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It is situated on the central strip of the coastline of Asturias, to the west of the cape of Peñas. An old seafaring and farming town, it is now a modern city and a major iron and steel centre, a product of demographic growth and the industrial boom.
Avilés is the third major city in the Principality of Asturias. Its historic quarter has been declared a Historic-Artistic Site, since it houses significant gems of civil and religious architecture. Some of the main attractions are the pedestrian streets of Galiana and Rivero, Plaza de España with its City Hall, the old church of Sabugo, from the 13th century, and the modern Santo Tomás de Canterbury. In terms of civil architecture, Avilés can boast the palaces of Valdecarzana and Camposagrado and the Palacio Valdés theatre. In 1980 came the opening of the new fishing dock and fishermen's guild of Virgen de las Mareas, whose market auctions almost 70% of the fish caught in Asturias, which has placed Avilés, despite a limited fishing fleet, at the head of the ports in Asturias in this sector.
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