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The Cathedral of Oviedo

The Cathedral of Oviedo

From pre-Romanesque to Baroque in the cathedral

The Cathedral of Oviedo

From pre-Romanesque to Baroque in the cathedral

Not many years ago, the facade of the Cathedral of Oviedo was dark, superficially charred by the effects of time and dirt. That black mask with which he concealed his identity came to be seen as part of his physiognomy, like a great birthmark.

Now, with the beginning of the new millennium and the complete cleanliness of the cathedral surface, its rejuvenated appearance shows more clearly its magnificence, and the plural architectural footprints of a building that was beginning to be built at the beginning of the 14th century on the ruins of pre-Romanesque and Romanesque basilicas. Thanks to the preserved relics, the cathedral of Oviedo received pilgrims throughout the Middle Ages and became an obligatory stop before continuing on its way to Santiago.

Construction of the Cathedral of Oviedo

The cathedral took a whopping three centuries to build, and did it under the premises of a flowery or flamboyant gothic, dominant at that time. But the canons of that time do not seem to have haunted the architects, who with unexpected problems in construction threw themselves down the middle path. That is why we see only one tower, and not two as in the rest of the European Gothic. It's almost 80 meters tower that they also had to get up with financial shortages, a lot of technical problems and seismic movements included. But be that as it may, there it is majestic and recently washed, showing us a pointy treasure with a thousand and one sculptural edges, the auction of which dates back to 1587, being considered the last of the Gothic architectural works. The tower seen from almost anywhere in Oviedo, It exercises a dominant position in the citizen perspective, despite a considerable allusion to the same figure on the first page of the memorable novel La Regenta:»The eyes did not tire looking hours and hours at that stone index that pointed to the sky; it was not one of those towers whose needle breaks from subtle, skinnier than slender, mannered like corny ladies who tighten the corset too much; it was solid without losing any of its spiritual greatness, and even its second corridors, elegant balustrade, rose like a strong castle, launching from there into a pyramid with a funny angle, inimitable in its measurements and proportions ».

Let `s go inside. The interior of the Cathedral of El Salvador Because that is its name, it runs through the nooks and crannies of a Latin cross plan with three naves with chapels between firewalls and a polygonal sanctuary behind which seven spaces for the worship of various apostles are hidden. These last rooms contain memorable Baroque altarpieces of Italian influence. The main altarpiece it is the most remarkable, because next to that of Toledo and Seville it embodies the most valuable triad of the Spanish cathedral heads, with a very broad iconography and a high theological density of the message.

Inside the temple we continue to verify one of the most worthwhile aspects of the Cathedral of Oviedo for the history of Spanish Gothic: the fact that In it we find representative architectural elements of all phases of Gothic architecture, from the classicism of the late thirteenth century to the late Spanish-Flemish stage of the sixteenth century, passing through the intermediate ones of the fourteenth century (mannerist) or the fifteenth century (flamboyant).

Oviedo Cathedral: Cámara Santa

The cathedral is neat in corners, like the Chapel of the Chaste King of the sixteenth century, on the left wing of the transept, or other rooms made in the purist Gothic style of the late thirteenth century, as is the case with the Chapter Hall and some of the galleries of the cloister. But it is necessary to mention already the existence of a corner that stands out above the rest: the Holy Chamber, an architectural remnant of the original construction that was on the site, which is at the same time treasure of the Romanesque sculpture and the sacred relics of the Asturian kingdom. The Cathedral of El Salvador rises then on the same site of an old pre-Romanesque cathedral of the ninth century (in the time of ALfonso II) that in a certain way conditioned the structure of the Gothic work. So in the Holy Chamber is the first or last redoubt of the temple, depending on how you look at it.

The Holy Chamber is a space with two floors. The lower one is the original pre-Romanesque, while the upper one is Romanesque, from the XNUMXth century. It is a vaulted space in which the twelve Apostles were carved, paired two by two, on the columns that support the arches. This same upper floor keeps The Cathedral Treasure, fruit of successive donations of relics and sumptuary pieces that the Asturian monarchs began to yield already in the ninth century. In this unique treasure, and hallmark of the Principality, the Cross of the Angels, the Cross of the Victory (present in the autonomic flag) and the Arqueta de las Ágatas, of Mozarabic style, stand out. Nowadays, bars and alarms protect this unparalleled treasure after 1977 a robbery in bad faith, never better said, shocked the Asturian people. The pieces were recovered, although some, after the pillage, suffered considerable damage and had to be rebuilt

Annex to the Holy Chamber is located The Cloister, example more notorious if it fits of the step of the time and the architectural criteria that happened in the cathedral. His iconography covers profane and religious themes. It also includes Asturian motifs such as Favila's fight with the bear.

Oviedo Cathedral: opening hours

· Chapter Mass from Monday to Saturday 09:15 am in the Chapel of Santa Barbara.
· Mass at 12:00 noon from Monday to Saturday in the Chapel of the King Casto.

· Saturday and eve of party at 18:30.
· Sundays and holidays at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00 and 18:30.

· Monday to Saturday 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. (Penitentiary).
· Saturday afternoon from 16:30 to 18:15 (Penitentiary).
· Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 11:00 (Penitentiary).
· Other Confessors from 11:00 to 13:30 and from 18:30 to 19:00.
· Cathedral Office: Monday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com

coordinates Latitude: 43.3624115 Length: -5.8435035 qualifying.

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