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Azkoitia's central square, with Paroquia Santa Maria La Real (the city's main church

Azkoitia (Spanish Azcoitia) is a town located in the province of Guipuscoa, in the Autonomous Community of Basque Country, in the northern Spain. It is also the seat of the municipality of the same name.

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Geographical setting

Azkoitia and the pertaining municipality are located on and around the upper Urola river valley, centered on a small alluvial plain surrounded by the Basque mountains. Except for the valley itself the remaining terrain is rather rugged, with elevations ranging to little less than 950 meters.

Population

A boulevard across the river from Azkoitia's old central square

As of 2004[1], the municipality numbers 10,946 inhabitants, of which 5,324 (49.867%) are men and 5,262 (50.133%) are women. Age is distributed among the sexes rather evenly with children and adolescents (0 to 17 years of age) forming 16.235% of the population, adults(18 to 54 years of age) making up 53.744%, with senior citizens being the remaining 30.021%.

Historical relevance

Azkoitia was the birthplace of the mother of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit religious order. Ignatius' maternal grandfather, Don Martin Garcia de Licona, had purchased Balda Tower in the mid 1400s. Recurring bloody encounters in the region persuaded the king, Henry IV of Castile, to reduce the tower from a fortress to a courthouse. On 13 July 1467 Don Martin's daughter, Dona Marina Saenz de Licona Balda married Don Beltran Ibanez de Onaz y Loyola from neighbouring Azpeitia in the Licona family home in Azkoitia. The original wedding contract still exists.

Loyola's birth house is still preserved as a museum a part of a large Jesuit compound. It is located a few kilometers east of Azkoitia's city center, at the small community of Azpeitia, and is a major tourist attraction.

External links

Notes

  1. ^ Demographics for all Basque municipalities

Coordinates: 43°10′45″N 2°18′38″W / 43.17917°N 2.31056°W / 43.17917; -2.31056

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