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Camín Real de la Mesa
Camín Real de la Mesa
Camín Real de la Mesa
    • El Machuco Roman Forge, Gold Educational Exhibition and Braña de Cuevas in Belmonte de Miranda.
    • La Peña Cave in Candamo, Town of Grado and its Sunday market.
    • San Pedro de Nora in Las Regueras.
    • Bandujo, the Bear's Trail, Santo Adriano de Tuñón.
    • Collegiate Church of San Martín de Teverga and Prehistory Park.
    • Pedroveya, Bermiego Yew, Llanuces, El Llano Rock Climbing School.
    • Valle del Lago, Villar de Vildas, La Pornacal, La Peral and La Farrapona.
It was the dream of an empire, the Roman Empire, who coveted the riches of this land and the kindness of its people. It is a crossroads, that of "La Mesa" to the central plateau, the Way of St James and the Bear's Trail. It is home to brown bears and a Biosphere Reserve - that of Las Ubiñas-La Mesa

There was a time when the Romans had a dream: to conquer the highlands of the northern Iberian Peninsula in order to expand their empire. Among their numerous achievements, they built a road over an ancient trail, linking the Cantabrian lands - separated by the mountain range - with the plateau. Thus came into being the Camín Real de la Mesa, which was the main highway for humans, livestock and goods to the lands of León and Castile throughout the Middle Ages. Over time, the Camín Real survived the many vicissitudes of history and came to form part of the collective memory as one of the cultural trails that gave life to Asturias and led to the common denominator of the area now known as the Camín Real de la Mesa.

The ten boroughs that form this territory around the backbone of this trail have great cultural, scenic and natural riches, constituting a veritable mosaic and catalogue of the virtues of Principality. Belmonte shines like gold, that of its subsoil, a resource greedily sought by the Romans in this part of Asturias in order to make the coins of the Empire, thus boosting its economy. This past is explained and on display at the Gold Educational Exhibition and in the Roman forge known as El Machuco. Besides the Romans, high mountain herdsmen, called vaqueiros, have also shown their presence and influence in this land of pastures, livestock and crossbreeding "blessed" by the waters of the River Pigüeña.

Candamo has two "trademarks" that identify it anywhere in the world, namely its strawberries, the best fruit from the borough's market gardens, and La Peña Cave, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. As in Belmonte, a river defines its landscape and way of life, although in this case the river is the longest in Asturias, the River Nalón. Neighbouring Mosconia, also called Grado, is a land with a hospitable, commercial calling, flourishing market gardens, countryside traditions, the experiences of emigrants known as Indianos who returned after having made their fortune in the Americas, a taste for culture and sport, and a borough capital, the town of Grado, which has an extremely entertaining Sunday market. Grado, like its neighbouring borough on the border of this territory, Las Regueras, is a crossroads for two of the most important roads in history: the Original Way of St James and the Camín Real de la Mesa. So much history begins to take on a Christian hue in the Middle Ages, which, in the case of Las Regueras, is evident in the Pre-Romanesque Church of San Pedro de Nora and in the Romanesque church in Valsera.

On heading into the Trubia Valleys, also known as the Bear Valleys, yet another route emerges, this time a green one, which also has a history of its own, that of the old mining railroad, now one of the most famous greenways in Spain: the Bear's Trail, which begins in Santo Adriano de Tuñón - which also boasts a Pre-Romanesque church - and continues through Proaza and Teverga to end in Quirós. Santo Adriano is also a reference point for Xanas Gorge, which runs to Pedroveya in Quirós. This latter borough broke new ground with the rural tourism enclave in Llanuces and is a world reference in rock climbing thanks to El Llano climbing school. In the vicinity of the Bear's Trail, Proaza is also a key spot, its former capital, Bandujo, being one of the few medieval villages still conserved in Asturias and living proof of the transit and flows of people who journeyed between Asturias and the central plateau at that time in history.

Brown bears are also "neighbours" of the Camín Real de la Mesa. Teverga and Somiedo constitute two major bear habitats, where this local species is born and roams free in an ecosystem totally suited to its way of life: gentle valleys, lush forests and some mountains. With its valleys, lakes, mountain herdsmen settlements such as La Peral and Perlunes, its Exemplary Towns like Villar de Vildas, its brañas or high mountain pastures like La Pornacal and its mountain passes such as La Farrapona, Somiedo is a model of ecological and sustainable tourism. The same can be said of the neighbouring borough, Teverga, now also an Exemplary Town, which proudly exhibits its Prehistory Park, Huerta Cave, Collegiate Church of San Martín, Fresnedo Caves with their rock paintings, and countless brañas, mountains, mines and passes, especially Ventana Pass, which has been the historic link with the central plateau.

Ten boroughs, some of which are the least extensive in area in Asturias, make up this territory in the centre of the region: Belmonte de Miranda, Candamo, Grado, Las Regueras, Proaza, Quirós, Santo Adriano, Somiedo, Teverga and Yernes y Tameza.

See location of the región