Monte Naranco (Near Ovideo)
Monte Naranco is a small mountainous area that is close to the major city of Oviedo, it is often described as a mountain range, but it would probably be perceived as an extensive hilly area by the British and Americans. It is popular with visitor who have an interest in walking and hiking and those who want a break from the city. There are nearly always people walking on the path and it is popular with locals.
The highest point of Monte Naranco is the Paisano Peak (Picos del Paisano) which is over 630 metres above sea level. The range covers a small area close to the district of Naranco and extending to the villages of Lloriana and Villaperi whilst the river Nora runs close by. (It also has a large and famous statue, see below.)
Historically Monte Naranco has thrown up a number of ancient artefacts that suggest the former presence of Roman settlements and there is physical evidence of fortresses being present on some of the lower peaks. In the past this area was subjected to a number of foreign attacks, but the terrain and the resistance of the local people meant that it was always able to remain independent.
Today the summit of Monte Naranco is a large flat table like area with a primarily recreational use, however it has had different functions in the recent past when it was used for artillery practice. Anyone climbing up to the level plateau zone will find satisfying views, a picnic area and a radio signal mast, however this is not a trip to be made on a dull or inclement day.
The most significant and visually impressive feature of the peak is however a large elegant statue, the name of which translates to “The Sacred Heart of Jesus”. This monumental structure was erected in 1950 and it takes the form of a large statue of Jesus with his arms raised and opened. It is said that it symbolises Jesus embracing the city of Oviedo. This monument is very much a feature of Oviedo and it is regularly photographed by tourists and visitors to the mountain.
This area and the hills are part of the Tour of Spain Cycle race (similar to the Tour de France and the British “Milk” race). With gradients of almost 7 percent this section of the race is physically challenging to the contestants who get to experience an Asturain hill climb.