The estuary is probably the main element of the history of Avilés. From its medieval times, when it was one of the most important ports of the Cantabrian coast with its salt monopoly with the Crown of Castilla, to the present time when in the mid-twentieth century Ensidesa was built on the right bank and where today is the main cultural reference of the city with the Oscar Niemeyer Center.
Before the arrival of Ensidesa (today ArcelorMittal) the estuary was a clean and unpolluted area, where fishing was abundant, but after its construction the land where it was located and the waters of the estuary were heavily polluted, so at the beginning of the 21st century the rehabilitation of the area was undertaken with the removal of part of the polluted soil and the recovery of 4 kilometers of the estuary banks.
This recovery began in 2003 with the intention of removing some 170,000 cubic meters of contaminated sludge. At the same time, the urbanization of the area closest to the center began, rehabilitating the area of the San Sebastián bridge and ending upstream at the Ensidesa hospital.
Currently the area is rehabilitated and is a space for the walk and enjoyment of both locals and tourists who visit us with different spaces in which to stop and observe.
Two are the most commonly used accesses to reach the promenade of the estuary, since between this and the city is the railway line of Renfe and Feve that hinders the passage (it has been pending in time its burial that I do not know if it will be done someday).
Through the Larrañaga pass. Accessing the intersection of the two parts of the estuary, to the left you have a walk of about one kilometer to the estuary where you can see the marina and the sculpture Avilés by Benjamín Menéndez commissioned by the Port Authority of Avilés. To the right you can walk to the Niemeyer Center over the wooden bridge or continue the path along the banks of the estuary that, upstream, reaches the Ensidesa hospital.
By the footbridge that crosses from the old fish square to the bridge of San Sebastian, a very good place to take a picture and have a panoramic view of both the Niemeyer Center and the entire estuary.
Throughout the estuary promenade there are different elements that you should stop to observe, which are as follows
SAN SEBASTIAN BRIDGE
The bridge was finally closed in 1992 due to its poor condition and lack of use and was replaced in 2006 by a similar one but with the artistic touch of Ramón Rodríguez, who gave it its characteristic coloring.
Built in the time of Felipe II, it was originally made of stone and served as a connection between Avilés and the neighboring municipality of Gozón.
It owes its name to a hermitage dedicated to this saint that was located on the right bank of the estuary.
Because of the narrow bridge it was decided to demolish it and replace it in 1893, a little above where the original one was, by a wider bridge, made of iron and that was widely used for the start-up works of the Ensidesa factories. A fragment of this bridge can be seen on the right bank of the estuary.
If you go towards the fish market, in what is now the Manuel Ponga promenade, you can see another prominent element in the panoramic views of the estuary, the sculpture Avilés. There are three large rust-colored cones made by Benjamín Menéndez.
PASEO DEL ACERO
If you go in the direction of the hospital going up the estuary, you can take a walk of about 3 kilometers along the estuary in an area where the land has been recovered and now there are planted cherry trees, willows or ash trees, where you can observe different species of birds such as ducks, cormorants and herons.
On both sides of the beginning of the promenade are placed monoliths where mention is made of the winners of the Colesterol DLH Bueno awards that are given every year by the cholesterol brotherhood.
Also along the left bank of the high riverbed of the promenade are located 7 works by local artists and some pieces from the steel mill.