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The city of Oviedo, capital of the autonomous community of Asturias, provides a great mix of modernity and history within its city limits.

While the city was allegedly founded by two monks back in the mid-8th century, though archaeological evidence suggests the site's occupation as far back as Roman times. As years went by, the city grew as an important center in the then-kingdom of Asturias at a time when almost all of Spain was under control of the Muslim Empire that dominated the Iberian peninsula for centuries.

It was precisely this isolation from the rest of the Christian world that we can thank for the unique pre-Romanesque architecture found in the region. Since Asturias was cut off from the Italian, French and other influences, the region pretty much "winged it", creating their own unique style of architecture. Some of Spain's best surviving examples of pre-Romanesque works are found in or near Oviedo, such as the Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo churches, the Foncalada fountain and the San Vicente Monastery, which today fittingly houses the city's Archaeological Museum.

Once a stunning cathedral was built in Oviedo and Asturias was proclaimed a principality in the 14th century, Oviedo transformed into a religious and administrative center and flourished during subsequent centuries.

Today you will find a modern city with plenty of vestiges from its lengthy past. The most atmospheric part of town is without a doubt the Casco Antiguo, or Old Quarter, where narrow medieval streets wind through centuries-old cathedrals, churches, convents, noble mansions and much more. Plus, the almost entirely pedestrianized Old Quarter is the heart of Oviedo's social life. The streets are teeming with people having a good time both day and night, thanks to the diverse conglomeration of pubs, sidrerías (cider bars) restaurants and shops.

Want more information about Oviedo? Have a look at our Oviedo Guide

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