Fuente de Foncalada (Foncalada Fountain), Oviedo
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.
Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Oviedo. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.
Fuente de Foncalada (Foncalada Fountain) on Map
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