Basque Country, Spain

Bilbao, a cosmopolitan city full of dynamism which has reinvent itself after the decline of its traditional heavy industry. In addition, it is also famous thanks to its "Cathedral of Santiago", declared a World Heritage Site in 2015 and for its Guggenheim Museum, considered one of the most important museums of contemporary art because of its beauty and great cultural value inside of the buiding. City of exquisite dishes such as the tripe to the Biscay, the squid in its ink, or its desserts like the Carolinas.

Bilbao, the capital of Vizcaya is in the Basque Country. It has 345.110 inhabitants. Its climate is temperate and warm, with rain throughout the year. It´s average temperature is 14ºC.

Bilbao, which is crossed by the River Nervion, was founded 700 years ago. It was initially separated in two zones: The Old One, on the left side, predominantly an iron- mining area. The other zone, called “El Casco Viejo” (The Old Neighborhood), was situated on the right side where the commercial and maritime activities took place.

El Casco Viejo was surrounded by walls and it was formed by three parallel streets. Later on, the wall was demolished and four new streets emerged. This is how the concept of The Seven Streets (Las Siete Calles) was created. In 1979 El Casco Viejo became pedestrian and from then on it is a commercial nucleus of shops, bars and restaurants. Nowadays, many of its buildings are a priceless part of Bilbao´s patrimony and one of the very tourist areas of the city.

In the old part of the city, with its Garden of Arenal, we can visit the Cathedral of Santiago of Bilbao, declared World Heritage Site in 2015. The Miguel de Unamuno Square and the Theater Arriaga, which is impressive because of its neobaroque façade, without failing to mention the Museum of Fine Arts, with more than 10.000 exhibits. There are also the Church of Saint Nicholas, of baroque style, built in the eighteenth century, the Church and the bridge of Saint Anthony as well as what is left from the walls of the city.

The Guggenheim Museum, great work of modern architecture, was designed by the Canadian architect Frank Gehry and was inaugurated in 1997. Since then it has been one of the most visited places of the city, due to its beauty and great cultural value.

Among all the fairs and festivities of Bilbao, the ones which stand out are the Day of Saint Agueda in February as well as the Holy Week and the Big Week, which is celebrated in August, with shows in open air and public places, being also an opportunity to taste some of its dishes such as tripes (callos) and “mouths” (morros) cooked in the local way, small squids, cod pil-pil or its desserts such as the “Carolinas” and “panchinetas”.

One of the most important persons from Bilbao is Gabriel Aresti, a big writer of the twentieth century and a member of the Royal Academy of the Basque Language.

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