The Spanish City of Bilbao
Bilbao is the sixth largest Spanish city and biggest Spanish port, making it the industrial center of the north and the Basques peoples’ political capital. It extends across the valley of the Nervion River, and serves as a rail hub from which to explore the Basque countryside.
The Spanish city of Bilbao was founded more than 700 years ago, when it was established by charter on June 15, 1300. The Charter converted what was a village, ruled by the duke Don Diego Lopez de Haro, into a city. The favorable location of the city on the banks of a river allowed it to keep on growing by participating in naval trading with countries as far as the Americas. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Bilbao was the most important regional economic center. Discovery of mineral deposits in the 19th century and subsequent industrialization further propelled the development of the city. Even today, the city continues to grow with a focus on environmental and urban resettlement.
All the visitors who crowd into the Spanish city of Bilbao converge on the $100-million Guggenheim Museum of modern art, designed by American architect Frank Gehry. On display in this museum are the works of the illustrious artists of the latter half of the 20th century, such as Pablo Picasso, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Clyfford Still, Antoni Tapies, Andy Warhol, Ives Klein, and Willem de Koonig. Recent European art is also exhibited, with a focus on works by young Basque and Spanish artists. Other attractions in the Spanish city of Bilbao include the Museo a Esuka and the Museo de Bellas Artes.
The Bilbao Semana Grande, a vibrant fiesta celebrating the city´s Basque heritage, draws over 100,000 people every year. The celebrations last for nine days, and is home to the world renowned Strongman competitions as well as the fireworks spectacle that is hosted my different nations each year. The city’s numerous bridges offer a vantage point from which to see the fireworks illuminate across the clear sky. The nightly festivities are dominated by music. A diversity of free performances keep the scene active and line all up and down the city. The most spectacular performances happen on the Plaza Nueva stage and one of the amphitheaters behind the town’s main hall. Another festival peculiar to the Spanish city of Bilbao is Saint Thomas Day, celebrated on 21st day of December each year, when traditional products from “baserris,” or small surrounding villages, are exhibited. Tasting “talo con chorizo” (corn tortilla and chorizo) and “txakoli” (sweet regional white wine) is a must on this day.
In the Spanish city of Bilbao, one comes across a very distinct kind of cuisine, the cuisine of the Basque Country. A part of the Bilbao gastronomic tradition is the savoring of the famous pintxos (appetizers) in different parts of the city. Bilbao is the cod capital of the world, because of the many delicious recipes that are prepared with the fish.