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Oviedo
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oviedosanmigueldelillo.jpg
San Miguel de Lillo, Oviedo
Pre-Romanesque Art and Architecture in the Land of Cider
Oviedo is in Asturias, in the northern part of Spain.  Asturias lies on the Bay of Biscay, but Oviedo is inland.  This was the only part of Spain never occupied by the Moslems and the area preserves a treasurehouse of Asturian pre-Romanesque art and architecture.  This art bears the marks of the Visigothic period, drawing on classical models, but without the conventions that governed the Romanesque style as it later evolved in Europe.  Four sites have been designated as World Heritage Sites
 
I was fascinated by the collection of pre-Romanesque art in the Museum of Archaelogy, including many of the most important pieces from historic buildings, such as carvings capitals of columns.  Not to be missed is complete collection of El Greco's paintings of the Apostles in the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias.  You can find the same collection in Toledo, but will be overwhelmed by the crowds.  In Oviedo, I had the collection literally to myself.
 
The Hotel de la Reconquista is the obvious place to stay.  This converted thirteenth-century monastery has the feel of a parador, but is privately owned.  It is close to the center of town, but next time I might consider a hotel that lies even closer to the cathedral.
 
Oviedo is served by a modern airport along the coast, but it is an expensive taxi ride to reach the city.
 
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Oviedo cider bar.
The regional food of Asturias is excellent, and includes fine sheeps' cheeses from the Cantabrian mountains.  This is the land of hard cider, which you can sample in cider bars.