Principado de Asturias
The Principality of Asturias (el Principado de Asturias in Spanish, el Principáu d’Asturies in Asturian) is situated on the north coast of Spain. It is bordered by Cantabria in the east, Castile-Leon in the south, Galicia in the west and the Cantabrian Sea (el Mar Cantábrico) in the north.
Asturias has around 350km of coastline bearing hundreds of beaches, coves and natural sea caves. Most of its sandy beaches are very clean and bordered by cliffs. Beaches of note are Silence Beach (la Playa del Silencio) near the village of Cudillero, and the beaches surrounding Llanes.
The Asturian geography is marked not only by its cliffy coastline: mountains are a key feature. Bordering Castile-Leon in the south, are the Cantabrian Mountains (la Cordillera Cantábrica). In the east are the Picos de Europa: a spectacular mountain range (it is in fact a national park) offering excellent opportunities for walking and climbing. The surface area of the Asturian region represents around 2.1% of Spain’s total.
Asturias has a climate similar to other parts of northwest Spain, such as Galicia. It is more varied than southern regions likes Andalusia, as summers are normally warm and humid with sunshine (but also rain) and winters are mild but subject to cold snaps. In general, rain and sun are regular weather features.
Traditional Asturian industries of coal mining and steel production have declined in the region since the 1960s, but are still significant (particularly steel). More recently, service industries and construction have become more important.
Asturias is famous for its beef and seafood: squid (calamares), crab (cangrejo), shrimp (camarón), and sea-bass (lubina). The most celebrated dish of the region is the Fabada Asturiana. This is a stew made with large white beans (fabes), pork shoulder (lacón), black sausage (morcilla), spicy sausage (chorizo) and saffron (azafrán). Asturian apple production contributes to the manufacture of the region’s alcoholic drink: cider (sidra).
The Asturian Language
Asturianu is a romance language spoken in some areas of Asturias. Although t is not a co-official language, the official language of the region is Castilian Spanish, it is considered a language in its own right and not a dialect of Castilian: to the people of Asturias, Spain has a different language. As an estimate, around 600,000 people speak Asturianu as a first or second language out of a population of approximately 1,050,000.