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Mines and mountains

The route following the Nalón Valley from Oviedo goes along the AS-244 and AS-17 by-roads towards Tudela Veguín coming out of the capital by way of the district of San Lázaro and San Esteban de las Cruces. Along the road we can enjoy the beautiful views of the Sierra del Aramo. In Bendones we can stop to see the pre-Romanesque Church of Santa María, which was first mentioned in the year 905, in the reign of Alfonso III. It was rebuilt in 1958. Nearing Tudela de Veguín, we can see in the distance the ruins of Tudela Castle, Roman in origin and whose upper part was ordered to be destroyed by Juan I of Castilla.

We will go through the Entrepeñas Gorge on the way from Tudela to La Felguera and when we have reached the latter place we are in the heart of the built-up area of Langreo, at one time several different towns but which have almost become one owing to the growth of mining and industry in the area. The recently opened Nalón By-pass with the viaduct suspended over Sama allows us to view the industrialized valley.

We can go to Ciaño to see its 14th century circular tower of la Quintana and the Romanesque doorways of the Church of San Esteban. You can take the turn off from here up the Carbayu Hill to the 18th century shrine of the patron of Langreo, Nuestra Señora del Carbayu, from where you can look out over the whole area.

We then go through El Entrego, where the Mining Museum is being built, Sotrondio, Blimea and Barredos to reach Pola de Laviana. From here on we are in the Upper Nalón and having gone beyond the industrial area, the countryside recovers its lushness. In Pola we can visit the Otero Shrine, with a 17th century altarpiece and the 16th centuty statue of Nuestra Señora, to whom the shrine is dedicated. The parish church, built at the beginning of this century, is also very interesting, although its neo Gothic altarpieces have been taken away.

La Chalana, just outside the town, is a meeting place for the inhabitants of the valley and is also the finishing poiont of the Traditional Descent of the Nalón, which takes place in the middle of August, a very spectacular festival full of local colour. By crossing the bridge we come to Entralgo, the lost village of Palacio Valdés, where the recently-restored house where he was born can be seen.

Continuing along our route we come to Puente de Arco, which takes its name from the medieval bridge which is still there and is the starting point of the above mentioned Traditional Descent.

We then come to El Condado, with its large medieval tower, and then Rioseco, where there is a reservoir serving the Tanes dam. Here, partially coverred by the waters of the dam, the Collegiate Church of Santa María can be seen, a magnificent 16th century building. We go through some reathtaking ravines carved out by the Nalón and reach Campo de Caso. We then go on to the tiny village of Bezanes. From here we can set out on a mountain route up to the mountain refuge of Brañagallones, lying in a wonderful natural setting and where a Rural Tourism Lodge is soon to be opened.

We take a local road from Bezanes to La Foz, leading us right intp the reserve of Reres and we will begin to go up Tarna Pass which has a small ski resort at its top. The views of Asturias and León are magnificent.

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