Gijón

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Gijón / Xixón
Municipality
Montaje Gijon.jpg
Flag of Gijón / Xixón
Flag
Coat of arms of Gijón / Xixón
Coat of arms
Location of Gijon
Location of Gijon
Gijón / Xixón is located in Spain
Gijón / Xixón
Gijón / Xixón
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 43°32′N 5°42′W / 43.533°N 5.700°W / 43.533; -5.700Coordinates: 43°32′N 5°42′W / 43.533°N 5.700°W / 43.533; -5.700
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Asturias
Province Asturias
Comarca Gijón
Judicial district Gijón
Founded 5th century BC (Noega, the first settlement on record)
Government
 • Mayor Carmen Moriyón Entrialgo (2011) (FAC)
Area
 • Total 181.6 km2 (70.1 sq mi)
Elevation 3 m (10 ft)
Highest elevation 737 m (2,418 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Total 275,274
 • Density 1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Demonym Spanish: Gijonés/sa Asturian: Xixonés/sa
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 33201 -33212
Official language(s) Spanish
Website Official website

Gijón ([xiˈxon]; officially Gijón / Xixón [ʃiˈʃoŋ]),[1] is the largest city and municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. Early medieval texts mention it as "Gigia". It is located on the Bay of Biscay, approximately 20 km (12 mi) north of Oviedo, the capital of Asturias.

History[edit]

Prehistory and Romanization[edit]

The bronze copy of the statue "Augustus of Prima Porta" at San Lorenzo beach.

The first evidences of human presence in what is known nowadays as municipality of Gijón are located in Monte Deva, where exist a serie of tumulus, and in Monte Areo, where there are some neolithic dolmens. These dolmens were discovered in 1990 and is supposed it was built about 5000 BC.

The first noticed settlement (Noega) is located in Campa Torres. It has its origin between the 6th and 5th centuries BC. It was populated by Astures (Cilúrnigos) and later Romanized. Noega was progressively abandoned when the Roman wall in the peninsula of Cimavilla, called the Gegionem, was built.

This wall was the most important one of the Roman Asturias and it should be an important port of the Cantabric sea route and also, it crossed the center of Asturias by Lucus Asturum (nowadays Llanera) and linked in Asturica Augusta with the Ruta de la Plata (Silver route).

Some remains of this stage are the Roman baths of Campo Valdés (1st or 2nd centuries AD), the Roman wall (3rd and 4th centuries) and the Roman village of Veranes.

Middle Ages and Modern Era[edit]

Despite the Barbarian invasions left no trace, it seems the territory was submitted to the power of the Visigoth king Sisebut in the 7th century. From this moment it could appear the first Christian worship demos, where one of its places was the Roman villa of Veranes.

Gijón was capital of the Muslim territories in the Cantabric Sea, under the power of Munuza, who dominated the city between 713 and 718 or 722. In this last year, Asturians won the Battle of Covadonga, started in 718 and led by Pelagius, who would became in the first King of the Kingdom of Asturias.

Until 1270 there were no reliable news of Gijón, with only short mentions in some documents. In this year, Alfonso X of Castile conceded the category of puebla.

In the 14th century, the war between Alfonso Enríquez of Castile and Henry III of Castile finished with the village of Gijón fenced, burned and totally destroyed, practically disappearing.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Gijón developed again, specially when a new dock was built in the port, bringing fishing and commerce.

In the 17th and 18th centuries Gijón started to have great development, growing out of the old city center. This happened when the port of Gijón had commerce with the American colonies. In the 18th century, due to the French invasions, the wars and the financial trouble in the era, the development stopped until late in the century, when the Oviedo-Gijón road was created and the port was recognized as the best one in Asturias, favoring the start of industrial activities in the village.

Contemporary history[edit]

Modern piece of art with the city name.

The 19th century brought with it great development, with the commerce of coal, the Gijón-León road and later the Langreo-Gijón railway. All this supposed the quick expansion of the port, due to the heavy traffic intensity in it. A new port, El Musel, was built in 1893 and it was the first coal port of the peninsula.

Gijón was going through a conversion to an industrial village with a new bourgeoise and an urban development, opening new streets and squares, with new municipal equipments like water, garbage collection, lighting... All this industrial development brought new manpower to the city and the creation of new neighbourhoods like Natahoyo, La Calzada, Tremañes or El Humedal.

In the 20th century, with the Spanish Civil War, the city supported the Republican faction. The army was located in El Coto. The resistance was eliminated in August 1936. Later, the village was the capital of the Sovereign Council of Asturias and León until 20 October 1937, when the troops of General Francisco Franco occupied the city.

Ferrous metallurgy was the main industry of Gijón from the last years of the 19th century until the last decades of the 20th. Uninsa was created in 1971, and it merged with Ensidesa. In the last years of the century was converted in Aceralia, and integrated in Arcelor.

The last decades of the century brought an industrial crisis affecting mainly the ferrous metallurgy and the local shipbuilding. This facts brought new terrain for the creation of new beaches, parks and new neighbourhoods. It was also created a campus of the University of Oviedo.

Geography[edit]

Population of Gijón
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1857 23,621 —    
1860 24,802 +1.64%
1877 30,591 +1.24%
1887 35,170 +1.40%
1897 43,392 +2.12%
1900 45,544 +1.63%
1910 55,248 +1.95%
1920 57,573 +0.41%
1930 78,239 +3.11%
1940 101,341 +2.62%
1950 110,985 +0.91%
1960 124,714 +1.17%
1970 187,612 +4.17%
1981 255,969 +2.86%
1991 260,267 +0.17%
1998 265,491 +0.28%
1999 267,980 +0.94%
2000 267,426 −0.21%
2001 269,270 +0.69%
2002 270,211 +0.35%
2003 270,875 +0.25%
2004 271,039 +0.06%
2005 273,931 +1.07%
2006 274,472 +0.20%
2007 274,037 −0.16%
2008 275,699 +0.61%
2009 277,554 +0.67%
2010 277,198 −0.13%
2011 277,559 +0.13%
2012 277,733 +0.06%
2013 275,274 −0.89%
From 1998 to present, population as of each January 1st
Source: INE

The city is situated on the coast of central Asturias, from sea level to an altitude of 513 metres at Picu Samartín and 672 metres at Peña de los Cuatro Jueces, bordered on the West by Carreño, the East by Villaviciosa, and to the South by Siero and Llanera

The city is situated along the Asturian coast and is distinguished by the peninsula of Cimavilla (the original settlement) which separates the beach of San Lorenzo and adjacent neighborhoods to the east from the beaches of Poniente and Arbeyal, the shipyards, and the recreational port and the Port of El Musel to the west. It is close to the other main Asturian cities, Oviedo and Avilés.

Districts[edit]

Gijón is divided in six districts:[2] Centre, East, South, West, El Llano and Rural. In this last one, all the peri-urban zone and the rural parishes are integrated.

Neighbourhoods and parishes[edit]

Gijón parishes
The Eulogy to the Horizon of Eduardo Chillida, one of the most known symbols of Gijón.
Centre district
Eastern district
  • L'Arena
  • El Bibio
  • Ceares/Ciares
  • El Coto
  • Las Mestas
  • Viesques
El Llano district
  • El Llano
South district
  • Contrueces
  • Montevil
  • Nuevo Gijón
  • Perchera-La Braña
  • Polígono de Pumarín
  • Pumarín
  • Roces (22)
  • Santa Bárbara
Western district
Rural district

Culture[edit]

Upper front view of the San Lorenzo Church
Revillagigedo Palace
Universidad Laboral de Gijón, as seen from the tower of the same university.
  • During the early years of the 19th century the, then very small, town of Gijón was best known for its college or high-school known as the "Real Instituto Asturiano" founded by Jovellanos.[3]
  • The City Hall's sports and culture programs for citizens is wide, including the innovative Abierto Hasta el Amanecer (literally Open Till Dawn) nocturnal program, which tries to involve teens in cultural and sporting activities as an alternative to weekend nightlife.
  • Gijón has 13 libraries in its Cultural City Centers, which feature a wide network of swimming pools and gyms.

Museums and art galleries[edit]

Universities[edit]

There are two campuses located in Gijón, one of the University of Oviedo and other of the National University of Distance Education.

University of Oviedo[edit]

Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronical Engineering, Computers and Systems Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Telecommunication Engineering.

  • School of Civil Navy.
  • Faculty of Commerce, Tourism and Social Sciences "Jovellanos".

Public Administration and Management, Trade and Marketing, Tourism and Social work.

National University of Distance Education (UNED)[edit]

Gijon also has a delegation of the UNED, where different disciplines can be studied by distance.

Sports[edit]

Estadio El Molinón, in a game of Sporting de Gijón in La Liga.

In team sports, Gijón's professional football team, Sporting de Gijón, plays in the Spanish Segunda División, with AB Gijón Jovellanos competing in Liga ASOBAL, one of the most important leagues of team handball in the world. In women's sport, Gijón Hockey Club is one of the most important rink hockey teams in Europe.

CSI Gijón is Spain's official show jumping horse show and it's held annually in Gijon's equestrian facility.

There is also a private sports club in Gijón with more than 33,000 members, Real Grupo de Cultura Covadonga, the biggest club in Asturias.

Not far from Gijón, there are several ski resorts in Asturias, the main being Valgrande-Pajares.

The city's marina houses an important fleet of yachts and is the base for many water sports, being Royal Astur Yacht Club the most important yacht club in town.

Sports centers[edit]

The biggest sport centers in Gijón are Estadio El Molinón, with 30,000 seats, Plaza de Toros de El Bibio with 12,000 and Palacio de Deportes with 5,000 seats.

The city has in total 13 public sport centers (in Spanish: Centros Municipales Integrados) with swimming pools, gyms and saunas. Swimming pools are free for children up to age 14.

Economy[edit]

For much of the 20th century the town was heavily dependent on mature heavy industries, but at the end of the Franco era, tertiary sector employment began to expand rapidly along with the city's population which by 2007 stood officially at 277,897 for Gijón proper, and approximately 380,000 for the total Gijón agglomeration.

The port is at the centre of many of the local businesses. Apart from directly port related activities, the economy is based on tourism, steel (Arcelor), other metallurgy, livestock rearing and fisheries.

Climate[edit]

Gijón has a temperate oceanic climate typical of the Atlantic coast of Spain, with cool summers and wet and mostly mild winters. The onshore flow from the Atlantic Ocean creates a cool summer and mild winter climate where severe heat and very cold temperatures are rare. The summer climate is much cooler than inland areas to the south in central Spain as well as the entire Spanish mediterranean coast. Winter average highs are relatively typical for Spanish winter temperatures.

Climate data for Gijón
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13.1
(55.6)
13.8
(56.8)
14.9
(58.8)
15.6
(60.1)
17.8
(64)
20.2
(68.4)
22.4
(72.3)
23.2
(73.8)
21.8
(71.2)
19.0
(66.2)
15.6
(60.1)
14.0
(57.2)
17.6
(63.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.9
(48)
9.6
(49.3)
10.7
(51.3)
11.8
(53.2)
14.3
(57.7)
16.9
(62.4)
19.2
(66.6)
19.7
(67.5)
17.9
(64.2)
15.0
(59)
11.6
(52.9)
9.9
(49.8)
13.8
(56.8)
Average low °C (°F) 4.7
(40.5)
5.4
(41.7)
6.6
(43.9)
8.1
(46.6)
10.9
(51.6)
13.6
(56.5)
16.0
(60.8)
16.2
(61.2)
14.1
(57.4)
11.0
(51.8)
7.6
(45.7)
5.8
(42.4)
10.0
(50)
Precipitation mm (inches) 94
(3.7)
85
(3.35)
74
(2.91)
93
(3.66)
79
(3.11)
47
(1.85)
45
(1.77)
54
(2.13)
70
(2.76)
104
(4.09)
120
(4.72)
104
(4.09)
971
(38.23)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 12 11 10 12 11 7 6 7 8 11 12 12 121
Mean monthly sunshine hours 103 109 137 151 167 180 194 190 158 132 106 92 1,721
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[4]

Transport[edit]

Airports[edit]

Gijón is served by Asturias Airport, about 38 km (24 mi) from the centre of the city; it is located in the municipality of Castrillon. The airport is connected to the city by the A-8 motorway, the N-632 national highway and scheduled bus service (Alsa). It has regular flights to the following destinations: Barcelona, Brussels, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Lisbon, London - Stansted, Madrid, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Paris - Charles de Gaulle, Seville, Tenerife-South and Valencia. Operating companies are: Air Berlin, Air France, Air Europa, Iberia or Iberworld.

Seaport[edit]

Main article: El Musel

LD Lines ferries has a regular service from the Port of Gijon, El Musel to the port of Nantes (Saint Nazaire) with three weekly departures and a voyage time of 16h. This is part of the Motorways of the Sea project of the European Union. In January 2014 two new regular lines will be opened, weekly with a voyage time of 25h direct to Poole (England), and via Saint-Nazaire to Rosslare Harbour (Ireland).[5]

Public transport[edit]

Gijón currently has 21 bus lines, which are:

  • Line 1 BRT: Cerillero - Cabueñes Hospital
  • Line 2: El Corte Inglés - Cabueñes Hospital
  • Line 4: El Lauredal - Viesques - University campus
  • Line 6: Musel - Alcampo - Polígono de Porceyo - Polígono de Zarracina
  • Line 10: Pumarín - Candenal- Cabueñes Hospital
  • Line 12: Cerillero - Montevil - Contrueces
  • Line 14: Polígono de Somonte - Tremañes - Infanzón
  • Line 15: Nuevo Roces - Viesques - Cabueñes Hospital
  • Line 16: Estación Ferrocaril - Vega
  • Line 18: Nuevo Gijón - Cabueñes Hospital
  • Line 20: Montevil - Somió
  • Line 21: Jove Hospital - La Campa Torres
  • Line 24: Monteana - La Pedrera - Mareo
  • Line 25: Tremañes - Infanzón - La Olla
  • Line 26: Gijón - Deva
  • Line 28: Pza. del Humedal - El Molinón
  • Line 30: Pza. del Humedal - FIDMA (International trade fair of Asturias)
  • Line 34: Fomento - Musel
  • Line 54: Pza. del Humedal - Las Mestas (During the Davis Cup semi-final of Tennis)

Night bus service (Fridays and Saturdays only, every day 1 July to 31 August)

  • Line 41: El Cerillero - Pza. del Carmen (BUHO 1)
  • Line 42: Nuevo Roces - Pumarin - Pza. del Carmen (BUHO 2)
  • Line 43: Contrueces - Llano - Coto - Pza. del Carmen (BUHO 3)
  • Line 44: Vega - Viesques - Arena - Pza. del Carmen (BUHO 4)

Railway[edit]

The city is served by the Gijón Railway Station.

Roads and highways[edit]

Type Name Alternate name Itinerary
Highway A-8 Autovía del Cantábrico Baamonde - Gijón - Llanes - Torrelavega - Solares - Bilbao - San Sebastián
A-66 Autovía Ruta de la Plata Gijón - Oviedo - Mieres - León - Benavente - Zamora - Salamanca - Béjar - Plasencia - Mérida - Almendralejo - Sevilla
AS-I Autovía Minera Gijón - Pola de Siero - Langreo - Mieres
AS-II Autovía Industrial Gijón - Lugo de Llanera - Oviedo
GJ-10 Interior ring road Gijón seaport (El Musel) - Pumarín - El Llano
GJ-20 Western ring road GJ-81 (Autopista Acceso Sur a Gijón) - Tremañes - Gijón seaport (El Musel)
GJ-8 South access road (A-8/A-66) - Plaza del Humedal
National road N-630 Gijón - Oviedo - Mieres - Puerto de Pajares - León - Zamora - Salamanca - Plasencia - Mérida - Almendralejo - Sevilla
N-632 Cenero - Cudillero - Muros del Nalón - Soto del Barco - Avilés - Gijón - Villaviciosa - Colunga - Caravia - Ribadesella
N-641 El Musel access Road Gijón - La Calzada - Gijón seaport (El Musel) .
Regional and local roads AS-19 Gijón-Avilés Road Gijón - El Empalme - Prendes - Tabaza - Avilés
AS-246 Carbonera Road Gijón - Alto de la Madera - Noreña - El Berrón - La Gargantada - Langreo
AS-247 Piles to Infanzón Road Gijón - Somió - Alto del Infanzón
AS-248 Gijón-Siero Road Gijón - Vega de Poja - Pola de Siero
AS-266 Oviedo-Gijón Road Oviedo - Lugones - Pruvia - Porceyo - Gijón
AS-19a Gijón-Avilés Road Puenteseco - Muniello

Government[edit]

Since the Spanish transition to democracy, PSOE governed continuously during 32 years, from 1979 to 2011.

Since 11 June 2011, the city mayor is Carmen Moriyón of Asturias Forum, who was supported with the votes of the Popular Party.

Councillors distribution in local elections[edit]

Political party 1979 1983 1987 1991 1995 1999 2003 2007 2011
PSOE 13 17 11 12 12 16 13 13 10
FAC 9
AP / PP 1 7 7 9 11 9 11 12 5
IU 4 3 3 3 4 2 3 2 3
UCD / CDS 9 6
UGJ 3

Mayors in democracy[edit]

Name Start End Party
José Manuel Palacio 1979 1987 PSOE
Vicente Álvarez Areces 1987 1999 PSOE
Paz Fernández Felgueroso 1999 2011 PSOE
Carmen Moriyón 2011 FAC

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Gijón is twinned with:

References[edit]

External links[edit]