Culture in Asturias What to see and what to do. #AsturiasCultural
Absorb the Asturian culture
Asturias's long and eventful history has become the guiding thread, allowing you to understand its heterogeneous culture. 200 million years ago, this land was inhabited by huge dinosaurs who left their footprints along the coastline. The first settlers lived in caves to protect themselves and the cave paintings are evidence of their emerging interest in art 22,000 years before our times. Belonging to the Castro culture were excavated circular constructions that can still be seen today in the fortified settlements in the west: Los Castros. You can visit the San Chuis settlements in Allande or Coaña.
Castro de Coaña.
Asturian Pre-Romanesque Art: Santa María de Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo...
Cave Art: Tito Bustillo y su Centro de Arte Rupestre (Ribadesella/Ribeseya), La Peña (Candamo) and the Parque de la Prehistoria de Teverga.
The Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias (Oviedo/Uviéu).
The Muséu del Pueblu d'Asturies (Gijón/Xixón).
The Castros of Navia: Castro culture.
"Princesa de Asturias" Awards.
The Kingdom of Asturias, founded in the middle of the Reconquista, converted the Principality into the heart of Europe, with a monarchy that promoted talent, finding its expression in a unique architectural style: Asturian pre-Romanesque Art that spread through many municipalities, from Oviedo to Villaviciosa, Lena, Pravia, Colunga, Santo Adriano... Churches, palaces and monasteries make up the Gothic and Baroque heritage, with the Oviedo/Uviéu Catedral de El Salvador being the finest example. The industrial revolution changed again this skyline and left landscapes which in the 21st century, have reinvented themselves, giving rise to works such as the Centro Niemeyer, located right on the Avilés estuary.
A walk through the Asturian culture is a trip back in time through the centuries.
An excellent way to begin this trip is visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Sites: caves exhibiting cave art, Pre-Romanesque Art and the northern routes of the Camino de Santiago. The caves and shelters whose walls are covered with pre-historic art can be found throughout the Principality and five of them enjoy the most prestigious international protected area status. These are Tito Bustillo (Ribadesella/Ribeseya), Covaciella (Cabrales), Llonín (Peñamellera Alta), El Pindal (Ribadedeva) and La Peña (Candamo). This is the same for the pre-Romanesque buildings, which stand majestically in the landscape. Specifically, the buildings listed are those located in Oviedo, Villaviciosa and Lena. The northern ways to Santiago Compostela, the Coastal and the Primitive Route, have been the last to be added to the selective UNESCO-list, with their multiple options for the pilgrims and hidden gems of cultural heritage that appear on the edge of both routes, such as San Salvador de Priesca (Villaviciosa), Santa María de Soto de Luiña (Cudillero) and the Monasterio de San Salvador de Cornellana (Salas).
Travel back in time inside a cave
Between 22,000 and 10,000 years before our times, men lived in caves in the Ardines massif and left traces on the walls showing their way of life. The Tito Bustillo cave (Ribadesella/Ribeseya) has some of the best-preserved cave paintings and is open to the public from March to October. Visits are organised in groups of 15 and you need to book in advance. In the 700-metre-long gallery, there are eleven sets of paintings. What stand out are the horses and reindeer. With the same entrance ticket, you can explore the Centro de Arte Rupestre de Tito Bustillo, which popularises the visit, offering a modern approach to cave art.
Museo de los Molinos (Taramundi).
It is impossible to understand the essence of this rich cultural tapestry without at least knowing a little bit about its ethnography.
Religious travellers are astounded by the gothic Cathedral of San Salvador de Oviedo/Uviéu, which conserves the relics of Santo Sudario, the Cruz de la Victoria and the Cruz de los Ángeles, and the legend of the goldsmith pilgrims who designed the piece for Alfonso II; and the Cueva y la Basílica de Covadonga, a mountainous area of picturesque beauty in which the Virgin appeared before Pelayo and instilled him with the courage to begin the Reconquista.
Catedral de El Salvador (Oviedo/Uviéu).
This list of must-see sites is endless, from magnificent monasteries like those in Corias, San Salvador de Cornellana or Santa María de Villanueva de Oscos, to theatres such as the Riera de Villaviciosa or palaces such as Selgas Fagalde in El Pito, Cudillero, named the small Asturian Versailles.
Santuario de Covadonga (Cangues d' Onís/Cangas de Onís).
A hypnotic Museo de Bellas Artes
More than 15,000 works, dated from the 14th century to the present, make up the biggest collection of art in the Principality, belonging to the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias. Paintings, sculptures, engravings, photographs. Works from Dali to Goya, El Greco, Murillo, Tàpies, Barceló make up this open collection, which continues to grow thanks to acquisitions, grants and donations. The museum building is of great value in and of itself. It is made up three buildings, the Palacio de Velarde (18th century), the Casa de Oviedo-Portal (17th century) and the award-winning extension by Patxi Mangado, opened in 2015.
Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias (Oviedo/Uviéu).
The museums and themed attractions evoke Asturias's musical, educational and economic history of a society that has known how to adapt without abandoning its roots. The Muséu del Pueblu d'Asturies in Gijón/Xixón: the Museo Etnográfico de Grandas de Salime "Pepe El Ferreriro", the Conjunto Etnográfico de Os Teixóis, in Taramundi; the Museo Etnográfico del Oriente de Asturias, in Porrúa (Llanes); the Museo Marítimo de Asturias, in Gozón; the exquisite building "Quinta Guadalupe" that Fundación Archivo de Indianos – Museo de la Emigración, in Colombres; or the Escuela de Cabranes are some examples.
Fundación Archivo de Indianos (Ribadedeva)
Cultural activities taking place in the Principality are as rich and varied as its heritage. The opera season, from September to the start of following year, is a cornerstone of the annual programme Teatro Campoamor of Oviedo/Uviéu, with top-class events and names. Similar to that is the Teatro Palacio Valdés, an important venue for national events and a reference for theatre lovers. The programme ends in the city the Centro Niemeyer. In Gijón/Xixón, as well as the International Film Festival, there is the line-up of the Teatro Jovellanos and the Teatro de Laboral and Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial.
Muséu del Pueblu d'Asturies (Gijón/Xixón).
The museum network is vast in terms of numbers and themes. Right in the heart of Oviedo/Uviéu you will find the Bellas Artes de Asturias, with its modern, award-winning extension. Not very far from here is the Museo Arqueológico which takes us back into the prehistory and history of Asturias and the Archivo Histórico, located in the city's old prison. Another representative building, because of its location in the watchtower on the coastal plain its backdrop, is the MUJA, the Museo del Jurásico de Asturias, a building constructed in the shape of a dinosaur footprint. The Centro de Recepción del Prerrománico, located in the old Naranco schools, accepts bookings for visits. The Parque de la Prehistoria de Teverga is a very original project which holds a collection of reproductions of cave paintings.
Parque de la prehistoria de Teverga
Museo del Jurásico de Asturias (Colunga).
A unique style in Europe
Twelve temples and three civil buildings, dated between the 8th and 10th centuries, make up the most complete and best-preserved set of architecture from the high medieval period in western Europe, with beautiful pieces of precious metal work. Its artistic and historical singularity has been recognised by UNESO since 1985. Buildings that enjoy this distinction are San Julián de los Prados, San Miguel de Lillo, Santa María del Naranco, the Cámara Santa of the Catedral de Oviedo, the Fuente de la Foncalada, Santa Cristina de Lena and San Salvador de Priesca.