Pilgrim's Way to Santiago through Asturias. Coastal and Primitive Connection.
Connection between the Coastal Way and the Original Way. The influence of Oviedo in the St. James pilgrimages has been very important from the beginning of the Way. There are good reasons for this. Oviedo was the place where the throne of the King who discovered the tomb of the apostle and was located. This same king was the one who ordered the construction of what was the first version of the current basilica of Compostela. There are important relics kept in his Holy Chamber, which were uncovered in the second half of the eleventh century.
Agate Box (San Salvador Cathedral - Oviedo).
It is not surprising that the other two great Ways that disputed the supremacy of the Original Way, soon developed branches that connected them with the original pilgrimage route.
These relics are kept inside an oak box, the so-called Holy Ark, which had arrived in Oviedo in the ninth century after a long journey that began in Jerusalem, around the year 614, and concluded in the domains of Alfonso II after passing through Cartagena, Seville, Toledo and El Monsacro. Many years later, in 1075, when Alfonso VI visited the old Asturian capital, its mystery was revealed.
Starting point of the connection between the Coastal Way and the Original Way (Villaviciosa).
An entourage accompanied the monarch which, according to legend, included El Cid and which, taking advantage of his presence in the ancient court, held a solemn ceremony during which the Ark was left open and its contents were exhibited for all Christianity.
According to sources of the time, they found bones of various saints and remains of the shroud of Jesus there -now known as the Holy Shroud-, thorns of his crown, a sandal of Saint Peter, milk of the Virgin... A whole set of wonders that reinforced the reputation of Oviedo, which had declined by losing its status as a royal seat. This treasures made Oviedo recover the preferences of those pilgrims who considered leaving the comfort of their homes to go to the tomb of St. James.
Pilgrims in La Rivera (Valdediós - Villaviciosa).
Between the Asturian slope of the Coastal Way and the Original Way, there is a link that starts at the village of Casquita, very close to Villaviciosa, and enters the mountains in search of Oviedo following two possible detours that converge at Alto de la Campa.The link between the Coastal Way and the Original Way runs, of course, through the interior, crossing gentle orographies, but somewhat more difficult than those that until now the pilgrims crossed following the coastline. After leaving Casquita behind and reaching San Pedru de Ambás/Ambás, the pilgrims find two possible routes.
San Salvador de Valdediós (Villaviciosa).
The first means following the official itinerary, while the second one allows you to visit the monastery of Santa María la Mayor de Valdediós.
This second option is the most interesting. Firstly, because the monastery was very important in the Middle Ages and also because it has a beautiful Romanesque style defined by the austerity that characterises the Cistercian order, but also because the Pre-Romanesque church of San Salvador de Valdediós, nicknamed the Conventín (little convent) because of its proximity to the great convent. It is believed that it was built in the time of King Alfonso III, and we know that seven bishops attended its consecration, which reveals its importance.
It is one of the most emblematic buildings of Asturian art, and in addition to the lightness of its proportions, its highlights are its worked latticework and some mural paintings that still allow you to get an idea of the splendour that this small temple had in its better times. Both itineraries, the official and Valdediós itineraries, are again found at Alto de la Campa. From there, pilgrims should head to Vega de Sariego to continue afterwards to La Pola Siero/Pola de Siero by an alternative route to road traffic that will take them by El Castru, Aveno, the hermitage of the Virgen de Bienvenida and the Recuna bridge.
La Pola Siero/Pola de Siero.
La Pola Siero/Pola de Siero is one of the liveliest and busiest towns in Asturias. It has a great gastronomic tradition, and its calendar includes festivals that are among the most attended in the entire autonomous region. From there, you only have to cross El Berrón, Fonciello, the palace of Meres, San Pedro de Granda, Colloto/Cualloto and the neighbourhood of Cerdeño to arrive at Oviedo and, in front of the doors of the cathedral, begin to follow the paths of the Original Way.
San Salvador Cathedral Portico (Oviedo).
San Salvador Cathedral (Oviedo).
Itinerary and stages of the connection between the Coastal Way and the Original Way
Casquita-Oviedo: 39,3 km.
Casquita - La Pola Siero/Pola de Siero - 22,0 kmCasquita | San Pedru de Ambás/Ambás | Valdediós | Alto de la Campa | Vega de Sariego | El Castru | Aveno | La Pola Siero/Pola de Siero
La Pola Siero/Pola de Siero - Oviedo - 17,3 kmLa Pola Siero/Pola de Siero | El Berrón | Fonciello | Meres | San Pedro de Granda | Colloto/Cualloto | Cerdeño | Oviedo