From just about anywhere in Oviedo, you can look up and find Santa María de Naranco (or as we call it, Mount Naranco). It’s a huge mountain range surrounding one half of the city, covered with pathways and trails that you can climb to get the most incredible views of Oviedo. The real reason everyone knows about it, though, is Jesús. On the very top of the mountain at 634 meters (2,080 feet), you can find a huge statue of Jesus Crist called “Sagrado Corazón”, or “Sacred Heart”. To reach the top of the mountain by car, it’s about a twenty-minute drive straight up. If you take the trails, it’s about a two-and-a-half-hour hike (also, unfortunately, straight up). If you’re crazy enough to make the trip, prepare to spend the next few days being extremely sore and walking very, very slowly. Is it really worth it for the views, you may be wondering? Well, we’ve done it twice, so it must be :).
On the way up, you pass two of Oviedo’s oldest sights, Santa Maria del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo. (If you’re really lucky and take the right trail, you also pass the house where all of the cats hang out! The buildings are probably more culturally significant, though, so back to them. Santa Maria is an old vacation home and hunting lodge for the rich and powerful, and the “Santa” part is a misnomer – there’s actually nothing religious about the original construction. An altar from a nearby cathedral was moved into Santa Maria to be used as a table, and because of that, historians initially believed it was a religious building. San Miguel de Lillo, however, was definitely constructed for religious purposes. It appears much taller and thinner than most religious buildings of that era, though, because after its construction a landslide caused half of the building to collapse and wash away. Instead of rebuilding, they just put up a wall and called it good. (See how much I’m learning in Art History? Thanks, Professor Laura!) Both buildings are not only impressive to explore, but also a great excuse to take a rest in the middle of your hike.
Anyway, even if the history of the buildings on Naranco doesn’t interest you, the huge state of Jesús and the sights from the mountainside certainly will. It’s a generally accepted fact that there’s really no better view of Oviedo than from the top of Naranco. If you ever find yourself in Oviedo with 5 hours to spare, make sure to put this hike on your list! If not, just enjoy these pictures we took on the way up the mountain 🙂
Until next time,