Wednesday, April 02, 2008



The first post dealt with some features of the new Bilbao. However, Bilbao was founded already in on 15 June 1300, by Don Diego Lopez de Haro, Lord of Biscay. At first there were only three parallel streets: Upper, Middle and Shops, and the Santiago church, surrounded by a city wall. The city grew with new developments, and the original area is now known as the «Siete Calles» (Seven streets) in Casco Viejo (Old Town). That’s the main subject of this post!

"CASCO VIEJO - The Old town"

"MUSEO VASCO - The Basque Museum of Archaeology, Ethnography and History functions in the Jesuit Colegio de San Andrés and in its cloisters. It opened in 1920 and was recreated in 1970"

"PLAZA UNAMUNO - Don Miguel, thinker, poet, novelist and scholar was born on 29 September 1864 and when was only one year old, he moved to a house in number seven of the De la Cruz Street. The square pays homage to the «Bilbao-born universal philosopher»"

"PLAZA NUEVA, a monumental neoclassical square designed by the architect Antonio de Echevarría and was finished in 1849. Its name comes from the previously existing Plaza Vieja or Old Square in the place where the Ribera Market was built. It has 64 arches, supported by Doric columns"

"VICTOR MONTES - This traditional Basque restaurant on Plaza Nueva in the Casco Viejo does great pintxos, has lovely decor and an interesting collection of empty bottles that decorate the shelves"

"SAINT JAMES CATHEDRAL - St. James is Bilbao's official patron saint since 1643. The Cathedral was built at the end of the 14th century in Gothic style. Its tower and main façade, in Neogothic style, were designed by Severino de Achúcarro and finished in 1887"

"SANTOS JUANES (Saint John's), a late-Renaissance early-Baroque Church, was constructed in the 17th century by the Jesuits"

"ZAMUDIO'S CITY GATE - The place keeps the name of an old gate on the city walls, along Ronda Street, that was torn down in 1573"

"7 CALLES - Interesting façades"

"THE RIBERA MARKET, designed in 1929 by Pedro de Ispizua y Susunaga, is well-known for its high-quality fish and seafood. It was dried up and refurbished after the 1983 flood"

"SAN NICOLAS CHURCH, constructed on top of the old «San Nicolás de Bari» hermitage, dedicated to the sailor's patron Saint, is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in the Basque country. The Church was designed by Ignacio de Ibero y Erkizia and consecrated in 1756"

"BANCO DE BILBAO - This is the place where everything started for the current giant BBVA"


Update: Ash was kind enough to give me this award:

Thank you Ash


Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! These weeks after Easter don’t let much time free; so I’m sorry I’m not able neither to reply to your comments as soon as I would love to nor to visit and comment your blogs as often as I would like (I always leave a comment when I manage to get to your blogs…). Anyhow, thanks in advance for your truly appreciated comments and I won’t leave any comment without a reply. It may take time, but it’s guaranteed… ;)

di.di said...

where is Bilbao, north of spain? sorry im just too plain lazy to google.. btw, im flying back to KL tom afternoon... i'll be on vacation blues then on thursday onwards so dont expect me to update that soon ok:P

Shionge said...

I love the different shades of colour along the city gate - absolutely beautiful.

Azer Mantessa said...


now this totally blown me away as my perception on bilbao is modern and all BUT was built back in 1300!

intereting pics on streets of old part of bilbao. the architecture is really something else. interesting. thanks.

Peter said...

This confirms that I should have Bilbao on the list of places to (re)visit! Maybe I should take the road to Santiago de Compostella and make a stop!

Unknown said...

another informative post, how i wish i can be in your place, travelling all over the world, tks a million for sharing :)

S-V-H said...

Very nice tour guide again, Gil! I enjoyed the report and the pictures.

Tinsie said...

I have added Bilbao to my "must visit" list! Looks like a very interesting place indeed :-)

Nikon said...

I love the old narrow streets with the tall apartment buildings rising up on each side. Makes a nice "tunnel effect."

Anonymous said...

ah I love Spain.....

alicesg said...

Oh love the architectural buildings. They are beautiful. One day, I hope I would be able to go on a europe tour. :) I have a quiz in my post today, you might like to view it.

Ash said...

Fantastic architecture...

I've been given the Excellent Blog award and I'm very happy and honored to pass it on to you!

Anonymous said...

And we had again a great pleasure to walk in Bilbao`s streets and feel that atmosphere there. Thank you for that!

Olivier said...

il y a vraiment une superbe (et différente) architecture à Bilbao. J'adore la première photo, elle est superbe. Bon Weekend

Gaëlle said...

I went to Bilbao 2 years ago so I really enjoy your post about this lovely city.
Thank you for your visits and comments on my blog.

Marguerite-marie said...

je ne suis jamais allée à Bilbao mais avec ces photos on a envie d'y aller j'aime beaucoup et surtout la 1, la 4 (maison rose et verte ) la 7 (église apparaissant au bout de la rue) la 12 et ce n'est qu'un choix car elles me plaisent toutes.

Janet said...


Noushy Syah said...

Beautiful architectural! The old streets definitely caught my attention...

Really worth a visit, something different in atmosphere.

Have a gr8 weekend my friend.Take care.

ANNA-LYS said...

Obrigado Trotter,
You always come with a smile or two in Your luggage, thank You!
I am enjoying Your posts, but there is nothing I can add in a comment, 'cause You cover it all with great pic's of important places and shares knowledge of those places.

Yes, I do have one pondering; When will I see the place You are more than visiting. Is Lisbon, Your head courter? I must lear about that place and the people living there so I can make up a new insane post!

Have a lovely weekend, and

*May the wings be with You*

((bjs ))

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow! I love these set of photos. Especially the first one. Thanks for taking me on this wonderful tour.


Lori said...

What a lovely and picturesque place. If I had seen your pictures without any captions, I would never have guessed that this was Bilbao! Now I'm wondering what pintxos are? I'll have to look it up! Enjoy your weekend!

Anonymous said...

As always, a pleasure Gil to read your comments and see the photos. Your tours are always a delight and take me to places I am sure I will never see. Come back for a visit soon. We are having liver and onions this time. :)

Ming the Merciless said...

Bilbao is such an interesting city. I love that the architecture in some of your photos resemble city like Switzerland, Rome or South of France.

My favorite photos are the 2 scenes of narrow pedestrian street with shops on both sides.

Neva said...

I always love to see you stop for a visit....I learn so much from you! I am not sure I ever have a favorite ..unless it is of you and your bride smiling. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Nice walk through the city !
Thanks for your comment, I checked my Manneken Pis pictures and indeed they didn't show up on my blog but the htmls were there. Strange. I uploaded them again and now you can see them on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Lovely architectures! Bilbao is a beautiful city.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Alex's World! -

Nihal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nihal said...

Hola Gil:)
I am intrigued by the church of Santos Juanes, because I love the baroque architecture that takes me back in the time such a nostalgia where man of pleasure meets serenity.
Bilbao is yet a land I have not been:( As usual, your notes will be helpful for me when packing my backpack:)
Time has been hectic recently for me like you, however I believe I managed quite well my bloggy stuff providing some interesting articles, that I appreciate every incoming comment from my readers. Let me give you my THANKS for your regular visits w/valuable comments left on my journal.
Yesterday eve I landed in a country where is looking to the future while cherishing the ways of past, a land of many cultures, wonders, races and religions. Can you make a guess where is it I talk?
Well, it is Malaysia. I will be there for a few days. You're welcome if it interests you to read some of my lines being a non-Malaysian writer;)

Have a Blessed Sunday from now on, and a bientot.

~ Nihal via CrossRoads

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that Bilbao has so many old buildings left. It must be an interesting town with that mixture of old and new. Have a nice weekend, Gil. (Here it is raining again ...)

Lara said...

the narrow streets look so interesting, although too narrow for me. but the colours are stunning!

Wendy said...

Greetings from Dubai. Looks like you wore your feet out exploring this beautiful destination. Thanks as always for the journey without the jet lag.

leo said...

buildings and more buildings. i love it. especially the 7 calles - narrow streets & colorful buildings. thanks Gil.

To Nihal, welcome to Msia - hv a pleasant trip.

Joy said...

Heya, Gil! So sorry I have not been around lately. So tied up with work, decorating, moving, etc.

Lovely photos. The fourth one reminds me of the old town in Warsaw. You really have a way of telling a story about places which not many may know about. Thanks for that.

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comments. We now have broadband - though the connection is either low or good. I'm looking forward to visiting your blog more regularly. Please bear with me. Have a great weekend!

A Pinay In England
Your Love Coach
I, Woman

isa said...

I prefer the old town to the modern from the previous post (so American of me ;-))
Victor Montes restaurant looks very inviting...but what on earth are pintxos?

Anonymous said...

The buildings, especially red tile roofs, are so charming, I'm with Isabella. Beautifully photographed too.

Anonymous said...

Bilbao, Basque country, north of Spain. Where were you in Spain?

Thanks! Love to see you around…

Azer Mantessa,
The most modern of Bilbao is still to come…

Santiago will also come in some months probably!

Thanks! Glad that you both enjoy these posts…

It sure is an interesting place!

7 Calles is a wonderful spot!

You have very good taste (except that you should already have visited Lisbon…). ;)

Alice sg,
Don’t forget Lisbon on your European tour… Sorry to have missed your quiz. ;(

Thanks! It’s an honour to get the Excellent award from you!

Thanks. I’m happy that you enjoy!

C’est vrai, mais pour en finir, l’architecture moderne reviendra à galope…

Bleeding Orange,
Thanks. Love your Grenoble blog!

Crois-moi: tu dois y aller!!

Rambling Round,

Noushy Syah,
Definitely worth the visit!

Obrigado (for ladies the form is Obrigada, though most people don’t even suspect…)! There is always something there to remind me… after your visit!
Lisbon, my headquarter, has several ways to make people insane (in the 1400s and 1500s, just sent sailors around the world in some nutshells)… But I need to retire to take care of this one... ;))


Bilbao managed to survive depression quite well! I’ve already answered on «pintxos» on the first comment to the «Buildings and Skies…» post, where I left some links. But basically they’re the Basque equivalent of tapas!

Liver and onions, with mashed potatoes, is something I adored but have not had for a long time! I’ll check your blog…

Old European cities have always something in common; and Bilbao doesn’t deny it… ;)

Thirty eight years bride… ;) Thanks!

Hi, so glad I found you again and so happy to see you here. I’ll try to get some time to check your blog again; probably not before next Friday, as these weeks are getting worse and worse… ;))
Thanks for your visit and comment!

Thanks! One day I’ll visit Manchester; never thought I would, but seeing your blog I changed my mind…

Olá Nihal,
St. John’s is actually somehow intriguing; quite different from St. James and Begoña…
It’s my pleasure to visit your blog, where there is always something highly interesting to read!
Hope you have a great time in Malaysia; I was there in 2001, almost 500 years after the first Portuguese settled there… See Malacca and the «Famosa» (The Famous door of the Santiago fortress)…

Bilbao is recovering very well, keeping a good amount of its historic buildings!
Nice weather so far, but bad forecast… ;(

Those streets are not that narrow; I’m mean, you’re not that large… ;))

I’m so envious! I was almost loosing my head and taking the flight; fortunately, the Burj-al-Arab was fully booked, thus preventing bankruptcy… ;))

You’re a girl with very good taste; 7 Calles are one of the nicest spots in Bilbao…

Thanks for taking a moment to drop by in the middle of your hectic weeks. Can imagine your busy schedule after moving to a new home…

I think that the modern part is also quite architectural; not just buildings after buildings… Anyhow, the Casco Viejo is a beautiful quarter!
«Pintxos» are the Basque equivalent to tapas… Now, do you care for a txiquito?


JO said...

Beautiful pics - were you able to go inside St Johns? I love old buildings.

Anonymous said...

I was a bit surprised that the four times I passed by the church it was always closed. Only later I found that its opening hours seem to be: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. thru 12:30 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. through 7:00 p.m....

Lakshmi said...

fantastic...Im realizing that Ive missed out quite a lot a lot of catching up to do

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Will try to catch up next weekend!