Oviedo (UK: , US: , Spanish: [oˈβjeðo]; Asturian: Uviéu [uˈβjeʊ]) is the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain and the administrative and commercial centre of the region. It is also the name of the municipality that contains the city. Oviedo is located approximately 24 km (15 mi) southwest of Gijón and 23 km (14 mi) south of Avilés, both of which lie on the shoreline of the Bay of Biscay. Oviedo's proximity to the ocean of less than 30 kilometres (19 mi) in combination with its elevated position with areas of the city more than 300 metres above sea level causes the city to have a maritime climate, in spite of its not being located on the shoreline itself. The Kingdom of Asturias began in 720, with the Visigothic aristocrat Pelagius's (685–737) revolt against the Muslims who at the time were occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula. The Moorish invasion that began in 711 had taken control of most of the peninsula, until the revolt in the northern mountains by Pelagius. The resulting Kingdom of Asturias, located in an economically poor region of Iberia, was largely ignored by the Muslims. In 720, the area where Oviedo is now located was still uninhabited.It is said that two monks, Máximo and Fromestano (Latin: Maximus et Fromestanus), founded the city in 761. That settlement was soon to be completed with the construction of a small church dedicated to Saint Vincent. Oviedo was established on an uninhabited hillside, with no Visigothic or Roman foundation before it became an Asturian city. Following Pelagius, who died in 737, Alfonso I (739–57) founded a dynasty that reigned until 1037. The Asturian Kingdom was on hostile terms with southern Moorish Spain. In 794, Oviedo was sacked and pillaged by Caliph Hisham I in one of his numerous campaigns against the Christian kingdoms.King Alfonso I is said to have "set in place the whole order of the Goths, as it had been in Toledo, as much in the church as in the palace." The intention with Oviedo was to shape it into a city similar to that of Visigothic Toledo. Once kings had settled in Oviedo, they adopted as much of the architectural style and imagery of Toledo. Even with this in mind, Oviedo did not necessarily resemble the old Visigothic capital in Toledo. The churches and buildings of Oviedo follow instead late provincial Roman tradition. Since Asturias at the time was an agriculturally poor area of Spain the scale of the buildings is quite impressive.Oviedo's rich architectural tradition began with King Fruela I (757–768). King Fruela I of Asturias, the fourth of the Asturian monarchs, was the first decided promoter of the city as may be witnessed by his construction of both a palace and a nearby church. This church was later restored by Alfonso II. Oviedo owes to a later king, Alfonso II The Chaste (791–842), its establishment as a capital city and ruling seat as a result of the moving of the court from Pravia and the creation of the Pilgrim's Route to Santiago de Compostela, a major event in the history of Oviedo, a church dedicated to The Saviour, the Cathedral of San Salvador, and a royal palace formed the nucleus of Oviedo. Also constructed during Alfonso II's reign was the San Julian de los Prados church, which is one of the best preserved Asturian churches. Alfonso II's successor, Ramiro I (842–850), continued Alfonso II's construction streak. Ramiro I constructed two buildings, the Church Santa Maria del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo. The Church Santa Maria de Naranco was likely to originally be Ramiro I's palace and later changed into a church. By this time the Court of the Palace was centered in Oviedo, which was the main royal residence. This court was controlled by members of the Asturian nobility.Ramiro I's (842–850) eight-year tenure was uneasy, he faced rebellions from the Counts of the Palace. The first rebellion against Ramiro I was led by Alroitus, and the second rebellion was led by Piniolus. Both of these rebellions were unsuccessful in removing Ramiro I. These rebellions may have been why Ramiro I built his palace in the mountains surrounding Oviedo, presumably away from the violence. During the 9th century in Oviedo, Roman style property law is common. 9th century documents also indicate small scale aristocracies across the kingdom, as well as a large presence of a landowning peasantry.Following Ramiro I's reign, Ordoño I (850–866) came into power and began the Asturian king's father-son succession. Ordoño I was the first king to push southwards into Arab territory. Following Ordoño I's death on May 27, 866, usurpers attempted to take the throne. The following king Alfonso III (866–910), who was thirteen at the time, took refuge in Castile until his followers had killed the usurper.Alfonso III's contributions to building construction are not nearly as well documented as Ramiro I's or Alfonso II's contributions. The Chronicle of Alfonso III does not mention any buildings created by Alfonso III, neither does the Chronicle of Albelda. In 882, the body of the Cordoban martyr Eulogius was sent to Oviedo. This was meant a diplomatic gift from Emir Muhammad I (852–886). Eulogius was executed in 859. The body was likely accompanied by Eulogius's book collection. In the 16th century, the only manuscript of Eulogius's writings was discovered in the Oviedo Cathedral Library. Here it was copied once before it disappeared completely from the library. Following an offensive in 881 against an Umayyad army, Alfsonso III returned to Oviedo to rebuild churches. It was at this time he constructed one or more palaces. The Chronicle of Albelda and the Chronicle of Sampiro tie Alfonso III's victories in battle to his program of church building in Oviedo. In 908, Alfonso III commissioned a gold and jewelled cross to contain the cross carried by Pelagius I at Covadonga. This "Cross of Victory" is located in the Camara Sancta in the Oviedo Cathedral. However, recent Carbon14 analysis of the wooden cross indicates that it was no older than the golden casing created to surround the cross. The commission of the casing shows us Alfonso III's interest in perpetuating the legend of Pelagius I. Towards the end of Alfonso III's reign, he faced many challenges. In 901, a prophet named Alhaman led a "great army of Muslims" and attempted to take Zamora. To add to this, Alfonso III's brother Vermudo revolted in Astorga. There were several attempts at the aging Alfonso III's life by his sons. Alfonso III was overthrown by sons, and died in Zamora. His body was taken to Oviedo for burial. The moving of the royal court to León, after the death of Alfonso III, 'The Great', links the life of the city to the relics preserved in its cathedral and the passing of pilgrims that visit El Salvador, and continue on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Kings spent less and less time in Oviedo following the change, and spent more time in the rich Duero Plains. León was built up after it became the capital, and eventually surpassed Oviedo in terms of construction. During the 12th century, many Royal Charters were fabricated by Bishop Pelayo de Oviedo, "el fabulador" ("the fabulist"). Since were few checks on internal bookkeeping in the Asturian kingdom actions like this were commonplace in the kingdom. When original documents faded, they were copied onto cartularies and often with alterations that suited the needs of those who copied the documents. The most glaring example can be seen in the Liber Testamentorum, which was compiled by Bishop Pelayo de Oviedo in 1109. This document contained many confirmation rights and property rights of the Oviedo cathedral by Asturian and Leonese Kings. Bishop Pelayo's intent behind this was to try to gain the independence of his see from the archbishop of Toledo or Santiago, as well as to promote Oviedo as a pilgrim destination. According to Sánchez-Albornoz, "He (Bishop Pelayo) always, always, always falsified." It is assumed that Bishop Pelayo never committed forgery for the enjoyment, but primarily to promote the church of Oviedo.The following centuries (12th–16th) witness the development of the medieval city, the outlines of which are still preserved today, the construction of the city walls, a devastating fire which took place on Christmas Eve in 1521, and the aqueduct works, Los Pilares, constructed in order to provide the city with water throughout the 16th century. The foundation of the Arts College (University of Oviedo) by Fernando de Valdés Salas, at the beginning of the 17th century, opened Oviedo to a progressive urban expansion. Further impulse was in the 18th century by the regional nobility and the construction of remarkable palaces; in the 19th century by industrial growth and the suburban development of Uría Street; and finally in the 20th century by administrative and commercial development. In October 1934, there was a left-wing revolt against the conservative government, based in several cities. In Asturias, the fighting developed into a small, short-lived civil war: the Asturian miners' strike of 1934. 50,000 workers, mostly miners, armed themselves with dynamite and captured Oviedo after heavy fighting. They gained control of the arsenal with 30,000 rifles and machine guns. The Army Chief of Staff, General Francisco Franco sent in soldiers who overpowered the rebels after severe street fighting that left 3,000 rebels dead and 7,000 wounded. The cathedral was badly damaged, with its eighth-century chapel blown up by a mine. In the aftermath, many false atrocity stories circulated.The Siege of Oviedo in 1936 was a memorable event in the Spanish Civil War. The army garrison rose in support of the Nationalist coup d'état and withstood a siege of three months by an improvised Republican force until relieved in 1937.
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