Fuente de Foncalada (Foncalada Fountain), Oviedo

Fuente de Foncalada (Foncalada Fountain), Oviedo

A remarkable piece of hydraulic engineering of the late Middle Ages (based on the earlier Roman models), that is still in working order, La Foncalada is a drinking fountain, located on the street of the same name. The word foncalada derives from the Latin “fontem calatam” (which means invoked source).

Rectangular in shape, approximately 4 meters (13 feet) wide, the fountain was erected over a spring as a pavilion with a gabled roof. It has a central opening as a door and semicircular arch with perfect voussoirs framing it.

The fountain was erected in the 9th century by order of the Asturian king Alfonso III, and was originally located near the city walls, next to an ancient Roman road that used to link the north and south parts of the region, passing in front of the church of San Julián de los Prados.

The very first documentary record of this fountain dates back to the late 11th century. According to recent archaeological findings, it most likely was part of a monumental bath complex, endowed with an important religious meaning, associated with the potentially healing water, and Jesus Christ, invoked as "Salvs", which is evident from the inscriptions covering the monument.

In the vertex of the pediment you can see the Victoria Cross, the royal ensign of Alfonso III, with the apocalyptic Alpha and Omega. Below the cross, there are two inscriptions translated as follows:

"With this sign the pious are protected, With this sign you shall defeat the enemy"
"Lord, put the sign of the salvation on this fountain, so as to not allow the hitting angel to enter"

The above text corresponds to the usual inscription formula found in other constructions of the Alfonso III period. There are also remnants of other inscriptions on the fountain, but the degree of their deterioration is so high that it makes it difficult to read and interpret them.

This fountain remains the only surviving Medieval piece of civil architecture in the city designed for public use, and is the oldest civil monument in continuous use in Spain. Seriously damaged during the Civil War, it was restored during the 1990s and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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Fuente de Foncalada (Foncalada Fountain) on Map

Sight Name: Fuente de Foncalada (Foncalada Fountain)
Sight Location: Oviedo, Spain (See walking tours in Oviedo)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Oviedo, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Oviedo

Create Your Own Walk in Oviedo

Creating your own self-guided walk in Oviedo is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Oviedo Historic Architecture

Oviedo Historic Architecture

The north Spanish region of Asturias and particularly its capital city, Oviedo, have long been noted for their unique architecture. The medieval part of town, whose ancient walls are still largely intact, contains some truly priceless relics. Among them is a well called La Foncalada, a fascinating example of an effective hydraulic system, dating back to the first half of the 9th century, based on...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Oviedo Public Art Walking Tour

Oviedo Public Art Walking Tour

Oviedo is a beautiful city with many wonderful public artworks to admire. This self-guided walking tour takes you around the city center to see some of the most interesting sculptures.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Oviedo Introduction Walking Tour

Oviedo Introduction Walking Tour

The Kingdom of Asturias began in 720, with the Visigothic revolt against Muslim rule led by the nobleman Pelagius. At that time, the city of Oviedo did not exist. Two monks, Maximo and Fromestano, founded the city in 761. They built a small church for Saint Vincent on a bare hillside, and from this seed, Oviedo grew.

After Pelagius died in 737, King Alfonso I founded a dynasty in Oviedo that...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles