Nava – The ‘cider capital’ of Asturias…

Nava is a picturesque municipality situated in Piloña in the heart of Eastern Asturias. With a population of around 5,500 inhabitants, Nava offers a serene retreat into nature, history, and tradition. This charming town is especially famous for its cider production, a cornerstone of Asturian culture.

Nava is located in the central part of Asturias, nestled within the lush, green valleys characteristic of this part of Spain. The municipality covers an area of approximately 95 square kilometers and is bordered by the municipalities of Siero to the west, Bimenes to the south, Piloña to the east, and Sariego to the north. The landscape is dominated by rolling hills, verdant meadows, and dense forests, providing a scenic backdrop to the town’s everyday life.

As for most of Asturias the climate in Nava is typically oceanic, influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. This means mild temperatures throughout the year, with a significant amount of rainfall, especially during the autumn and winter months. Summers are generally mild and pleasant, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and festivals. The abundant rainfall contributes to the region’s lush greenery and fertile land, perfect for agriculture and, notably, for growing apples used in cider production.

The history of Nava is deeply intertwined with the broader history of Asturias. The region has been inhabited since prehistoric times, as evidenced by various archaeological finds. During the Roman era, Asturias was known for its mineral wealth, particularly gold. Although there is limited direct evidence of significant Roman settlements within Nava itself, the broader influence of Roman infrastructure and culture would have been felt. In the Middle Ages, Nava, like much of Asturias, was characterized by small, dispersed settlements. The area was under the rule of the Asturian monarchy, which played a crucial role in the Reconquista, the Christian effort to reclaim the Iberian Peninsula from Moorish rule. The medieval period saw the establishment of various hamlets and the development of agricultural practices that laid the foundation for future prosperity.

Nava began to take on more distinct characteristics in the modern era, particularly from the 18th century onwards. The 19th century brought significant changes with the advent of the industrial revolution, although Nava remained largely agricultural. The town gained prominence for its cider production, a tradition that continues to define its cultural and economic life today.

Nava is often referred to as the “capital of cider” in Asturias. The production of cider, or “sidra” as it is known locally, is a deeply rooted tradition. The town is home to several cider mills, or “llagares,” where the apples are fermented to produce this iconic beverage. The process of making cider in Nava involves harvesting apples in the autumn, pressing them to extract the juice, and then allowing it to ferment naturally. The result is a crisp, refreshing drink that is an essential part of Asturian social and cultural life. One of the most important events in Nava is the annual Festival de la Sidra, held every summer. This festival celebrates the town’s cider heritage with a variety of activities, including cider tastings, contests, and demonstrations of traditional cider pouring techniques. The festival attracts visitors from all over Spain and beyond, eager to experience the unique atmosphere and savor the local product.

Aside from cider, Nava’s cuisine reflects the rich culinary traditions of Asturias. The region is known for its hearty, rustic dishes that make use of locally sourced ingredients. Some typical dishes include “fabada asturiana,” a robust bean stew made with large white beans, pork, and chorizo, and “cachopo,” a dish consisting of two large veal fillets filled with ham and cheese, then breaded and fried. In addition to the Cider Festival, Nava hosts several other local festivals and events throughout the year. These include traditional religious celebrations, such as the Feast of San Bartolomé, the town’s patron saint, which features processions, music, and dancing. There are also various folk festivals that showcase Asturian music, dance, and costumes, providing a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.

One of Nava’s key attractions is the Museo de la Sidra (Cider Museum). This museum offers an in-depth look at the history and production of cider in Asturias. Exhibits include traditional cider-making equipment, interactive displays, and multimedia presentations that explain the cultural significance of cider in the region. Visitors can also participate in cider tastings and learn about the art of cider pouring. As well as that, Nava’s natural surroundings provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. The nearby Sierra de Peñamayor mountain range offers excellent hiking trails with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The area is also rich in wildlife, making it a great destination for nature lovers and bird watchers.

There are also several historical sites worth visiting. These include traditional Asturian houses and rural churches that reflect the architectural styles and building techniques of the region. The Church of San Bartolomé is a notable example, with its blend of Romanesque and Gothic elements.

Nava is well-served in terms of education and healthcare. The town has several primary and secondary schools, ensuring that children receive a good education close to home. For higher education, residents typically travel to larger cities such as Oviedo or Gijón. Healthcare services in Nava include a local health center and easy access to hospitals in nearby cities.

The town’s natural surroundings and cultural heritage provide a pleasant environment, while the close-knit community offers a strong support network. Despite its small size, Nava boasts a range of amenities, including shops, restaurants, and recreational facilities. Nava, is a town that beautifully encapsulates the essence of rural northern Spain. Its rich history, cultural traditions, and stunning natural landscapes make it a unique destination for visitors and a cherished home for its residents. The town’s deep connection to cider production is a testament to its agricultural heritage and offers a fascinating insight into Asturian culture. Despite facing challenges such as economic diversification and population decline, Nava’s strong sense of community and commitment to preserving its traditions provide a solid foundation for the future. By balancing development with environmental conservation and cultural preservation, Nava can continue to thrive as a vibrant and welcoming community.

Whether you are exploring the scenic hiking trails, enjoying a glass of locally produced cider, or participating in one of the town’s lively festivals, Nava offers a truly authentic and enriching experience. This small town in the heart of Asturias stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of rural life and the timeless beauty of the Spanish countryside.


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