Gijón, Asturias, Spain

Etymology | History | Middle Ages and modern era | Contemporary history | Geography : Location | Economy | Transport : Air | Seaport | Transport : Public : Rail

🇪🇸 Gijón or Xixón is a city and municipality in north-western Spain. It is the largest city and municipality by population in the autonomous community of Asturias. It is located on the coast of the Cantabrian Sea in the Bay of Biscay, in the central-northern part of Asturias; it is approximately 24 km north-east of Oviedo, the capital of Asturias, and 26 km from Avilés. Gijón is the 15th largest city in Spain. Gijón forms part of a large metropolitan area that includes twenty councils in the centre of the region, structured with a dense network of roads, highways and railways, making it the seventh largest in Spain.

During the 20th century, Gijón developed as an industrial city in the steel and naval industries. In recent years Gijón has transformed into an important tourist, university, commercial and R&D centre. Gijón is the location of the Radiotelevisión del Principado de Asturias, the neighbourhood of Cimavilla, the Universidad Laboral de Gijón, the Revillagigedo Palace, and the adjoining Collegiate Church of San Juan Bautista.

Gijón is part of the statistical comarca of Gijón.

Etymology One theory based on some 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 would refer to the ancient Roman wall built on the peninsula of the Cimavilla neighbourhood 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.

The name of the city might also come from the hypothetical Roman actual name of the place "Sessio" which may have turned into the word "Xixón" as the centuries went by. Then the Spanish word "Gijón", which has been also written during the Middle age as "Jijón" or even "Jixón", would be a Castilianization of the Asturian name. This theory is nowadays known as the most acceptable.

History The first evidence of human presence in what is known nowadays as the municipality of Gijón is located on Monte Deva, where there exists a series of tumuli, and on 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 The invasions of barbarian tribes in the 5th and 6th centuries left no traces. The region submitted to the power of the Visigoth king Sisebut in the 7th century. This period marks the beginnings of Christianization, one of the first Christian worshipping places being the Roman villa of Veranes.

Gijón was capital of the Muslim territories on the Cantabric Sea, under the power of Munuza, for a short period between 713 and 718 or 722. In 722 the Asturians won the Battle of Covadonga which is regarded as the beginning of the Reconquista. The Asturian forces were 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 gave it the status of puebla. This documentation appears in the Monastery of San Vicente de Oviedo.

In the 14th century, the war between Alfonso Enríquez, Count of Gijón and Noreña and Henry III of Castile ended when the village of Gijón was burned and totally destroyed, practically disappearing. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Gijón reemerged. A new dock was built in the port adding fishing and commerce to the area. In the 17th and 18th centuries Gijón began to develop rapidly, growing out of the old city centre, supported by the commercial links between the port of Gijón and 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 recognised as the best one in Asturias, favoring the start of industrial activities in the town.

Contemporary history 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 contributed to the quick expansion of the port, since the intensity of the traffic overflowed the port. 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 town 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 neighborhoods 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.

Iron manufacture 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, along with the Luxembourg-based Arbed and the French company Usinor. The last decades of the century brought an industrial crisis affecting mainly iron manufacture and local shipbuilding. This brought new terrain for the creation of new beaches, parks and neighborhoods. It was also created a campus of the University of Oviedo.

Geography: Location The city is situated on the coast of central Asturias, from sea level to an altitude of 513 m (1,683 ft) at Picu Samartín and 672 m (2,205 ft) 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.

Economy 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.

Transport: Air Gijón is served by Asturias Airport, about 38 km (24 mi) from the centre of the city; it is located in the municipality of Castrillón. The airport is connected to the city by the A-8 motorway, the N-632 national highway and scheduled bus service (Alsa).

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

Transport: Public Gijón currently has 18 bus lines and four more Búho (owl) lines. The owl services work on Friday and Saturday nights, and daily in the months of July and August.

Transport: Rail The city is served by the Gijón Railway Station.

Oviedo, Principality of Asturias 
Oviedo, Principality of Asturias
Image: Photo by Kai Bossom on Unsplash

Gijón has a population of over 275,700 people. Gijón also forms the centre of the wider Gijón District which has a population of over 835,053 people. Gijón is the #355 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 2.1297 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores. Gijón is ranked #614 for startups with a score of 0.26.

To set up a UBI Lab for Gijón see: Twitter:

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Gijón has links with:

🇺🇸 Albuquerque, USA 🇨🇺 Havana, Cuba 🇫🇷 Niort, France 🇷🇺 Novorossiysk, Russia 🇲🇽 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 🇸🇻 Santa Tecla, El Salvador 🇪🇭 Smara, Western Sahara
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | Hipster Index | StartupBlink

Antipodal to Gijón is: 174.3,-43.533

Locations Near: Gijón -5.7,43.5333

🇪🇸 Avilés -5.921,43.559 d: 18  

🇪🇸 Oviedo -5.848,43.363 d: 22.4  

🇪🇸 León -5.572,42.597 d: 104.6  

🇪🇸 La Bañeza -5.9,42.283 d: 139.9  

🇪🇸 Ponferrada -6.75,42.667 d: 128.7  

🇪🇸 Torrelavega -4.049,43.351 d: 134.8  

🇪🇸 Santander -3.81,43.462 d: 152.7  

🇪🇸 Palencia -4.539,42.01 d: 194  

🇪🇸 Lugo -7.569,43.01 d: 162.2  

🇵🇹 Bragança -6.759,41.807 d: 210.6  

Antipodal to: Gijón 174.3,-43.533

🇳🇿 Christchurch 172.617,-43.517 d: 19879.4  

🇳🇿 Wellington 174.767,-41.283 d: 19762  

🇳🇿 Hutt 174.917,-41.217 d: 19752.6  

🇳🇿 Lower Hutt 174.917,-41.217 d: 19752.6  

🇳🇿 Porirua 174.84,-41.131 d: 19744.3  

🇳🇿 Richmond 173.183,-41.333 d: 19753.9  

🇳🇿 Nelson 173.284,-41.269 d: 19749.9  

🇳🇿 Upper Hutt 175.05,-41.133 d: 19741.2  

🇳🇿 Canterbury 171.58,-43.543 d: 19795.8  

🇳🇿 Masterton 175.664,-40.95 d: 19706.7  

Bing Map

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