Gijón is one of the most notable cities that can be found in the autonomous community of Asturias. There was a time when it was a center of industry. However, Gijón is now making a transition towards tourism, education, and R&D. Something helped along by its status as the 15th most populous city in the whole of Spain.
- Gijón is old enough that the origin of its name has been lost to time. One line of speculation is that it comes from gigas, which is both a Greek word and a Latin word that means “giant.” This term might have referred to either the stature of the locals or the size of fortifications built in Roman times. Another line of speculation is that Gijón is a gradual evolution of the original Roman name of Session for the place.
- For a short time in the early 8th century, Gijón served as the center of the Muslim-controlled territories on the Cantabric Sea. This ended in 722 when a Hispano-Visigoth nobleman named Pelagius defeated an army of the Umayyad Caliphate. This is notable because it is regarded as the start of the Kingdom of Asturias and thus the start of the Reconquista.
- Starting at the end of the 19th century and continuing until the last decades of the 20th century, Gijón’s economy was dominated by the iron industry. Unfortunately, both the iron industry and the shipbuilding industry were hit hard in recent decades, with the result that the town is transitioning towards other economic sectors.
- In particular, local tourism has become notable. This was made possible by Gijón’s status as a cultural center of Asturias, as shown by the local festivals, museums, and other attractions.