It is close to everything, it has the geometry of a trapezoid, natural and gigantic, of Sqm 90.000. Its edges practically square with the most central coordinates of the city, and its interior treasures millions of anecdotes in its buoyant old age, which is rather a continuous youth of nature in abundance. Its citizen corners have been domesticated and stylized to the maximum, in harmony with a forest that has not grown in the wild in any case. The Park is orderly and civilized, clean and leafy.
Oviedo finds in this natural space a basic and essential representation of the green meadows that assail it on all four sides. As if the center of Oviedo had contracted a debt with the landscape of the forest, it becomes at the same time reservation of trees such as carbayones or oaks truly emblematic of the area.
The park owes its name to the old convent of Franciscans that had its origin in this ancient forest, where, it is said, Saint Francis of Assisi rested during his pilgrimage to Santiago. Part of the forest was occupied by an orchard that the monks cultivated, and the whole environment, which constituted the limit of the city, depended on the convent until the confiscation of 1816, year that was donated to the University, which transformed it into Botanical Garden.
This academic activity has left a deep mark on the current park. In fact they can be seen 127 different species of trees and shrubs, to which are added other 23 crop varieties. The 0,5% comes from Africa, the 14% from America, the 3% from Australia and Oceania, the 9% from the Mediterranean area, the Balkans and Asia Minor, the 16% from Europe and the 3% from Spain. In addition, eleven of the species are considered typical of the Astur landscape.
Since 2014 in the park you can visit the statue of homage to Mafalda, the famous character that Quino created and who has fans all over the world. We can take a photo of ourselves sitting next to the irreverent Mafalda and keep a nice memory of our time in the Oviedo park.
Mafalda in Oviedo
The Argentine cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, better known by his pseudonym: Quino,…
In the middle, the pedestrian paths, perfectly paved. Walks such as Los Curas, El Bombé, La Herradura or Los Alamos are already part of the collective memory of the city. The fountains, the bandstand, the work of De la Guardia (1887), the King's Chair, whose back was engraved with the name of King Carlos III or the Romanesque façade of the Church of San Isidoro ...
Undoubtedly, the most celebrated son of Oviedo passed through the park on more than one occasion, Leopoldo Alas (Clarín), because the presence of his main work, La Regenta, assaults his readers from all over the world when they enter the most careful forest of Vetusta.
As has been said, the park is fundamentally a place for recreation and walking, but also a festive and gastronomic tent, for few or many. In it we can discover a tourist eating a sandwich or a whole crowd of citizens with their country tablecloths.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com