Traveling through time from the years of the Inquisition and the persecution of Jew, coinciding with the foundation of the university of Oviedo, the route to Fontán street - where the current La Casina synagogue is located – starts on Ramón y Cajal street whose initial stretch as far as Riego square coincides with the layout of the former medieval defensive wall. Still outside the walls, and after leaving behind us in the square the beautiful Bernaldo Quirós palace, Los Pozos street intertwines with Rosal street which opens out on the left into Fontán street. The Zapatos arch symbolically marks the entrance to Fontán street and square, the closed market and street market which is open every day; a space for popular architecture and for the merry cider bars that splash the ground with fermented apple juice... The stone columns mark the modern character of this everlasting market where the sculptoric reference of the traditional pottery dish sellers is not lacking. Vamos al Fontán (Let´s go to Fontán) is the phrase which defines the fondness of the Oviedo residents for this space awash with colour where number 11 of this street houses the contemporary synagogue.
The stern look on the face of Fernando de Valdés Salas in the statue representing him at the center of the cloister of Oviedo University, undoubtedly incarnates the pompous character of the founder of this institution, but it is also, if you want to look at it that way, a certain examination of conscience after his work as the grand inquisitor between 1547 and 1566 when he was the central figure, amongst other cases, in the famous proceedings against Bartolomé de Carranza, the author of a big Índice de libros prohibidos (List of Prohibited books), but also an unflagging driving force behind cultural and charitable ventures; perhaps today don Fernando would not have been surprised to know that the volumes kept at the University library include two magnificent editions of the Ferrara Bible from 1553, a Bible in Spanish translated word for word from the Hebrew truth by most excellent academics and seen and examined by the office of the Inquisition. Design in 1574 by Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, the building, surrounded by the mandatory university quarry which established the higher jurisdiction of the chancellor, accommodated the faculties of Arts, Canons, Laws and Theology after its solemn inauguration in 1608 which its main promoter Valdés was unable to attend as he died a few years previously. The magnificent building which can be seen today is the culmination of profound restoration after the damage caused to the property during the October Revolution of 1934 and the subsequent Civil War.
At the same Porlier square, the sculpture by Eduardo Úrculo El regreso de Williams Arrensberg (The return of Williams Arrensberg - 1993),a lifesize portrayal of a traveller with a hat and overcoat, resting on his suitcases, has become a true symbol of the city de Oviedo. On the northwestern side of the square an explanatory Jewish settlements´ plan situates in this square the main Jewish landmarks of Oviedo, at least since the period when the members of the aljama ceased to be free to elect their place of residence in the city to focus on a specific place as from the Ordinances of the Council of Oviedo of 1274. The space occupied by this square, plus that part of the block formed by the building on the northern side and that of the current Juan XXIII square, constitutes the essence of the Jewish quarter of Oviedo from the Castillo gate to the Socastiello Nueva gate and from the gate outwards, should they so wish. Those who drafted the Ordinances justify these limitations by the fact that the Jews»se esparzían a morar por la villa, por que venja danno ala villa, en muchas maneras que non queremos declarer», but they use this opportunity to establish a series of impediments to their activities. From this point onwards the Jews of Oviedo can no longer accept the pawning of stolen objects, grant loans to women without the autorisation of their husbands or carry out financial activities after nightfall.
Oviedo's Jewish Quarter is largely non existent - no streets or houses remain - yet their presence in the city documents back to the its 8th century founding by 2 monks. Today, Ovieda is most well known for its Prince of Asturias Awards which gives out awards in 8 categories. Notable winners include Al Gore and Bob Dylan.