Theme Week Asturias – Avilés

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Calle Galiana © flickr.com - Ángel M. Felicísimo/cc-by-2.0

Calle Galiana © flickr.com – Ángel M. Felicísimo/cc-by-2.0

Avilés is a town in Asturias, Spain. Avilés is with Oviedo and Gijón, one of the main cities in the Principality of Asturias. The town occupies the flattest land in the municipality, in a land that belonged to the sea, surrounded by small promontories, all of them having an altitude of less than 140 metres. Situated in the Avilés estuary, in the Northern Central area of the Asturian coast, west of Peñas Cape, is its national seaport. Avilés is mainly an industrial city. It is close to popular beaches like Salinas. It also has important churches like St. Thomas of Canterbury. Avilés has the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre (in Spanish: Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer).

Archaeological excavations have shown that the area was already settled in the upper palaeolithic era. The existence of the town proper date is documented only in the early Middle Ages, although the name “Avilés” is thought to come from a local Roman landowner, Abilius. The first well known document is an endowment of two churches by Asturias King Alfonso III, in 905. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the most important ports of the Biscay Bay, trading mainly with French ports, the main trade was salt. At this time, it had two nuclei: a fishermen’s district, Sabugo, and the aristocratic centre, La Villa, standing each other across a small water inlet at the site of present-day Avilés’ main Park. La Villa was surrounded by strong walls, which demonstrated its strategic and commercial importance. On 15 January 1479 the Catholic Monarchs granted a free market on each Monday of the year, which still takes place. The importance of the town as a naval centre is supported by the building of ships with wood harvested from nearby forests, and with the participation of local sailors in the conquest of Seville by the Castilian army, which is reflected in Avilés’s coat of arms. It is the birthplace of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, a soldier in the army of Felipe II, who explored Florida in the 16th century and founded in 1565 the first successful (continuously populated) European town in what is now the United States, San Augustín (now St. Augustine, Florida). St. Augustine and Avilés are now sister cities. Avilés is also the birthplace of Juan Carreño Miranda, court painter to the king Charles II. The estuary, which had been closed to navigation since the early modern era, was partially drained and cleared in the 19th century. The water inlet dividing the place was covered, so that the two nuclei, Sabugo and La Villa, could be joined together. Then the city began to grow outside the medieval wall, which had been demolished in 1818. In the 20th century, there was an enormous growth in population due to the arrival of several large factories to the town. In 1953 were started the first earthworks for the construction of the factory of ENSIDESA, a large steel mill, currently Aceralia (part of ArcelorMittal); other companies in the area are Cristalería Española, which together with ENDASA, currently Alcoa, transformed Avilés into one of Spain’s industrial centres. Nowadays, the city is trying to focus on new industries, particularly cultural tourism, and recover its antique flavour.

Town Hall on Plaza de España © HombreDHojalata/cc-by-sa-3.0 Balsera Palace © HombreDHojalata/cc-by-sa-3.0 Calle Galiana © flickr.com - Ángel M. Felicísimo/cc-by-2.0 Camposagrado Palace © flickr.com - Ángel M. Felicísimo/cc-by-2.0 San Francisco Street © B25es/cc-by-sa-3.0 Teatro Palacio Valdes © Xazy/cc-by-sa-3.0-es
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Camposagrado Palace © flickr.com - Ángel M. Felicísimo/cc-by-2.0
Among the architectural sights are:

  • St. Thomas of Canterbury church (dating from the 13th century)
  • Church of Saint Nicholas of Bari (12th-13th century), in Romanesque style
  • Palacio de Valdecarzana, the sole example of civil medieval architecture in the town
  • Palacio de Llano Ponte (1700–1706)
  • Baroque Palacio de Camposagrado, fortified in its north façade against the English pirates
  • Capilla de los Alas, a 14th-century funerary monument in Romanesque-Gothic transition style
  • Old church of Sabugo (13th century)
  • Palacio de Balsera, in Modernist style
  • Palacio Valdés Theatre, in Neobaroque style.

Among the museums and arts centres are:

Throughout the town there are sculptures in various styles: the set of sculptures in El Muelle park, specially the Pedro Menendez sculpture and La foca (the seal); the Ruta del acero set of sculptures along the Avilés estuary; Avilés sculpture, and different ones such as: Marta y María, El hombre que escucha la piedra (the man who listens to the stone), El eslabón, Entre bambalines, etc.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Avilés, Wikivoyage Avilés and Wikipedia Avilés. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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