Today saw the doors open to the public of the all new A Laxe Centro Comercial. Situated right on the water front with the Port of Vigo and the Real Club Nautico on either side and linked by footbridge to el Casco Vello, Vigo's historic quarter behind. Inside spread over three floors, you'll find 45 shops and restaurants and a large fully equipped gym with spa, as well as parking for 500 vehicles located underneath the complex
The idea behind A Laxe was first conceived back in 1992 with a project called 'Opening Vigo to the Sea' now after four years of construction A Laxe is charged with the responsibility of bringing life back to el Casco Vello and revitalising the area, commercially and residentially.
A Laxe comes from the Galician word door/gate. In the 16th century walls were erected around the city to protect it from invaders. However the walls were taken down in 1869 as Vigo boomed economically and rapidly expanded. The complex is so named as it is situated at the exit of what was once one of the gates leading into the city.
The building is in stark contrast to its surroundings, and is obviously trying to represent the future of Vigo whilst regenerating the past in el Casco Vello.
I only hope this proves to be true as there is no doubt that el Casco Vello is in need of revitalising and although this was being achieved, albeit at a rather slow pace, A Laxe is now hoped to be the catalyst in speeding this process along.
A Laxe position is located just behind 'Liners Quay' where the summer cruise ships dock. The largest cruise ships in the world visit Vigo each year and thousands of passengers disembark to take in Vigo for a day. Cruise passengers can access A Laxe and make there way through the complex and access el Casco Vello via a footbridge leading directly to the old quarter.
Unlike it's northern counterparts, Pontevedra, Santiago and A Coruna. Vigo is the economic powerhouse of Galicia and has never relied on tourism alone, to achieve this goal, it has on many occasions done it at the expense of it's past.
This latest venture sees a fusion of the two, Vigo's future directly linked to its past. Tourism is now one of the key aims and local initiatives are focusing hard to bring the tourism dollar to Vigo.
Work is also due to start on the reconstruction of the 'Liner Quay' and Marina with a budget of €260m and with completion in 2010 will again help to revitalise this area. Only time will tell if this fusion is a success.