In 1660 was when the construction of this area of Oviedo began with a series of porticoed houses, called after Bow of Shoes. On one of the sides of the Plaza del Fontán opens the Daoiz and Velarde Square, and next to this one is what was once the famous House of Comedies o Teatro del Fontán and which, while retaining its old façade, is occupied by the Pérez de Ayala Public Library. Next to it, the Palace of the Duke of the Park, from 1892 property of the marquises of San Feliz: the most genuine baroque palace in Oviedo.
Origins of Fontán
In its origins, all this land was neither more nor less than a natural lagoon that he was just outside the city. The lagoon was supplied by natural springs. Its name comes from the main source, or fontán, that supplied the lagoon with its waters. The nobles from Oviedo did not take long to convert this kind of nearby arcadian into a recreation area. At the same time, the peasants who lived in the vicinity of the city thought that this was an unbeatable place to sell their home products: milk, vegetables, cheeses, chickens, etc. The growing commercial pulse from the area made the artisans soon offer their work. And so, little by little, a constant marketing was created that lasts to this day.
In the XVIII century was when the lagoon was drained and in its place a porticoed plaza was built for the seat of so many merchants. Not without controversy, the square was recently restored since it showed a serious risk of collapse. In 1996 the municipal authorities determined their demolition and reconstruction. In 1999 the new square was inaugurated that keeps the simplicity and proportions of the old one.
El Fontán has been recreated very well in literature: in "La Regenta" it is the Plaza del Pan, and Ramón Pérez de Ayala immortalized him in his famous novel "Tigre Juan". East literary flavor It seems to be savored daily, because when walking through its streets we can come to feel like authentic fictional characters. The whole area is abuzz with walkers and establishments where you can find the best fashion offer, old and new crafts, the most select gastronomy and a street market of flowers and plants. We will also find a Modern and beautiful food market, surrounded by shops and restaurants.
What days to visit Fontán?
Its commercial origin therefore remains the essence of its activity. In the center of the Daoiz and Velarde square we find the most typical sculpture, dedicated to the usual sellers. It is in this square and in Fontán that the Street vending on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays in the morning. A crowded market of Oviedo where we can find everything and that at first glance arouses the interest of everyone: regular buyers, occasional customers or simply curious.
We talk about one of the most authentic traces of the country, and it is so not only because of the varied density of the offer, but because the canons of any popular market worth its salt are strictly respected: welcoming environment, city atmosphere, historical essence on all four sides, absolute typism in the stalls and dozens of picturesque places where you can have an aperitif between purchases.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com