Page C1.1 . 18 August 2004                     
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    Postcard from Oviedo

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    La Catedral de Oviedo, both symbol and landmark in the heart of Oviedo, Spain. Phototography by Rose Mattick.

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    Dear ArchitectureWeek,

    With its 263-foot- (80-meter-) high spire visible from most parts of town, La Catedral de Oviedo serves as a city symbol and directional landmark in the heart of Oviedo, Spain (not to be confused with Orvieto, Italy!). The cathedral stands on one side of a historic square with government buildings lining the other sides. The street is closed to motor vehicles, but is always busy with pedestrians. The church continues to hold services and is a popular site for weddings and baptisms.

    The cathedral was one of the last Gothic buildings to be completed in Spain. Traditional elements include three naves, a circular window above the central entrance, and the highly ornamented tower. Unusual, though, is its sole tower, a result of lacking funds to complete an intended second tower. Construction on the Oviedo Cathedral began in the second half of the 13th century and ended in the second half of the 16th. So the interior contains elements of both Baroque and Renaissance ornamentation and artwork.

    I never tired of studying the facade. Every time I saw it, at different times of day and from varying perspectives, my respect and interest in this imposing structure continued to grow. The facade has recently undergone a thorough cleansing to wash off the grime built up from car exhaust and pollution of the last century. Now, the towering cathedral stands as a living monument to the city's dedication to its religious faith and aesthetic beauty.

    On the road in Oviedo, Spain
    Rose Mattick

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