CHURCHES OF AVILÉS
Despite the small size of the town there were numerous religious buildings. Within the medieval walls the churches of San Antonio, the chapel of the Wings and on the outskirts, the old church of Sabugo or the church of San Nicolas de Bari among others.
CHURCH OF THE FRANCISCAN FATHERS
Inside is the tomb of the most universal Avilesian, the founder of the first city of the United States, Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, born very close to the church.
It is the oldest preserved building of that medieval Avilés. Built between the XII and XIII centuries in Romanesque style, its main doorway stands out, partially restored, where you can still see some capitals with allegorical representations, being the most visible the first one on the right where Adam and Eve are represented in the biblical scene of the original sin.
The church, currently dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, is named after the Franciscan Fathers because this was the order that inhabited and directed the activity of the convent and the church from 1919 until 2013, the year in which the last monks of the order left the convent.
CHAPEL OF LOS ALAS
In 1991 the chapel was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) (BOPA, 14-XI-1994).
Located on the left side of the church of the Franciscan Fathers, it is the only Gothic monument in Avilés. Belonging to an important family of merchants, sailors and military men, it is mentioned for the first time in a will of 1346.
This family had a palace and defensive fortress on the site and only the aforementioned chapel has survived to the present day.
The building, with a square floor plan, has ashlar walls and the roof is its most distinctive element.
Access to the interior of the chapel is through a simple door supported by four columns under a coat of arms of the family lineage. In its interior there was an alabaster altarpiece and an image of the virgin now disappeared.
OLD CHURCH OF SABUGO
It was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2006.
It is one of the oldest and best preserved buildings in Avilés. Located in the center of the old fishing village, currently Carbayo square, it began to rise between the late twelfth and early thirteenth century.
Of initially Romanesque construction (visible in the columns of the portico and in the lateral door), it has details of the proto-Gothic style in its main front.
It is consecrated to the English saint Thomas of Canterbury, probably due to the influence of English sailors who arrived in the town, which proves the enormous importance of the port of Aviles at that time.
On the right side is the “mesa de los mareantes”, a stone bench that was a meeting place in medieval times for fishermen to plan their fishing campaigns.
On the left side would be located the cemetery of the neighborhood.
SAINT NICOLAS DE BARI CHURCH
After the disentailment of Mendizábal in 1836, the Franciscans abandoned the convent and it became the current parish of San Nicolás de Bari.
The Church of San Nicolás de Bari or San Francisco was built, for the most part, at the end of the 14th century as part of a monastery of the Franciscan order.
The building initially consisted of a single nave 40 meters long and 10 meters wide. In the 16th century, two more smaller naves were annexed to each side and a new sacristy was built. The construction of a cloister attached to the church also began at that time.
It has in its interior a Roman marble capital that serves as a baptismal font.
The chapel of Santo Cristo de Rivero and San Pedro dates back to the 17th century. It was reformed several times without transforming its structure, and its present appearance corresponds to the rebuilding carried out in 1891. Architecturally, the groin vault, the access through a semicircular arch and inside you can see the coat of arms of the Rodriguez de León family.
Located in the suburb of Rivero, on the way out of the Villa towards Oviedo and next to the famous fountain of the Caños de Rivero (1815), it is one of the most beautiful places in the city.
JESUSIN DE GALIANA CHAPEL
Legend has it that a ship docked in the port of Avilés carrying a sailor infested by the plague. The neighbors, horrified by the possibility of being infected, prayed to San Roque to free them from the plague. And since no one else in the city fell ill, in gratitude, they decided to build a chapel in honor of the saint.
The chapel, built in the 17th century, was not in good health, and although it was repaired several times, it ended up falling down. It was in 1892 when the last restoration was carried out and it is as we see it today and when the chapel became known as the chapel of Jesus de Galiana, although throughout the 18th century there are various references to the chapel as the chapel of the Nazarene.
NEW CHURCH OF SABUGO
Like the old church of Sabugo, it is consecrated to St. Thomas of Canterbury (although in the village it is known as St. Thomas of Cantorbery).
Located in the Plaza de La Merced, it was erected in 1903 on (and with) the stones of the old convent of La Merced, which was demolished in 1895.
At that time the local economy lived a time of prosperity, with some Indians who had made their fortune in America and a booming bourgeoisie with the industrial revolution started in Asturias in the past decades. There was, therefore, money, and as the Romanesque church of Sabugo was becoming too small for so many parishioners, it was decided to build a new church.
It is of neo-Gothic style and was designed by the architect Luis Bellido González (who also designed the basilica of Covadonga), with a Latin cross plan of 57 meters long and 22.5 meters wide and has two twin towers of 47 meters high.
Most of the altarpieces that decorate the interior are the work of the Asturian artist Félix Granda Buylla, who was also in charge of its restoration after the fire suffered by the church during the Civil War.
HERMITAGE OF LA LUZ
Located on the outskirts of the city on a hill above the neighborhood of La Luz, it owes its name to the Virgin of La Luz to whom it is dedicated. This is, along with San Agustín, the two patron saints of Avilés.
The present hermitage dates from the 18th century and was built over a much older one that belonged to the Palace of Lluera, which was located at its feet. Inside, the image of Mary giving birth, one of the few images in this situation, stands out.
Another great reason to visit the hermitage is the fantastic view of the city and the estuary of Avilés.