Asturias

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Principality of Asturias
Principado de Asturias (Spanish)
Principáu d'Asturies (Asturian)
Autonomous Community
Principado de Asturias
Flag of Asturias
Flag
Coat-of-arms of Asturias
Coat of arms
Anthem: Asturias, patria querida
Location of Asturias
Location of Asturias in Spain
Coordinates: 43°20′N 6°00′W / 43.333°N 6.000°W / 43.333; -6.000Coordinates: 43°20′N 6°00′W / 43.333°N 6.000°W / 43.333; -6.000
Country  Spain
Capital
Largest city
Oviedo
Gijón
Government
 • President Javier Fernández (PSOE)
Area(2.1% of Spain; Ranked 10th)
 • Total 10,604 km2 (4,094 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 1,061,756
 • Density 100/km2 (260/sq mi)
 • Pop. rank 13th
 • Percent 2.4% of Spain
Demonym Asturian
asturiano, -na (es)
asturianu, -na (as)
ISO 3166-2 O
Official languages Castilian (Asturian has special status)
Statute of Autonomy January 11, 1982
Parliament General Junta (45 deputies)
Congress seats 8 (of 350)
Senate seats 6 (of 264)
Website Gobierno del Principado de Asturias

Asturias (English /ɑːˈstʊəriəsˌ ə-/; Spanish: [asˈtuɾjas]; Asturian: Asturies [asˈtuɾjes]), officially the Principality of Asturias (Spanish: Principado de Asturias; Asturian: Principáu d'Asturies), is an autonomous community in north-west Spain. It is coextensive with the province of Asturias, and contains some of the territory that was part of the larger Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages. Divided into eight comarcas (counties), the autonomous community of Asturias is bordered by Cantabria to the east, by Castile and León to the south, by Galicia to the west, and by the Bay of Biscay to the north.

The most important cities are the communal capital, Oviedo (Uviéu or Uvieo), the seaport and largest city Gijón (Xixón), and the industrial town of Avilés. Other municipalities in Asturias include Cangas de Onís (Cangues d'Onís), Cangas del Narcea, Gozón, Grado (Grau or Grao), Langreo (Llangréu), Llanera, Laviana (Llaviana), Lena (Ḷḷena), Llanes, Mieres, Siero, Valdés, Vegadeo (A Veiga) and Villaviciosa (see also List of municipalities and comarcas in Asturias).

Asturias is also home to the Prince of Asturias Awards.

History[edit]

Roman thermaes in Gijón, Asturias

Asturias has been inhabited, first by Homo erectus, then by Neanderthals and finally by modern humans,[citation needed] since the Lower Paleolithic era, and during the Upper Paleolithic was characterized by cave paintings in the eastern part of the area. In the Mesolithic period, a native culture developed, that of the Asturiense, and later, with the introduction of the Bronze Age, megaliths and tumuli were constructed. In the Iron Age, the territory came under the cultural influence of the Celts; the local Celtic peoples, known as the Astures, were composed of tribes such as the Luggones, the Pesicos, and others, who populated the entire area with castros (fortified hill-towns). Today the Astur Celtic influence persists in place names, such as those of rivers and mountains.

Santa María del Naranco, ancient palace of Asturian Kings, 842 AD

With the conquest of Asturias by the Romans under Augustus (29–19 BC), the region entered into the annals of history. After several centuries without foreign presence, the Suebi and Visigoths occupied the land from the 6th century AD to the beginning of the 8th century, ending with the Moorish invasion of Spain. However, as it had been for the Romans and Visigoths, the Moors did not find mountainous territory easy to conquer, and the lands along Spain's northern coast never fully became part of Islamic Spain. Rather, with the beginning of the Moorish conquest in the 8th century, this region became a refuge for Christian nobles, and in 722, a de facto independent kingdom was established, the Regnum Asturorum, which was to become the cradle of the incipient Reconquista (Reconquest).

In the 10th century, the Kingdom of Asturias gave way to the Kingdom of León, and during the Middle Ages the geographic isolation of the territory made historical references scarce. Through the rebellion of Henry II of Castile in the 14th century, the Principality of Asturias was established. The most famous proponents of independence were Gonzalo Peláez and Queen Urraca, who, while achieving significant victories, were ultimately defeated by Castilian troops. After its integration into the Kingdom of Spain, Asturias provided the Spanish court with high-ranking aristocrats and played an important role in the colonization of America. Since 1388, the heir to the Castilian (later Spanish) throne has been styled Prince of Asturias. In the 16th century, the population reached 100,000 for the first time, and within another century that number would double due to the arrival of American corn.

Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos

During the 18th century, Asturias was one of the centres of the Spanish Enlightenment. The renowned Galician thinker Benito de Feijóo settled in the Benedictine Monastery of San Vicente de Oviedo. Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, a polymath and prominent reformer and politician of the late 18th century, was born in the seaside town of Gijón.

The Industrial Revolution came to Asturias after 1830 with the discovery and systematic exploitation of coal mines and iron factories at the mining basins of Nalón and Caudal, that turned Asturias into an industrial region. At the same time, there was significant migration to America (especially Argentina, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico); those who succeeded overseas often returned to their native land much wealthier. These entrepreneurs were known collectively as 'Indianos', for having visited and made their fortunes in the West Indies and beyond. The heritage of these wealthy families can still be seen in Asturias today: many large 'modernista' villas are dotted across the region, as well as cultural institutions such as free schools and public libraries.

Near East in 800 AD, showing the location of Asturias and its neighbors

Asturias played an important part in the events that led up to the Spanish Civil War. In October 1934 the Asturian miners and other workers staged an armed uprising (see Revolution of Asturias) to oppose the coming to power of the right-wing CEDA party, which had obtained three ministerial posts in the centralist government of the Second Spanish Republic. For a month, a Popular Front Committee exercised control in southern Asturias, while local workers committees sprang up elsewhere in the region. A war committee dominated by anarcho-syndicalist supporters took power in Oviedo . Troops under the command of a then unknown general named Francisco Franco Bahamonde were brought from Spanish Morocco to suppress the revolt. Franco applied tactics normally reserved for overseas colonies, using troops of the Spanish Legion and Moroccan troops: ferocious oppression followed.

As a result, Asturias remained loyal to the republican government during the Spanish Civil War, and was the scene of an extraordinary defence in extreme terrain, the Battle of El Mazuco. With Franco eventually gaining control of all Spain, Asturias — traditionally linked to the Spanish Crown — was known merely as the "Province of Oviedo" from 1939 until Franco's death in 1975. The province's name was restored fully after the return of democracy to Spain, in 1977. In the 50s and 60s the industrial progress of Asturias continued with the constitution of national enterprises like Ensidesa and Hunosa, but the 80s was the decade of a dramatic industrial restructuring.

On December 30, 1981,[1] Asturias became an autonomous community within the decentralized territorial structure established by the Constitution of 1978. Rafael Luis Fernández Álvarez, who had previously served as the President of the Regional Council since 1978, became the first President of the Principality of Asturias, upon the adoption of autonomy.[1] The Asturian regional government holds comprehensive competencies in important areas such as health, education and protection of the environment. As of May 2011, the President of the Government of Asturias was Francisco Álvarez-Cascos, of the Foro Asturias (FAC), succeeded by Javier Fernández in 2012.

Administrative and territorial division[edit]

Typical buildings in Avilés

Asturias is organised territorially into municipalities, further subdivided into parishes.

Municipalities of Asturias[edit]

There are at present 78 municipalities in Asturias.

Ranking Municipality Population[2]
1 Escudo de Gijón.svg Gijón 275,735
2 Escudo de Oviedo.svg Oviedo 223,765
3 Aviles coat of arms.svg Avilés 81,659
4 Siero coat of arms.svg Siero 52,380
5 Escudu Llangreu.svg Langreo 42,403
6 Mieres coat of arms.svg Mieres 41,013
7 Escudo de Castrillón.svg Castrillón 22,816
8 Escudo de San Martín del Rey aurelio.gif San Martín del Rey Aurelio 17,460
9 Corvera coat of arms.svg Corvera de Asturias 16,153
10 Escudo de Villaviciosa.svg Villaviciosa de Asturias 14,820

Parishes[edit]

Main article: Parroquia (Spain)

The parroquia or parish is the subdivision of the Asturian municipalities. Currently, there are 857 parishes integrating the 78 municipalities in the region, and they usually coincide with the ecclesiastic divisions.

Geography and climate[edit]

Picos de Europa

The Cantabrian Mountains (Cordillera Cantábrica) form Asturias's natural border with the province of León to the south. In the eastern range, the Picos de Europa National Park contains the highest and arguably most spectacular mountains, rising to 2,648 metres (8,688 ft) at the Torrecerredo peak. Other notable features of this predominantly limestone range are the Parque Natural de Redes in the central east, the central Ubiñas south of Oviedo, and the Parque Natural de Somiedo in the west. The Cantabrian mountains offer opportunities for activities such as climbing, walking, skiing and caving, and extend some 200 kilometres (120 mi) in total, as far as Galicia province to the west of Asturias and Cantabria province to the east.

The Asturian coastline is extensive, with hundreds of beaches, coves and natural sea caves. Notable examples include the Playa del Silencio (Beach of Silence) near the fishing village of Cudillero (west of Gijón), as well as the many beaches surrounding the summer resort of Llanes, such as the Barro, Ballota and Torimbia (the latter a predominantly nudist beach). Most of Asturias's beaches are sandy, clean, and bordered by steep cliffs, on top of which it is not unusual to see grazing livestock.

Torimbia beach, Llanes

The key features of Asturian geography are its rugged coastal cliffs and the mountainous interior. The climate of Asturias, as with the rest of northwest Spain, is more varied than that of southern parts of the country. Summers are generally humid and warm with considerable sunshine but also some rain. Winters are cold with some very cold snaps. The cold is especially felt in the mountains, where snow is present from October till May. Both rain and snow are regular weather features of Asturian winters. In coastal or near-coastal areas, daytime high temperatures generally average around 12 °C (54 °F) – 13 °C (55 °F) during winter and 22 °C (72 °F) – 23 °C (73 °F) in summer.[3]

Pollution[edit]

The Gijón area was marked and singled out as one of the pollution hotspots in Western Europe in a 2015 report from the International Institute for Applied Science Systems, where predicitions for 2030 conditions were made.[4][5] The Gijón and Oviedo region was marked much higher than any other Spanish metro area, this in spite of the much larger population in Madrid and Barcelona for example. This was attributed to heavy industrial activities. Since outdoor air pollution is a major cause of premature death in Europe,[6] the excessive pollution is a major concern for Asturias. The majority of Asturias population live within a 25 kilometres (16 mi) range from the port of Gijón, so pollution would be likely to heavily affect the population. A Spanish government study conducted in 2010 regarding life expectancy in relative communities Asturias was ranked lowest (tied with Andalucia) for male life expectancy with 76.7 years from 2007 readings.[7] However, female life expectancy was 84 years and normal among autonomous communities. However, even the male life expectancy is only just below Western European standards, and exaggerated by the high Spanish life expectancy rate. Considering a vast majority of the Asturian population lives in proximity to the Gijón heavy industrial activities, these figures for especially female relative health still contributes to a position that Gijón is still a safe location to live. The numbers for "disability-free" life expectancy has risen significantly both for males and females in the area since 1986 according to the report.[6]

An update: the coal fired electric generating plant Aboño just completed a Spanish government/EU demand to install equipment to drastically reduce its emssions. Also, the two other major polluters Arcelor Gijón and Arcelor Avilés have announced an investment of 100 million euros to do the same. These have been the major cause of the areas high airborne pollution.

Demographics[edit]

In 2008, Asturias had a total fertility rate of 1.07, the lowest in the European Union.[8]

Languages[edit]

Language map of Asturias

The only official language in Asturias is Spanish. The Asturian language, also known as Bable, is also spoken, and is protected by law (Ley 1/1998, de 23 de marzo, de uso y promoción del bable/asturiano — "Law 1/1998, of March 23, of Use and Promotion of Bable/Asturian"). It is sometimes used by the Asturian civil service. In the western part of Asturias, Eonavian is also spoken, and its promotion also falls under the responsibility of Law 1/1998. Whether Eonavian is a dialect continuum or a variety of Galician language, however, is a subject of debate, and its use in the Asturian Administration is minor compared to the use of the Asturian language. Within Asturias, there is an ongoing process to establish place names in Asturian and Eonavian dialects.

Politics[edit]

The organization and political structure of Asturias is governed by the Statute of Autonomy of Asturias, in force since January 30 of 1982. According to the Statute, the institutional bodies of the Principality of Asturias are three: Government of the Principality of Asturias, the Council of the Principality of Asturias and President of the Principality of Asturias. The form of government of the Principality is Parliament: The General Junta is the legislature to choose, on behalf of the Asturian town, the President of the Principality of Asturias. The President is the Governing Council, the head of Executive power, and politically answerable to the General Junta.

The functions of the General Junta are the approval of budgets, and the direction and control of the action of the Governing Council. It is composed of 45 deputies, elected for four years through theuniversal suffrage within a system proportional representation that the allocation of deputies is based on D'Hondt method.

The results of the elections to the General Junta are:

Regional elections
Party 1983 1987 1991 1995 1999 2003 2007 2011 2012 2015h
FSA-PSOE 26 20 21 17 24 22 21 15 17 14
PP 14a 13a 15 21 15 19 20 10 10 11
Podemos 9
IU-IX 5b 4 6 6 3 4d 4e 4g 5 5
FAC 16 12 3
C's 3
CDS 0 8 2 0
PAS 0 1c 1 0 0 0 f 0 f
URAS 3 0 0 0
UPyD 0 1 0
Total 45 45 45 45 45 45 45 45 45 45

Culture[edit]

Architecture[edit]

Asturias has a rich artistic legacy that emphasizes indigenous architecture Romanesque (Asturias Arts) with monuments like Santa María del Naranco, Santa Cristina de Lena and San Miguel de Lillo of Ramirense Romanesque style (due to Ramiro I) or San Julián de los Prados, known as Santullano (Oviedo) of Alfonsino pre-Romanesque style (due to Alfonso II), all in Oviedo. In Villaviciosa the church there San Salvador de Valdediós (commonly known by the Asturians as "Conventín") and the church of San Salvador de Priesca. In Cabranes highlights San Julian de Viñón.

The Romanesque is very present since all Asturias was crossed by one of the Camino de Santiago, highlighting the Monastery of San Pedro de Villanueva (about Cangas de Onis), the churches of San Esteban de Aramil (Siero) San Juan de Amandi (Villaviciosa) and Santa María de Junco (Ribadesella).

The Gothic is not abundant, but there are good examples of this style as the Cathedral of San Salvador in Oviedo.

Is more present the Baroque by means of palace architecture, with such notable examples as the Palace of Camposagrado and Velarde - the latter seat of Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias. Of Baroque style stands out in public civil engineering and bridge toll (Olloniego); the milestones, chairs or couches present along the road to Madrid and the resort of Caldas de Priorio (Oviedo) building.

In 1985, the UNESCO declared the pre-Romanesque monuments and the Cathedral of Oviedo as World Heritage Sites.

As popular architecture, barns in Asturias, called hórreos, are known for its demographic extension and its functional evolution, having like basic characteristic its demountability, it can be easily transported to another location. The Panera it is the evolution of this, giving examples exceeding 100 square meters of covered area. The purpose of the barn is the barn and dependence to store objects. With the arrival of maize and the beans they were endowed exterior corridors and railings for "cured" of the harvests.

Asturias is the only architectural work of the Brazilian architect and disciple of Le Corbusier Oscar Niemeyer in Spain (the largest in Europe): the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre. This project was donated to the Principality by the architect, who was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, as the way of participating in the XXV Anniversary of these prizes. Niemeyer projected an open space, a place for education, culture and peace in the Niemeyer Center project combine different elements.

In the capital of the Principality stands one of the most representative buildings of modern architecture, the Palace of Congresses of Oviedo, the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, prized also with the Prince of Asturias of Arts in 1999.

Special importance has in recent years the recovery of industrial heritage through various routes and industrial museums theme especially in the central area of the Region.

Food and drink[edit]

Main article: Asturian cuisine
Fabada asturiana and sidra (cider), a typical dish of Asturias

While Asturias is especially known for its seafood, the most famous regional dish is fabada asturiana, a rich stew typically made with large white beans (fabes), shoulder of pork (lacón), black sausage (morcilla), and spicy sausage (chorizo).

Apple groves foster the production of the region's traditional alcoholic drink, a natural cider (sidra). Since it is natural and bottled without gas, when Asturian cider is served, it is poured in a particular way, el escanciado: the bottle is held above the head allowing for a long vertical pour, causing the cider to be aerated when it splashes into the glass below. After drinking most of the content, it is customary to splash a little out onto the ground, as a way to clean the glass of any lees for the next serving. Traditionally, the same glass is refilled and passed around, with everyone drinking from it in turn.

Asturian cheeses, especially Cabrales, are also famous throughout Spain and beyond; Asturias is often called "the land of cheeses" (el país de los quesos).

Sport[edit]

Asturias has two main football teams: Sporting de Gijón and Real Oviedo, which have played over 35 seasons in First Division. Other current notable sports teams are Oviedo CB (basketball) and AB Gijón Jovellanos (handball).

Racecar driver Fernando Alonso is a two-time Formula One world champion and races with Asturias' flag colours as helmet. Also, cyclist Samuel Sánchez won a gold at the Olympic games. Football players from Asturias include World Cup winner David Villa as well as Quini, Luis Enrique, Juan Manuel Mata, Santiago Cazorla among others.

Photography[edit]

One of the main museums with Asturian old photography is the Museum of the Asturian People to Gijón.

The leading photographers of the 19th-20th century in Asturias are:

  • Feliciano Campos Pardo (1876 - c 1930.)
  • José Fernández Cuétara (1878 - 1928)
  • Ramón del Fresno (1834 - 1899). From 1889 Ramón del Fresno and children
  • Fernando del Fresno (1848 - 1929)
  • Florentino Iglesias Fernandez "Frank" (1887 - 1970)
  • Ramón García Duarte (1862 - 1937)
  • Jean David, French photographer active in Asturias in 1881-1905
  • Marceliano Cuesta (1840 - 1903)
  • Luis Muñiz Miranda (1850 - 1927)
  • Modesto Montoto (1875 - 1950)
  • Baltasar Cué

The featured photographers of the 20th century are:

  • Javier Bauluz (1960) (Pulitzer Prize in 1995).
  • José Ferrero (1959)

Literature[edit]

These are some personalities of Asturian Literature:

Economy[edit]

Asturian sheep on Picos de Europa
El Musel, the Port of Gijón

For centuries, the backbone of the Asturian economy was agriculture and fishing. Milk production and its derivatives was also traditional, but its big development was a byproduct of the economic expansion of the late 1960s. Nowadays, products from the dairy cooperative Central Lechera Asturiana are being commercialised all over Spain.

The main regional industry in modern times, however, was coal mining and steel production: in the times of Francisco Franco's dictatorship, it was the centre of Spain's steel industry. The then state-owned ENSIDESA steel company is now part of the privatised Aceralia, now part of the ArcelorMittal Group. The industry created many jobs, which resulted in significant migration from other regions in Spain, mainly Extremadura, Andalusia and Castile and León.

The steel industry is now in decline when measured in terms of number of jobs provided, as is the mining. The reasons for the latter are mainly the high costs of production to extract the coal compared to other regions. Regional economic growth is below the broader Spanish rate, though in recent years growth in service industries has helped reduce Asturias's high rate of unemployment. Large out-of-town retail parks have opened near the region's largest cities (Gijón and Oviedo), whilst the ever-present Spanish construction industry appears to continue to thrive.

Asturias has benefited extensively since 1986 from European Union investment in roads and other essential infrastructure, though there has also been some controversy regarding how these funds are spent, for example, on miners' pensions.

As of 2008, the GDP (PPP) per capita of Asturias stood at €22.640, or 90.2% of the European average of €25.100. This makes the region the 12th richest in Spain, a big decrease from the 1970s/1980s - the heyday of the Spanish mining industry, when Asturias was commonly regarded as one of the most prosperous regions in Southern Europe. Indeed Asturias has been growing below the Spanish national average since the decline of the mining industry, and grew just 0.82% in 2008, the lowest of all regions in Spain. On the plus side, unemployment in Asturias is below the average of Spain; at 8.43% it is also below the European average.

Main sights[edit]

The village of Cudillero
The Roman Bridge of Cangas de Onís

Major attractions[edit]

Oviedo, the capital city of Asturias: a clean, picturesque city with a diverse architectural heritage. Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo, a pre-Romanesque church and a palace respectively, which were built by the first Asturian kings on Mount Naranco, to the north of the city (World Heritage Site). In modern architecture, the Palacio de Congresos de Oviedo (or Modoo), designed by Santiago Calatrava.

Gijon, the biggest city of Asturias, is a coastal city famous for cultural and sports events and there is a beach tourism centre in northern Spain. It also is famous for the traditional Asturian gastronomy and for being an important Asturian's cider production spot. There are many museums and places to visit in the city. It is also important to mention the Universidad Laboral de Gijón, including a modern art museum, theatre, etc.

Avilés, the third largest city in Asturias, is now becoming an essential touristic spot in the principality. "La villa del adelantado"(as locals usually call it, in reference of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés) is a meeting point where present and past meet. This is most notably clear once we go through the streets in the old quarter of the city. "Saint Nicholas of Bari" or "Capilla de los Alas" in Romanesque and Romanesque-Gothic style, respectively; Palacio de Balsera, in Modernist style or St. Thomas of Canterbury church (dating from the 13th century) are just a few examples which clearly show the magnificent historical patrimony to be found in the city. On the other hand, the Centro Niemeyer, designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, is one of the examples of modern architecture in Asturias.

The Picos de Europa National Park, and other parts of the Asturian mountain range: The most famous mountain in the park is the Picu Urriellu (2519 m or 8262 ft), also known as El Naranjo de Bulnes, a molar-shaped peak which, reputedly, glows orange in the evening sun, hence its name. Weather permitting, it can be viewed clearly from Camarmeña village, near Poncebos, south of Arenas de Cabrales.

The shrine to the Virgin of Covadonga and the mountain lakes (Los Lagos), near Cangas de Onís: Legend has it that in the 8th century, the Virgin blessed Asturian Christian forces with a well-timed signal to attack Spain's Moorish conquerors, thereby taking the invaders by surprise in the Battle of Covadonga. The Reconquista and eventual unification of all Spain is therefore said to have started in this very location.

The paleolithic art in many caves of Asturias is declareted World Heritage Site with the Paleolithic Art of Northern Spain

Asturias has an excellent industrial heritage as a consequence of its great industrial activities in the 19th and 20th centuries. It had metallurgical and chemical factories, mines, bridges and railways, specially in the towns of Langreo, Mieres and Avilés.

The Asturian coast: especially the beaches in and around the summer resort of Llanes, the Playa del Silencio near Cudillero fishing village, or the "white" village of Luarca (Severo Ochoa hometown).

Other places of interest[edit]

Somiedo Lake
  • Ceceda village: east of Oviedo along the N634 road. Of particular interest in this exemplary settlement are the traditional horreo grain silos, raised on stilts so as to keep field mice from getting at the grain.
  • The Dobra River: south of Cangas de Onís, famous for its unusual colour and natural beauty.
  • The senda costera (coastal way) between Pendueles and Llanes: This partly paved nature route takes in some of Asturias' most spectacular coastal scenery, such as the noisy bufones (blowholes) and the Playa de Ballota.
  • The unusual rock formation on the beach at Buelna village: east of Llanes. Best viewed at low tide.

Transportation[edit]

Asturias International Airport

Air[edit]

Asturias is served by Asturias International Airport (OVD), 40 kilometres from Oviedo, near the northwest coast and the industrial town of Avilés.

  • International carriers
    • Air France
    • A UK-based international carrier, EasyJet, began daily flights to Asturias airport in March 2005, it operates to Stansted Airport, which the airline uses as a major hub. During the winter period, EasyJet usually reduces flying frequency to four flights per week.
    • A German-based carrier, Air Berlin, began flights to Asturias airport in November 2006, it operates to Mallorca which the airline uses as a major hub.
  • Several national carriers also link Asturias to Madrid and Barcelona, Brussels, Paris, Seville and others.

Eastern Asturias is also easily accessible from Santander Airport. Recent improvements introduced in the road network permit flying into Santander and later driving into Asturias, which can be entered in less than an hour's drive. The Irish airline Ryanair operates flights to Santander Airport from Frankfurt Hahn, Liverpool, Dublin, Edinburgh, London Stansted and Rome Ciampino.

Sea[edit]

El Musel (the Port of Gijón) is able to receive cruise ships of any size. Companies as P&O, Swan Hellenic or Hapag Lloyd choose the Port of Gijón every year for their calls in the Atlantic European Coast. The following areas are available for cruise vessels:

  • Moliner quay: 313 m berthing with 14 m draught.
  • 7ª Alignment: 326 m with 12 m draught.
  • Espigón II. South alignment. 360 m berth with 9 m draught.

These locations allow a high degree of access control, with security guaranteed for both vessels and passengers alike. The city centre is only 4 km away and the Port Authority provides dedicated coach connection allowing passengers to take advantage of the cultural, gastronomic and commercial opportunities that Gijón has to offer.

Since 2010, the city of Gijón is connected by ferry with the French city of Nantes.[9] This connection is also known as the "sea highway" and it has a frequency of two ferries per day in both directions.

Train[edit]

Oviedo Train Station

Spain's national RENFE rail network also serves Asturias well; trains regularly depart to and from the Spanish interior. Major stops are the regional capital, Oviedo, and the main coastal city, Gijón. Meanwhile, the FEVE rail company links the centre of the region with Eastern and Western Asturias. Under the Cantabrian Mountains, the Pajares Base Tunnel, is currently under construction, and will reduce the journey times from Madrid to Asturias from 5 hours to just 3 hours, paving the way for the arrival of AVE trains in the near future.

Bus[edit]

There is also a comprehensive bus service run by the ALSA company. It links Avilés, Gijón, Oviedo and Mieres with Madrid and other major towns, several times a day. These include services to Barcelona, Salamanca, León, Valladolid, A Coruña, Bilbao, Seville, San Sebastián, Paris, Brussels and Nice, to name just a few.

Music[edit]

Valgrande-Pajares ski resort

The music of Asturias is varied. The most characteristic instrument in traditional music is the Asturian bagpipe, or gaita, which has a single drone in common with the traditional bagpipes of other Celtic nations such as Wales & Ireland.[10][11] The bagpipe is often accompanied by hand drum, whistles and accordion. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional folk music, and several music ensembles have gained regional and international recognition for their ethnomusicological study and presentation of indigenous Asturian music. Notable examples include traditional pipers such as Xuacu Amieva and Tejedor and fusionist José Ángel Hevia (whose Busindre Reel music video provides views of both the gaita and the Asturian landscape), and the groups Llan de Cubel, Xera, Nuberu and Felpeyu.[12][13][14] Additionally, numerous rock, ska and heavy metal groups have also found relative success within Asturias, many of which incorporate elements of traditional Asturian music into their sound.[15]

Anthem[edit]

The Asturian anthem Asturias, patria querida (Asturias, beloved fatherland) was a popular song adopted as the region's anthem and formalised by Ley 1/1984, de 27 de Abríl.

Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias[edit]

The Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias is the premier orchestra of the Principality of Asturias.[16] It is based in the Auditorio Principe Felipe in Oviedo, but also performs in the main concert venues in Gijón and Avilés. Rossen Milanov is the Music Director.[17]

Other[edit]

Asturias is also the name of the fifth movement of the Suite Española, Op. 47 by Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz. Nevertheless, the music has little in common with the region's own folklore. More authentic is Rimsky Korsakov's Spanish Capriccio, which quotes liberally from Asturian musical heritage.

Famous citizens[edit]

Queen Letizia, current Queen consort of Spain
Fernando Alonso
See also: Asturians

Famous events[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Fallece Rafael Fernández". La Voz de Asturias. 2010-12-18. Retrieved 2011-01-08. 
  2. ^ "Updating INE 22 December 2014". Ine.es. 
  3. ^ "Standard climate values for Oviedo". Agencia Estatal de Meteorología. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Map: These will be the Europe's most polluted cities in 2030". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Modelling Street Level PM10 Concentrations Across Europe" (PDF). International Institute for Applied Science Systems. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Air - Environment". European Commission. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Healthy life expectancies in Spain 1986-2007" (PDF). Government of Spain: Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Fertility rate, by NUTS2 regions number of live births per woman — Eurostat
  9. ^ Inaugurada en Gijón la primera autopista del mar española; La Nueva España, 16 September 2010
  10. ^ "Practical guide to making pibgyrn by Gerard KilBride". Pibgyrn.com. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  11. ^ Sergio y Pablo Arce. "La Gaita Asturiana". Asturies.com. Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  12. ^ "FolkWorld Article: Llan de Cubel". Folkworld.de. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  13. ^ cranky crow (2003-09-14). "Celtic music of Spain". World Music Central. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  14. ^ "CITYFOLK MONTHLY - June 2006". Cityfolk.org. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  15. ^ "Asturshop". Asturshop. Archived from the original on 14 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  16. ^ Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ "lkml extract". lkml. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  19. ^ "L'Academia de la Llingua Asturiana". A.Ll.A. Archived from the original on 17 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bowen-Jones, H. and W.B. Fisher. Spain: An Introductory Geography. New York: Praeger, 1966.
  • Dresner, Denise, ed. Guide to the World. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1998. S.v. "Asturias"
  • Encyclopedia Americana. Danbury: Grolier, 2002. S.v. "Asturias"
  • Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1997. S.v. "Asturias"

External links[edit]