Port of Vega, a wonderful place

A labyrinth of sea and culture

vídeo sobre Port of Vega, a wonderful place

The citizens of Port of Vega love their town. They are around 2.000 people living here during the whole year and are also in charge of keeping their history and culture. In Port of Vega one breathes nineteenth century romanticism difficult to find in any other village of Asturias.

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Our first impression when we come to Port of Vega is always good. It is only at 7,5 kilometres of distance from the capital, Navia. All its houses are whiter than usual. The corners and labyrinths which form its streets and roads would be in other places dark and sad but here, they are light and clean, so one can walk and enjoy them as in any other place. Here, we can visit the Park of “Benigno Blanco” full of trees, the hundred year old Square of Cupido, that has two important houses, one is called “Plaza” and the other “Columnas”. There is also a casino of 500 square metres, latin American houses, the church of Santa Maria (with many jewellery in the inside) which is also known as the Cathedral of rural Baroque style.

Just behind the faces of the buildings live sociable and charming people. It is not a coincidence that many learned people had been born here, for this reason, there are many cultural centres. This citizenship was awarded the title “Example town of Asturias” which is given each year by the Prince Felipe and, Port of Vega received it in 1995. Three years later, in 1998, it was also chosen the most beautiful town in Asturias. Those rewards have come to prove that this town is probably one of the nicest in this region.

This is not also a coincidence that Gaspar Melchor of Jovellanos died in Port of Vega in 1811. This town gave him shelter when he was running away from the French. On the face of the building, in which he died, we find a shield with two distinctive badges dedicated to this learned man. Also in the church of Santa Maria it is exposed an insignia which remember us that Jovellanos was buried here for three years before being moved to Gijón, his home town. The Cultural Town Hall “Prince Felipe” houses the Public Library “Jovellanos”. This person left a deep trace in this learned town, and for that, a street and a monument receive his name.

The local economy is basically focused on the sea, fishing and the industry based on canned food. The whole fleet lies in a picturesque port with a wall that served to keep pirates away during the Middle Ages. It also protected this port from the French invasion three centuries later. Around this port we can also visit the walk of Baluarte and the viewpoint of La Riva. The first one kept itself safety from foreign invasions, and two cannons of the 18th century and an honour monolith stand here together with several tools in memorial. In the corner of La Riva we discover a table with nautical motives made in 1992, in order to pay homage to the local fishing, including the famous whale hunting of old times. Here stands up a three floor monument full of history. Inside it, we can see the first known contract of hunting whales and two physical parts of four metres long of two whales of 30 tons each. On the second floor, we can see an altarpiece entitled “alegoría de la caza de la ballena” (“allegory of hunting whales”). It shows clearly how it was the hunting of those huge animals. On the third floor, we see a whaling cannon invented by Sven Foy, a Norwegian sailor, in 1854, that stayed in his ship called “Spes et fides”.

During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, Port of Vega became the first customs that existed in Asturias.

We go on talking about the daydream corners of this town such as the wall which lead us to the Chapel of Atalaya. From here, we have a wonderful sight of the port. It was founded by the trade industry of fishing around the year 1605. It was also built to pay homage to Ntra. Sra. of Atalaya (Our Lady of Atalaya) whose image appeared one day floating in the surroundings. She was rescued by the seamen, and it today keeps restored in this place.

Walking by the Port of Vega we can spend a nice time on its cultural centre. Here it is located the “Etnographic Museum Juan Perez Villamil”. It is just exactly located in a restored factory of canned food called “La Arenesca” that today is part of the Cultural Town Hall. Here there are different collections, but probably the most famous one is one artisan which is exposed on the low floor. Here we can learn about the hard work of weaving nets by women on the limit of the port, shoe-markers, carpenters and cabinet-markers.

Finally, we can say that the lovely people who live here have made this town be a referent among all the western area of Asturias. Its festivities, for example, Nuestra Señora de la Atalaya (our Lady of the Atalaya) lasts for four days. On September, 7th we have “La Víspera” (The day before), the 8th “La Telayona”, the 9th “La Telayina” and the 10th “La Jira”. All of these feasts pay homage to the virgin found in this area. The devotion for her, combines both pagan and catholic beliefs: songs, wine, cider, local food, processions, and within any other events, the homage paid to the oldest sea man.

Texto: © Ramón Molleda para desdeasturias.com

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