SQUARES OF AVILÉS
All the squares of the city are located within the pedestrianized historic center, making it the ideal place to eat or have a drink and, if you come with children, to play without noise or fumes from cars. In some of these squares people were already trading more than 1000 years ago and nowadays most of the city’s recreational activity is concentrated in them.
CARLOS LOBO SQUARE
It is currently one of the squares where you can have a drink and where in summer concerts and various activities are held.
This square is the oldest and most important of medieval Aviles. Formerly called San Nicolás square, it was renamed in 1920 with the name of Carlos Lobo who was mayor of the town and who had a house in the square.
The square had to the north the wall that overlooked the port and through it all the goods that arrived by sea entered. There were also in the square the alfolíes, which were salt warehouses of vital importance in the trade of that medieval Avilés.
Nowadays the square is one of the main meeting places in Avilés and where you can have some cider or a snack in one of its terraces.
The Carbayo square is another place you can not miss if you come to visit Aviles.
This square is the nerve center of the seafaring neighborhood of Sabugo, a neighborhood of medieval origin that was located outside the walls of the town and separated from it by the salt water of the estuary and the fresh water of the river Tuluergo.
The name of the square comes from a large “Carbayo” (Asturian name for oak) that was planted in its center. Trees, the “carbayos”, very important in the neighborhood, because with their wood the fishing boats were made in the riverside shipyards that were in the area of the estuary.
You can also see in the neighborhood a bronze reproduction made in 1997 by Amado González Hevia ‘Favila’ of Eugenia Martínez Vallejo, who was a person of amusement of the court of Charles II and who was portrayed by the painter Juan Carreño de Miranda from Avilés.
The current square is one of the most important leisure areas of the city, with bars and terraces where you can have a drink or a snack quietly.
It has several bars and restaurants around its perimeter and is a good place to spend an afternoon with children.
It is located at the end of Galiana Street, in the upper part of the city where the pedestrian area ends.
It owes its name to the fact that the area was formerly occupied by a forest of Carbayos, Asturian name for oak. Trees that were gradually cut down for export and were also used for the construction of ships in the fishing district of Sabugo.
This square was also the site of the first cattle market held in Asturias at the end of the 18th century, of which a watering trough is preserved in the lower part of the park.
The park has a wooded area, a playground for children and a children’s play area:
- The typical Asturian horreo. That was the construction destined to keep and store the food far from the reach of the animals that could not climb for its pegollos.
- The statue “El Tratante”, work of the well-known sculptor Amado González Hevia, known as “Favila”, dedicated precisely to the old market.
- The Chapel of Jesús de Galiana.
SPAIN SQUARE (EL PARCHE)
It is the kilometer zero of Avilés and the starting point of some of the most important streets. In fact, from this square start 6 streets of very different eras: two medieval streets (streets La Fruta and La Ferrería), two baroque streets (streets Rivero and San Francisco and its extension in Galiana) and two modernist streets (streets La Cámara and Ruíz Pérez).
The square has been pedestrianized since the 90s, has a fairly large subway parking and a great atmosphere of people strolling or having a drink in its terraces and cafes.
It has its origin in the 17th century when the walled town was becoming too small, the population of the city was growing and there was no more space to build inside.
It was then decided to expand the city outside the walls to the south, since the sea was to the north. And this expansion begins precisely in this square.
Although the square has been given different names – Plaza de España, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de la Constitución – in Avilés it is popularly known as “El Parche”.
This name was given because in 1893 the city council decided to extend the existing paved area in front of the town hall so that the music band (which offered concerts on Sundays) and the people of Aviles would have a clean and mud-free area where they could be.
The problem is that this new floor was not laid in the whole square, only in a part of it, and that’s why people started to talk about the work as a patch, a name that would remain since then.
The square has a rectangular shape and inside it there are wooden galleries supported by eighty iron columns that were designed for winter strolls in the 19th century Avilés.
Currently it is another area where you can have a drink. As the area has arcades and is very sheltered, it is perfect for winter days.
Inside the square there is an enclosed area with local stores where you can buy fresh produce every day.
In November 1478 a catastrophe occurred in Aviles. A great fire swept away more than half of the houses in the walled city. To help in the recovery of the city, which was always on the side of the kings of the time, the Catholic Monarchs allowed the town of Aviles to have a free market of “alcabala” (free of taxes, more or less what was the tax of medieval times) every Monday.
We reach the 19th century and with it the modernization of the city. The marshes that divided the fishing district of Sabugo from the center of Avilés were drained and in this area the park of the pier and this square were built.
Although it has had several names, the official name is currently Plaza de los Hermanos Orbón in honor of two famous brothers in the city, one a musician and the other a writer. Even so, the most recognized name of the square in Avilés is the Abastos, because every Monday the famous Avilés market is held here, where you can buy almost anything, from slippers, plants or curtains for your home to freshly harvested garden produce from local farmers.
ÁLVAREZ ACEBAL SQUARE
It owes its present name to the teacher and mathematician Domingo Alvarez Acebal. Born in Avilés in 1846, he was an outstanding writer and teacher and was one of the founders of the school of Arts and Crafts of Avilés, which is based in this square in 1892.
In the square you can see the bust that was erected in his honor in 1923, also the date on which it was given its current name.
Its former name was Plaza de San Francisco, since the religious order of the Franciscans settled in this place outside the walls back in the thirteenth century.
With the expansion of Avilés outside the walls, part of the land that the friars used for vegetable gardens was occupied by streets and houses, which gave rise to the current square.