The first impression you have when you arrive in Puerto de Vega is pleasant above all else. When we arrive, our spirits are infected by the immaculate white of their houses. The nooks and crannies that make up its streets and alleys, which in another similar enclave would be narrow or even tortuous, are here an orderly and clean entanglement for which it is a pleasure to walk and recreat. We can go to the central park "Benigno Blanco", with wide trees; discover the centennial and romantic Cupid's Square, the nerve center of the town on which the primitive fishing village settled and where the ancient beauty of large houses such as that of the Plaza »or that of the Columns» surprise; amaze us with the immense 500-square-meter Casino; animate the view with their various houses of indianos; Or get to know first hand the Church of Santa María, with a good number of jewels inside, not for nothing is it known as the Cathedral of the rural Baroque.
How to get to Puerto de Vega?
We found this town 7,5 kilometers east of the capital of Navia, communicated by the N-632.
Yes, we are on the A-8 Cantabrian Highway, you have to take the 474 output and then the LV-7 takes us to Puerto de Vega.
How many inhabitants does Puerto de Vega have?
It currently has about 2.000 inhabitants, is the most important population center after Navia, the capital of the municipality.
Behind this harmonious facade, the town hides even more harmony among its people, a past and present very active, societal and contagious. It is not by chance that they are several illustrious characters born here, or proliferate cultural initiatives. Facts that also have not fallen on deaf ears. The public conscience has been awarded with the award «Exemplary Town of Asturias» that the Princess of Asturias delivers each year and that it corresponded to Puerto de Vega in 1995. Three years later, in 1998, he was elected most beautiful town of Asturias. In this way, both its beauty and the friendly and enterprising character of its people have separate titles so that no one doubts it.
Illustrious past of Puerto de Vega
Perhaps it is not by chance that the illustrious Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos passed away in Puerto de Vega in 1811. The town gave him refuge when he came from the French and died of death. On the facade of the mortuary house we find the coat of arms and two commemorative plaques, both dedicated to the illustrated one. The Santa María Church also exhibits a mention in the form of a plaque that reminds us of where Jovellanos was buried, for three years, before being transferred to his native Gijón. The Municipal House of Culture "Príncipe Felipe" houses the "Jovellanos" Public Library. The Gijón left a deep mark on this cultured town, a street and a monument also bear his name.
What to see in Puerto de Vega?
The local economy is deeply linked to the sea, both to fishing and to the industry derived from canned, salted and pickled foods. that was once firmly established in the port environment. The cute fishing fleet rests in a picturesque harbor with wall included, battlements in perfect condition that stopped piracy in the Middle Ages and that it protected the town against the French invasion three centuries later. In the port environment you can also visit the Baluarte walk y the viewpoint of La Riva. In the first one, there is even more evidence of the tenacity of the locals to keep themselves free from foreign invasions, we can see two cannons from the 1588th century and a monolith in honor of those who erected the Bastion in XNUMX along with various nautical pieces. In another beautiful place, in the corner of La Riva, we discovered a recreation of the sea table made in 1992 to honor the local fishing boomIncluding the whaling of other times. Here stands a monument with three floors loaded with history. Highlights the first known whaling contract, two imposing jaws four meters long from whales of about 30 tons. On the second floor an immense altarpiece "allegory of whale hunting", shows us clearly how the capture of these marine giants was. On the third level, a modern whale canyon stands out on a crenellated fence. Invented by Sven Foy, Norwegian sailor, in 1854 and amply tested on his ship «Spes et fides».
Another sign of maritime splendor of Puerto de Vega it is the fact that between the XNUMXth, XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries it stood out as a coastal port; arising here the first customs office that existed in Asturias.
We continue talking about unforgettable corners that this town does not lack, as the walk that takes us to the Chapel of the Watchtower, from where we get an unbeatable view of the port. It has a miraculous component, since it was founded by the Mariner and Trade Guild around 1605, rising in honor of Our Lady of the Watchtower, whose image, one fine day, appeared floating nearby. Rescued by sailors, today it is preserved restored in this place.
Culture in Puerto de Vega
If in our walk through Puerto de Vega we decided to get closer to the popular culture of the area for a while, there is no problem either. The Juan Pérez Villamil Ethnographic Museum It will surely cover our appetite. The museum is located in the restored premises of an old canned and salted factory called «La Arenesca» that is now part of the Municipal House of Culture. Pick up a wide repertoire of themes, but here we highlight the collection of crafts trades that are exhibited on the ground floor. There we will know first-hand trades as ingrained as that of the springs that worked at the foot of the dock, the harvesters or spinning machines, the zapateiros, ferreiros, madñeiros, cesteiros, carpenters or cabinetmakers, or the canteiros or loseros.
To finally say that the love of its citizens has turned the town into a festive reference of the Asturian West. His patron saint festivities of Our Lady of the Watchtower summon an unusual expectation for four days, each with its own name: on September 7 "The Eve", on the 8th "La Telayona", on the 9th "La Telayina" and on the 10th "La Jira". Devotion, how could it be otherwise, is professed to a seafaring virgin and takes different forms between pagans and Catholics: songs, wine, cider, good food, processions and among other acts, the tribute to the most veteran sailor.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com