• Our country is not very big, only 100km’s square but it is very nice as it has something of all worlds. In the North we have unspoilt beaches against the backdrop of high green mountains, in the South like around the Mediteranean vineyards are found.
The landscape inside: the mountains, the fields
• The Basque Country´s nice and rainy weather gives a green landscape, there are a lot of pine, oak and chestnut trees in big forests.
• Since we are very close to the Pyrenees, in fact, we live there, we have got lots of mountains. We have got green fields full of grass in which we can find lots of farmhouses scattered all over the place.
For many centuries, agriculture has been the Basque Country’s main activity
• At first, it began in the valleys and in the flat fields, and later on it moved to the mountainous regions. From the year 1950 the agriculture sector lost its predominance in the Basque Country. Nowadays, these are the main agricultural products: sugarbeet, corn, potatoes and barley...
• Cattle raising is still an important activity for the farmhouses. There are big cow and sheep farms in many places in the Basque Country which are helped by the Oceanic climate. The milk industries every year obtain 275.286 litres of milk from the cows.
• The Basque people lived in scattered farmhouses and, therefore, they produced everything they needed.
• The shape of these caserios farmhouses is very significant; they have got three floors: in the ground floor we can find the stable, where we keep animals, the second floor the farmers live and, in the third floor, the chamber, where the grass is kept and dried.
• Until the year 1975, industry was the most important element in the Basque economical development, especially thanks to the iron mines and ship building. At the end of the 70s, after the economical crisis and when Spain had entered the European Union, the Basque Country went through big changes in its industrial structure.
Fishing has always been very important
We have got different sortsof fishing boats: 70% of the boats take part in
the shallow-sea fishing. Provided with small boats they fish hakes breams, anchovies...
About a hundred boats take part in deep-sea fishing.
The biggest deep-sea fishing boats, provided with big freezes, look for cod-fishes and tuna.
The coast: the sea villages • Since the Basque country
is on the Atlantic shore, there is a lot of landscape connected with the sea. Lots of shore villages were created, for example: Bermeo and Getaria. All these villages have got the same pattern: the port (full of boats ), surrounded by the village consisting of tall houses and narrow streets. The people from these villages have always lived on fishing.
The coast: the seaside
• On some beaches you can surf.
• The waves are good for the surf and many champions come to the Basque country to surf.
THE FIESTAS IN VITORIA IN AUGUST
TYPICAL BASQUE CLOTHES CHILDREN WEAR IN THE FIESTAS
The cabezudos or big heads are seen in most fiestas in the Basque Country. Inside them are teenagers. In their hands they carry a pig´s bladder.
The cabezudos run after the people and hit them with their pig bladder. This makes a lot of noise which makes the little children very frightened not us. The cabezudos hit the small children very softly but the bigger ones like us they hit hard.
The Giants Giants are at some festivals.
They have inside them a teenage boy or a girl to move them disguised around the streets.
• One figure that is typical in the fiestas is Gargantua, a huge fat man who swallows children in his enormous mouth, only to expel them out through a door in the back of his trousers, the young children are very frightened of this fat man.
Mari Jaia the mascot of the fiestas in Bilbao in August.
The San Fermins are the first important fiestas in the Basque Country. They celebrate them in the capital of Navarra (Pamplona). For this day everyone puts on a white T-shirt, white trousers and a red hankercheif. Thousands of foreign people come to the fiestas and Pamplona is full.
The running of the bulls in Pamplona
This world famous fiesta, is from 7 of July to 14 of July. At eight o'clock each morning mostly young men (although anyone can) run in front of the bulls, this is very dangerous and every year some people are injured. It usually lasts from two to three minutes
Angulas which are very small eels, are very expensive but rico.
Bacaloa pil-pil which is cod in garlic sauce is very nice.
Most bars have tapas like tortilla, jamon serrano etc.
TOURISM• The Basque tourism,
the most attractive things are: the landscape, the food, the art, the sports, the festivals, the traditional entertainments and the people.
• In the last few years, the inner tourism has become more important with sport and health tourism.
There are castles for tourists • Butron is an enchanted
castle with it we can image what it was like in the battles that took place there in the middle ages.
• The area around the castle has been converted into a garden with more than five hundred trees of different types each carefully chosen.
St Nicholas Church built in the 18th century it has a Baroque style. Dedicated to the patron saint of sailors.
La Plaza Nueva is the oldest square in Bilbao it was finished in 1849. It has 64 arches and is in Neoclassical style.
La Ribera Market built in 1920 is of great architectural beauty.
Calzadas de Mallona steps that go to Bilbao´s first cementery, built 1806.
Church of San Anton built in the 16th Century. It has a Gothic style.
The Cathedral of Santiago. Built in the 14th century in the Gothic style.
• The Guggenheim.• This museum is a
spectacular building designed by Frank O. Gehry, with 24,000 square meters of exhibition area and located in the very heart of Bilbao. It was built between 1993 and 1995. It is an extraordinary combination of interconnecting shapes of metal and glass.
Puppy.The giant dog at the entrance of the museum is always full of flowers. It was built only for the museum´s opening ceremony. But the people liked it so now it is permanent.
The Euskalduna Concert Hall is a modern building built in the shape of a ship in dry dock.
The Euskalduna Bridge has an unusual shape with separate lanes for pedestrians, bikes and cars.
Deusto University opened in 1886 built in the classical style. It is a private university famous for business studies students.
The Arriaga Theatre opened in 1890 is a very luxurious and elegant building in the centre of Bilbao.
Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts.
Puente Colgante or Hanging bridge built in 1893 joins both banks of the river. It is made of iron.
• San Mames “La catedral” is the stadium of the Athletic of Bilbao. It is one of the oldest stadiums in the Spanish football league, without doubt it is one with the most history. The stadium was inagurated by Alfonso XIII in the “Semana Santa” of 1913. In total there are places for 48874 people. All the players are Basque.
Bermeo is the second most important port in Viscaya. In 1476 it was named the capital of Viscaya now Bilbao is.
Gaztelugatxe is a small island found in the north east of Bakio. The island is joined only by a bridge to the main land. When you cross the bridge you climb a steep slope with 300 steps to the small church at the top of the Island.
It is a town outstanding personality of its own. It is the historical capital of the Basque Country thanks to its thousand year old tree and due to its tragic bombing by Hitler´s planes (permission of the dictator Franco to practise bomb on his own civilians) on the 26th of April 1937, which was immortalised in Pablo Picasso´s picture "Gernika".