The temple began to be built early XNUMXth century On the ruins of pre-Romanesque and Romanesque basilicas, and thanks to the preserved relics, the cathedral received pilgrims throughout the Middle Ages, being an obligatory stop before continuing on the way to Santiago. The single tower became a highly visible beacon for pilgrims; perhaps because it was one, it was even more majestic from afar.
How many towers does the Cathedral of Oviedo have?
The first thing that catches the eye when arriving at the square of the cathedral of Oviedo is that it only has one tower, quite contrary to what happens in all European Gothic. It seems that the architects of the time decided on this solution due to economic shortcomings and a lot of technical problems, seismic movements included.
How tall is the tower of the Cathedral of Oviedo?
The tower exceeds 70 meters in height, and the one who best described it was Leopoldo Alas Clarín in La Regenta: "it rose like a strong castle, launching itself from there in a pyramid with a graceful angle, inimitable in its measurements and proportions".
The visit to the tower, from 2022
During our visit we must ascend in single file the about 200 steps of a spiral staircase that leads to the top floor of the tower, an emblematic space located 46 meters above the ground (the equivalent of 15 stories high). But before arriving there, intermediate stops are contemplated.
On the first floor is the body of weights of the bells, and we can recreate ourselves in the plaster molds used for the restoration of the tower after the Civil War.
The second stop will be at the bell Corps, where the current seven are located, including the oldest bell in all of Spain of those that are still active: the one known as "Wamba", cast in 1219. Also on this floor we discover the clock machinery, a piece from 1787 from Ramón Durán's workshop that can be seen through a large open window. During the latest restoration work, important details about the history of the cathedral have come to light, such as its physiognomy prior to the Civil War –confirmed by some old postcards found by chance–. According to this finding, the temple had three more bells that we can see in an explanatory panel.
At the third stop, the renaissance Body, we observe the impressive details of the cathedral's spire. We will be able to take photographs and see from inside the spectacular openwork arrow that crowns the tower. Also unique details of the animal, fantastic, monstrous and anthropomorphic gargoyles, such as that of the faun in burlesque position, showing the butt; one of the most striking and symbolic of his time.
From this last floor we also get some totally unprecedented views of Oviedo. The point of view under which the Magistral of 'La Regenta' unfolded his spyglass.
The visits are accompanied, but not guided. There are, however, explanatory panels and Qr codes to download information along the route: in the body of counterweights (56 steps), in the body of bells (67 steps) and in the Renaissance body (61 steps).
It is necessary to climb lightly, with your hands free, appropriate footwear, in line and without hurry. It is also not allowed to go up with flip flops or heels, nor carry backpacks or large packages.
Up to 100 people a day, 20 per shift, can enjoy this experience that lasts approximately one hour.
They can be done from Monday to Saturday and have a price of €8.
Climbing the tower is an exercise not suitable for everyone. It is not recommended for children of a certain age, the elderly and people who do not have a reasonable physical capacity, or suffer from reduced mobility, visual impairment, cardiorespiratory problems, vertigo, claustrophobia...
Before starting the ascent, the cathedral staff provides us with a brief explanation of the safety measures to be taken. It is forbidden to carry large backpacks, tripods, suitcases, baby seats or any other large object.
More information on 985 219 642
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com