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


Coat of arms

Location of Gijón

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)
  Mayor Carmen Moriyón (FAC)
  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 (2016)
  Total 276,473
  Density 1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Demonym(s) gijonés, -esa (es)
xixonés, -esa (ast)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 33201–33212
Official language(s) Spanish
Website Official 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. 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.


Prehistory and Romanization

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.

Middle Ages and Modern Era

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 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

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%
1999 265,491+0.25%
2000 267,980+0.94%
2001 267,426−0.21%
2002 269,270+0.69%
2003 270,211+0.35%
2004 270,875+0.25%
2005 271,039+0.06%
2006 273,931+1.07%
2007 274,472+0.20%
2008 274,037−0.16%
2009 275,699+0.61%
2010 277,554+0.67%
2011 277,198−0.13%
2012 277,559+0.13%
2013 277,733+0.06%
2014 275,274−0.89%
2015 275,735+0.17%
2016 276,473+0.27%
From 1999 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 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

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


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

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

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

National University of Distance Education (UNED)

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.
Some striped dolphins live near Gijón

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, Gijón Hockey Club is one of the most important rink hockey teams in Europe.

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.

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

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 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.


Gijón has a temperate oceanic climate[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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).[7]

Climate data for Gijón (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 23.6
Average high °C (°F) 13.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.9
Average low °C (°F) 4.7
Record low °C (°F) −4.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 94
Average 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[8]


Gijón 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.[9][10] 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,[11] the excessive pollution is a major concern for Asturias. 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.[12] 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.[13]



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 Berlin, Air France, Air Europa, Iberia or Iberworld.


Main article: El Musel

The service offered by LD Lines has been cancelled in Gijón. The closest Ferry services are now in Santander and Bilbao

Actually Gijón still having a good Freight service by El Musel

Public transport

Gijón currently has 21 bus lines, which are:

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


The city is served by the Gijón Railway Station.

Roads and highways

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 – Prendes – Tabaza – Avilés
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, who was supported with the votes of the Popular Party.

Councillors distribution in local elections

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

Twin towns/Sister cities

Gijón is twinned with:


  1. Decree 105/2006, of September 20th, which establishes the official toponyms of Gijón municipality.
  2. Consejos de Distrito Gijón City Hall website
  3. (English) Name of the "Instituto Asturiano" and other details taken from the Universal Pronouncing Gazetteer By Thomas Baldwin, Sixth Edition, (1847).
  4. "Gijon, Spain Climate Summary". Weatherbase. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  5. "Extreme values for Gijón". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  6. "Extreme Values: Gijón". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  7. "Extreme values: Gijón". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  8. "Valores Climatológicos Normales. Gijon".
  9. "Map: These will be the Europe's most polluted cities in 2030". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  10. "Modelling Street Level PM10 Concentrations Across Europe" (PDF). International Institute for Applied Science Systems. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  11. "Air – Environment". European Commission. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  12. "Healthy life expectancies in Spain 1986-2007" (PDF). Government of Spain: Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  13. "Air – Environment". European Commission. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Gijón.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gijón.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/22/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.