ISBN 978-0-9705682-0-5. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  28. ^ "Fernando Alonso museum". Fernando Alonso.com. Archived from the original on 2017-05-14. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  29. ^ "Standard Climate values for Oviedo". Aemet.es. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
  30. ^ "Guía resumida del clima en España (1981-2010)". Archived from the original on 2013-05-26.
  31. ^ "Líneas y Servicios en Oviedo". TUA. 2020-07-09.
  32. ^ "Línea Búho en Oviedo". TUA. 2020-07-09.
  33. ^ "Líneas U y V en Oviedo". TUA. 2020-07-09.
  34. ^ "Cuando Oviedo tenía tranvía". La Voz de Asturias. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Ciudades Hermanadas" (in Spanish). Oviedo, Spain: Excelentísimo Ayuntamiento de Oviedo. Archived from the original on 2015-07-15. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  36. ^ "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  37. ^ "Tampa Sister Cities from City of Tampa website". Tampagov.net. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2011-04-17.