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Gijón / Xixón [1]
Top:View of Santa Catalina Hills (Cerro de Santa Catalina), 2nd row:Revillagigedo Palace and Don Pelayo Statue (left), San Pedro Church (right), 3rd row:A office area in Munuza Street, 4th row:Cimadevilla area and San Juan Bautista, Bottom:Twilight view of El Musel Port
Top:View of Santa Catalina Hills (Cerro de Santa Catalina), 2nd row:Revillagigedo Palace and Don Pelayo Statue (left), San Pedro Church (right), 3rd row:A office area in Munuza Street, 4th row:Cimadevilla area and San Juan Bautista, Bottom:Twilight view of El Musel Port
Flag of Gijón
Coat of arms of Gijón
Coat of arms
Location of Gijón
Location of Gijón
Gijón is located in Spain
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
Judicial districtGijón
Founded5th century BC (Noega, the first settlement on record)
 • MayorCarmen Moriyón (FAC)
 • Total181.6 km2 (70.1 sq mi)
Elevation3 m (10 ft)
Highest elevation737 m (2,418 ft)
Lowest elevation0 m (0 ft)
Population (2017)
 • Total272,365
 • Density1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Demonym(s)gijonés, -esa (es)
xixonés, -esa (ast)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code33201–33212
Official language(s)Spanish
WebsiteOfficial website

Gijón (/hɪˈhɒn/, /hiˈhɔːn/ or /xiˈxɔːn/, Spanish: [xiˈxon]) or Xixón (Asturian: [ʃiˈʃoŋ]) is the largest city and municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. It is located on the Bay of Biscay, approximately 20 km (12 mi) north of Oviedo, the capital of Asturias.


Early medieval texts mention it as "Gigia", derived from the identical Greek and Latin term "gigias", meaning "giant", both of which refer to the Greek mythological giant Gigas. The medieval "Gigia" name, in turn, more specifically refers to the ancient Roman wall built on the peninsula of the Cimadevilla district of Gijón. This wall was called the "Gegionem" by the Romans and is itself a compound Latin term being either "geg-ionem", meaning "giant-ness/gigantic", "gegi-onem", meaning "concrete giant", or "gegio-nem" meaning "giant end". Presumably the use of the term meaning "giant" referred to either the pre-Germanic Astur peoples who inhabited the area being of large physical stature or simply the largeness of the wall itself.


Prehistory and Romanization[edit]

The first evidence of human presence in what is known nowadays as the municipality of Gijón is located in Monte Deva, where exists a series of tumulus, and in Monte Areo, where there are some neolithic dolmens. These dolmens were discovered in 1990 and were supposedly built around 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.

Middle Ages and Modern Era[edit]

Despite the Barbarian invasions leaving no trace, it seems the territory was submitted to the power of the Visigoth king Sisebut in the 7th century. From this moment there appears 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 become the first King of the Kingdom of Asturias.

Until 1270 there were no reliable references to Gijón as a settlement, 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 was again developed. A new dock was built in the port adding fishing and commerce to the area.

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, favouring 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 bourgeois and an urban development, opening new streets and squares, with new municipal equipments like water, garbage collection, lighting, and so on. 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.


Population of Gijón
YearPop.±% 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%
2014 275,735+0.17%
2015 276,473+0.27%
2016 276,001−0.17%
2017 272,365−1.32%
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 neighbourhoods 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.


Gijón has a temperate oceanic climate[2] 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 narrow temperature range is demonstrated by the record August temperature being only 6.4 °C warmer than the all-time record January temperature.[3] The climate is wet and cloudy by Spanish standards, but is indeed drier than other locations on the Atlantic in the country. Humidity is high year-round.

Summer temperatures are very consistent as proven by the fact that the all-time warmest month of August 1997 had an average temperature of 20.9 °C (69.6 °F) and no month has ever been recorded at an average high above 24.7 °C (76.5 °F) in comparison to the 23.2 °C (73.8 °F) August normal high.[4] Another clear underlining of the marine influence is that the coolest ever August has been as near the average as 17.9 °C (64.2 °F).[5]


Gijón is divided in six districts:[8] 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


Upper front view of the San Lorenzo Church
Revillagigedo Palace
Universidad Laboral de Gijón, as seen from the tower of the same university.

Museums and art galleries[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, Electronic 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]

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


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 La Liga, with AB Gijón Jovellanos competing in Liga ASOBAL, one of the most important leagues of team handball in the world. In women's sport, CP Gijón Solimar is one of the most important roller hockey teams in Europe as it is four times champion of the European Cup.

CSI Gijón is Spain's official show jumping horse show which is held annually in Gijón'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. Its handball section plays in the second division and its women's volleyball team plays also in the Spanish second league.

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 centres[edit]

The biggest sport centres 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. Games were played in town during the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

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


For much of the 20th century the town was heavily dependent on mature heavy industries, but at the end of the Francoism, 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.



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 - (Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick), Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Paris – Charles de Gaulle, Seville, Tenerife-South and Valencia. Operating companies are: Air France, Air Europa and Iberia.


The service offered by LD Lines has been cancelled in Gijón. The closest Ferry services are now in Santander and Bilbao. However, Gijón still has a good freight service by El Musel

Public transport[edit]

Gijón currently has 21 bus lines and four more lines that work on Fridays and Saturdays night, during the months of July and August.


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 – GijónLlanesTorrelavega – Solares – BilbaoSan Sebastián
A-66 Autovía Ruta de la Plata GijónOviedoMieresLeónBenaventeZamoraSalamancaBéjarPlasenciaMéridaAlmendralejoSevilla
AS-I Autovía Minera GijónPola de SieroLangreoMieres
AS-II Autovía Industrial GijónLugo de LlaneraOviedo
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 GijónOviedoMieres – Puerto de Pajares – LeónZamoraSalamancaPlasenciaMéridaAlmendralejoSevilla
N-632 CeneroCudilleroMuros del NalónSoto del BarcoAvilésGijónVillaviciosaColungaCaraviaRibadesella
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 – PrendesTabazaAvilés
AS-246 Carbonera Road Gijón – Alto de la Madera – NoreñaEl Berrón – La Gargantada – Langreo
AS-247 Piles to Infanzón Road GijónSomió – Alto del Infanzón
AS-248 Gijón-Siero Road GijónVega de PojaPola de Siero
AS-266 Oviedo-Gijón Road OviedoLugones – Pruvia – PorceyoGijón
AS-19a Gijón-Avilés Road Puenteseco – Muniello


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.

Councillors distribution in local elections[edit]

In bold, the councillors of the party that achieved the control of the city council.

Political party 1979 1983 1987 1991 1995 1999 2003 2007 2011 2015
PSOE 13 17 11 12 12 16 13 13 10 7
FAC 9 8
Xixón Sí Puede 6
AP / PP 1 7 7 9 11 9 11 12 5 3
IU 4 3 3 3 4 2 3 2 3 2
UCD / CDS 9 6
C's 1


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:


  1. ^ Decree 105/2006, of September 20th, which establishes the official toponyms of Gijón municipality.
  2. ^ "Gijon, Spain Climate Summary". Weatherbase. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Extreme values for Gijón". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Extreme Values: Gijón". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Extreme values: Gijón". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Valores Climatológicos Normales. Gijon".
  7. ^ "Météo climat stats - Gijón". Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  8. ^ Consejos de Distrito Gijón City Hall website

External links[edit]