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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
You have come to the right place! First, I'll put this thread into the Camino Primitivo section and add some tags to the thread, in hopes that people will add their knowledge about history, landmarks, art and architecture along the Primitivo. Then this thread will also appear in the Culture, History & Language sub-forums.

Bring it on!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
CF, Primitivo, CdM, CP, Nascente, Geira, Fisterra
Firstly, here is an article I wrote giving an overview of the Camino Primitivo, including historical sites: Camino Primitivo Highlights.

Probably the most important historical sites on the Primitivo are the pre-Romanesque Naranco churches outside Oviedo (Official Site). These can be visited as a short trip from Oviedo or as part of an alternative path on the first day of the camino. Here is our forum thread about pre-Romanesque architecture.

In Oviedo itself, the cathedral and its Holy Chamber (Cámara Santa) is a must-visit (Official Site), and another pre-Romanesque church, notable for its frescoes, is San Julián de los Prados.

If you take the Hospitales route midway through the camino, you will pass the ruins of medieval pilgrim complexes. Visually, there is not much left to see but it's very atmospheric nevertheless.

Further on, Lugo (Official Site) is the only city in the former Roman Empire to still be entirely surrounded by a complete set of Roman walls. Near Lugo, there is a late Roman sanctuary called Santa Eulalia de Bóveda that can be visited but it has limited opening hours.

Hopefully that will get you started - ¡buen camino!
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Your best bet is probably to make a list of all the places you expect to pass through, then methodically google each one, then follow up any interesting threads or ideas you find. Plus, read a good general history of Spain to give you some context.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Your best bet is probably to make a list of all the places you expect to pass through, then methodically google each one, then follow up any interesting threads or ideas you find. Plus, read a good general history of Spain to give you some context.
This would be the best course of action for someone who has never been to the forum, but I think a better idea for forum members is to start by looking through the many posts on architecture, history and landmarks on the Primitivo, all conveniently tagged and there for the searching. I do a lot of my own research when I am planning a camino, but I always start on the forum. Then I use google and the other sources you recommend to fill in the gaps.

And thanks to the forum members who have pointed El Lechero to some good forum information to start the search rolling.

My own two cents, @Lechero, is that there are many wonderful places to see on the Primitivo, the highlights for me being the Naranco sites and Santa Eulalia de Bóveda after Lugo (the Roman chamber beneath the church of that name). @jungleboy is a wealth of information and his “Camino Primitivo highlights,” which he links to in his earlier post, is must-see for you.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
start by looking through the many posts on architecture, history and landmarks on the Primitivo, all conveniently tagged and there for the searching
Actually there aren't too many tagged posts on those topics, specifically for the Primitivo, so it would be great to get some more. For art, architecture, history and landmarks on all Caminos, click on the tags at the top of this page (under the thread name).

For the Primitivo in particular, here is a new thread that provides links to some useful threads.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I agree with @dick bird (and to some extent with the rest). I saw a lot of good info on the forum before I walked but pretty much everyone used the same guidebook and/or read the same posts. By googling I learned a lot more about the area. I read a book designed just for tourists in the area of the Norte and Primitivo, and one for Spain in general. Those gave me a lot of places to look for that are usually listed as day trips for tourists in the major cities. Because I wanted to stay in monasteries when possible I read a book on that. I wanted to avoid fiestas as much as possible so I looked up festival dates—for those wanting to see festivals the same method applies just the reverse goal. I planned a rest day in Lugo and had a long list of things to see. Ditto Oviedo. Not because I needed rest but because you can’t just walk past those cities. If you must just rush through one make it Lugo. You really want a day to see Oviedo. I walked longer than average stages because I could, but that’s a way to make up time spent in Oviedo and Lugo if time is tight. do the hospitales route.
The Primitivo was my favorite—I hope it’s everything you could want.
Buen Camino

edit: if possible with covid and your walking plans, stay at Bodenaya.
 
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peregrina2000

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The ongoing archeological excavation and museum of the Castro Chao Samartin a few km after Grandas de Salime is wonderful site to visit.

MUSEO CASTRO CHAO SAMARTÍN – Página Oficial del Museo Castro Chao Samartín. Grandas de Salime. Asturias
I was very saddened to learn that the site is closed for renovations, which began in March 2021 and will continue till who knows when. The museum is open.

I think this will be my fourth time by without getting to visit. I FINALLY made a plan to stay near the castro and then learned that it is closed!

@Theatregal, do you think some of the site will be visible from afar? I take it the museum is worth a visit?
 
Past OR future Camino
2012
@peregrina2000 last time I was there (2018?) there were so many gaps in the fence that access to the excavations was no problem at all. I wandered the site, unchallenged, for several hours but without any information or guidance as to what I was looking at. The museum was shut and there were weeds growing in the tracks of the sliding doors.
It looks as if there may have been further funding since so it maybe that timing will be everything. Much like Atapuerca, this may be a site that predates “us” but it deserves more exploration and less car park/ visitor center.
 

jascreative

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2011)
Le Puy & parts of Frances (2013)
Aragones & parts of Frances (2015)
Primitivo (2016)
Hi El Lechero, to add to the list of historical/cultural sites already mentioned, another place you may want to check out is the Ethnographic Museum in Grandas de Salime (https://www.museodegrandas.es). There are several buildings (plus horreos) with rooms that recreate the cultural heritage of this area. I also saw demonstrations by someone making nails & wooden bowls. It was interesting to see a craftsperson at work!

One of the rooms featured how “madrenas” are made – madrenas are wooden ‘clogs’ with ridges underneath & worn over shoes to help navigate muddy ground. Each region of Asturias has its unique styles of this traditional footwear, & there was a wonderful display showing the various designs.

Madrenas are still being used, as was evidenced by the pair I saw on the Primitivo outside a house doorway. As I stopped to admire them, the homeowner came out & seemed pleased that I liked their shoes!

IMG_2499 (1).jpg
 

dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I agree with @dick bird (and to some extent with the rest). I saw a lot of good info on the forum before I walked but pretty much everyone used the same guidebook and/or read the same posts. By googling I learned a lot more about the area. I read a book designed just for tourists in the area of the Norte and Primitivo, and one for Spain in general. Those gave me a lot of places to look for that are usually listed as day trips for tourists in the major cities. Because I wanted to stay in monasteries when possible I read a book on that. I wanted to avoid fiestas as much as possible so I looked up festival dates—for those wanting to see festivals the same method applies just the reverse goal. I planned a rest day in Lugo and had a long list of things to see. Ditto Oviedo. Not because I needed rest but because you can’t just walk past those cities. If you must just rush through one make it Lugo. You really want a day to see Oviedo. I walked longer than average stages because I could, but that’s a way to make up time spent in Oviedo and Lugo if time is tight. do the hospitales route.
The Primitivo was my favorite—I hope it’s everything you could want.
Buen Camino

edit: if possible with covid and your walking plans, stay at Bodenaya.
Absolutely. Oviedo (bit of a foodie centre) and Lugo are definitely the stars. I wish I had followed my own advice before walking the Primitivo, in fact every camino we've done. It is hard to understand what you are looking at when you don't have a context to put it in, and now that I have the time to thoroughly inform myself, I have begun to realise what I missed . Why is S. Julián de los Prados so outstanding? Why is there so much pre-Romanesque and Romanesque architecture in Asturias and Galicia? Why are Galicians so obsessed with Celtic art? Why is every cathedral in Spain full of Baroque sculpture? Why are the walls of Lugo still standing when every other city in Spain seems to have lost its city walls? And why are there so many Renaissance and Baroque monasteries? I think the forum is absolutely brilliant if you are looking for specific information, but my (strictly personal) view is that a top down overview, in particular a working knowledge of Spanish history, helps you to make sense of what you are looking at.
 
I was very saddened to learn that the site is closed for renovations, which began in March 2021 and will continue till who knows when. The museum is open.

I think this will be my fourth time by without getting to visit. I FINALLY made a plan to stay near the castro and then learned that it is closed!

@Theatregal, do you think some of the site will be visible from afar? I take it the museum is worth a visit?
Ohhh that's a shame!
Yes - unless there is a tall or sturdier fence than the one @Tincatinker mentions, you should be able to see it easily from the hill that the museum is on. When I was there, I visited the museum first which houses artifacts found at the site (worth seeing) and then walked down to the site where there was guided tour. There were good views of it along the way. Attached photo is the view from the museum.

castro.jpg
 
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A Quest of St. James, Tommy Ray, Book Cover, Image
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Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
The GPS app OSMand, besides allowing you to download base maps of the areas you will be walking in, can download points of interest from Wikipedia. As you walk along then you will see a Wikipedia symbol just as you would see ones for lodgings or restaurants. You can click the symbol and see a shortened form of the Wikipedia article for what is at that place. There is a link to the full article if you want to go online. Major articles are in English but minor articles that volunteers write in the local languages and never get an English translation are also available.

Here's a screenshot of the area around SdC's cathedral. Click the thumbnail to enlarge.
Screenshot_20210818-074216.png
 
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