History of Avilés

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History of Avilés

Streets and buildings of the Old Town of Avilés (one of the most important in Northern Spain) have been declared a Historical and Artistic Conservation Site by the Spanish government. The city retains important vestiges of the past, some of which are very important.

In the Middle Ages (11th century) King Alfonso VI endowed Avilés with a Fuero (a type of charter) which meant valuable social and economic advantages. The Villa (a population center with some privileges distinguishing it from localities and villages), was fortified, and it began to develop significant business activity, which made it the second largest population center in Asturias. The strategic situation of its protected port , contributed significantly to this development, and for centuries it was the most important port in the region, and one of the most active in the Atlantic region in that era. Its commercial influence extended to the markets of the Castilian plateau.

In the 17th century, demographic growth made it necessary to build outside of the medieval citadel. The first building was the Municipal Palace (City Hall), and shortly thereafter Ferrera Palace and Llano Ponte Palace: all of this became the present-day Plaza de España (known as "El Parche" by the residents of Avilés), and Rivero Street and Galiana Street were born. This is known as the "baroque expansion".

At the end of the 19th century the city received a new impulse: "the middle-class expansion" which brought into existence – by drying the salt marshes - spaces such as Muelle Park, Market Square and also elegant buildings. At this time Avilés was one of the first cities of Northern Spain to take on modern characteristics: public streetlights, train, telephone, trams, etc.

In the middle of the 20th century, large metallurgical factories were erected in Avilés, which led to the fivefold increase in its population with the arrival of workers from many locations in Spain. This "industrial expansion" made it necessary to construct population centers at the city’s perimeter and also caused vertiginous growth of its urban center. But the majority of signs of its past survived this large-scale development.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 7:34 on Jun 19, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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