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Vitoria
—  Municipality  —
Gasteiz

Flag

Coat of arms
Motto: Haec est Victoria quae vincit
(This is Victoria which triumphed)
Location of Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain
Vitoria is located in Spain
Vitoria
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 42°51′N 2°41′W / 42.85°N 2.683°W / 42.85; -2.683Coordinates: 42°51′N 2°41′W / 42.85°N 2.683°W / 42.85; -2.683
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  País Vasco
Province Álava
Comarca Vitoria-Gasteiz
Founded 1181
Government
 - Alcalde Patxi Lazcoz (PSE-EE)
Area
 - Total 276.81 km2 (106.9 sq mi)
Elevation 525 m (1,722 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Total 235,661
 - Density 851.3/km2 (2,205/sq mi)
 - Demonym Vitoriano, -na Gasteiztarra
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 010xx
Official language(s) Basque, Spanish
Website Official website

Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital city of the province of Álava and of the autonomous community of the Basque Country in northern Spain. It is the second largest Basque city, after Bilbao. The dwellers of the city are called Vitorianos or Gasteiztarras, while traditionally they are dubbed Babazorros (Basque for 'bean eaters').

Contents

History

In the year 581 the Visigoth king Liuvigild founded the city of Victoriacum, trying to emulate the Roman foundations, as a celebration of the victory against the Vascones near what is assumed to be the hill occupied by the primitive village of Gasteiz. This however is not sufficiently proven, and some historians and experts believe that Victoriacum was located not on the site of present-day Vitoria but nearby, probably at the foot of Mount Gorbea where there is a village called Vitoriano.

In the year 1181, Sancho VI the Wise, King of Navarre founded the town of Nueva Victoria as a defensive outpost on top of a hill at the site of the previous settlement of Gasteiz. In 1200, the town was captured by the troops of Alfonso VIII of Castile, who annexed the town to the Kingdom of Castile. The town was progressively enlarged and in 1431 it was granted the title of City by King Juan II of Castile. In 1463, it was one of the five founding villas of the Brotherhood of Álava alongside Sajazarra, Miranda de Ebro, Pancorbo and Salvatierra.

The principal episode in the later history of Vitoria-Gasteiz is the Battle of Vitoria of the Peninsular War on 21 June 1813. The French troops were comprehensively beaten by the Duke of Wellington . French control of Spain was ended. There is a monument commemorating this battle in the main square of the city, known as the Monument to Independence - Monumento a la Independencia.

When in late July of that year came the news to Vienna, Johann Nepomuk Mälzel commissioned Ludwig van Beethoven with the composition of a symphony. It is the op. 91 Wellingtons Sieg or Die bei Schlachter Vitoria or Siegessymphonie. In 1843, came permission to build the Institute for Middle Education, current headquarters of the Basque Parliament and formerly the convent of Santa Clara. In the 1853-1854 academic year began classes bringing to fruition an old dream of the city. The old Institute for Middle Education witnessed much of the cultural life of this city. It should be remembered, among other things, the Free University, created in the wake of the revolution of 1868. The University operated from 1869, truncated before starting the course 1873-1874, largely because of the second Carlist War. Suffice it to recall the names of Ricardo Becerro de Bengoa, Julián Apraiz, Federico Baraibar, and so on. This latter, great Hellenist (1851-1918), was also among the first teachers of Basque in Vitoria as an off-syllabus subject.

During the Spanish transition to democracy, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi bore witness to the March 3 Killing of 1976 after clashes between police and striking workers. Under the orders of Interior Minister Manuel Fraga, the police stormed on a shooting spree the packed church where demonstrators had retreated, resulting in 5 dead and over a hundred people wounded.

On May 20, 1980, by decision of the Basque Parliament, Vitoria became the capital of the Basque Country.

Old quarter

The old part of the city (el casco viejo), on an elevation, is very well conserved and contains a number of remarkable monuments: Casa del Cordón (a house from the XV century), the gothic cathedral of Santa María (XIV century), the Museum of Archaeology and Museo Fournier de Naipes (playing cards) (XVI century) and the Torre de Doña Otxanda (a tower holding the Museum of Natural Sciences). The extension (el ensanche) was built south of the old city centre during the XIX century and contains the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca (a square where the Fiestas de la Blanca start) with the church of San Miguel, Los Arquillos (an arcade), and the Plaza Nueva (or de España, a square that holds every Sunday morning a street market). Further south, the Paseo de Fray Francisco is a wide street sided by mansions, many of which have been recently adapted for public use: the Palace of Ajuria Enea (the residence of the Lehendakari), the Museum of Arts, Museo de la Armería (weapons).

Economy and demographics

The economy of Vitoria-Gasteiz is diverse, and many manufacturing companies have operations here, including Mercedes-Benz, Michelin, Gamesa [1]and Heraclio Fournier, the latter being headquartered here. The city has been ranked second in standard of living among all cities in Spain, and first as to green areas and cultural places per capita.

The city is served by Vitoria Airport. Currently the only airline with normal passenger services is Iberia operated by Air Nostrum with flights to Madrid and Barcelona.

Ryanair service to London Stansted and Dublin ceased October 2007.

Executive airline NordJet [2] has services from Vitoria-Gasteiz

Monuments and places of interest

Cathedral of Mary Immaculate
Apse of the Cathedral of Mary Immaculate
San Miguel Arcángel Church
Las Salesas Convent
Sagrada Familia Church

Cathedral of Santa Maria (Old Cathedral) . Fourteenth-century Gothic building with a tower of the XVII. Under the portico are three open doorways decorated with statues and reliefs. In the interior, chapels containing images Gothic, Flemish and Italian Renaissance. In the chapels on the left you can see paintings by Rubens and van Dyck. The cathedral is undergoing restoration and has been studied by experts from around the world for its architectural curiosities, including those deformations which has suffered due to reforms and previous restorations.

Cathedral of Mary Immaculate (New Cathedral) . Temple cathedral built and consecrated in the twentieth century, High Gothic.

Church of St. Peter the Apostle . Fourteenth-century Gothic church. Emphasizes the Portico Viejo, with a set of reliefs depicting scenes from the lives of St. Peter and the Virgin Mary, which run under the pictures of the Virgin and the apostles. Inside there at the top, there are several tombs in value.

Church of St. Michael the Archangel. Temple Gothic-Renaissance of the XIV to XVI century in whose porch is the image of the Virgen Blanca, patron saint of the city. Altarpiece by Gregorio Fernandez.

Church of San Vicente Martir . Late Gothic church of the XV and XVI. Church of Carmen. Type neoclassical temple built between 1897 and 1900 as part of the Convent of Discalced Carmelite Fathers.

Basilica of San Prudencio . From the Parque de la Florida, a long succession of walks, leading to Armentia, which can be one of the jewels of Romanesque Basque: the Basilica of San Prudencio, (Patron of Alava). Its construction is the twelfth century, rebuilt in the XVIII. The temple houses sculptural samples from different eras and teachers. Sanctuary of Our Lady of Estíbaliz. Located in the town of Argandoña, 8 km from Vitoria, dating from the eleventh century and is a real jewel of Romanesque art. Our Lady of Estíbaliz is the patron saint of Alava

Convento de San Antonio . Nunnery Clares of the seventeenth century.

Convent of Santa Cruz . Nunnery Dominican of the sixteenth century.

Former Hospice . Building of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, originally Colegio de San Prudencio.

Portico Viejo, Church of San Pedro .

Casa del Cordón . Located on the street Cutlery, is a fine example of Gothic civil architecture. It was built in the fifteenth century, and has a tower of the XIII. In this house stayed the Catholic Monarchs and Hadrian VI was named Pope while he was in it. Basque Museum of Contemporary Art, Artium. Its permanent collection is considered one of the best and most important contemporary art in Basque and Spanish. It was inaugurated on April 26, 2002 and is a museum open and dynamic. Pagina official ARTIUM

Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art of Alava . Located in the ambulatory of the New Cathedral, offers samples of religious art heritage of the province, divided into sections of stone carving, wood carving, painting on wood, paint on canvas, jewelry and furniture liturgical.

Museum of Natural Sciences . The museum is located in the Tower of Doña Otxanda, an example of medieval architecture. It is also a center for research and dissemination of Natural Sciences.

Museum of Archeology . Hosted in a house of wood lattice of the sixteenth century, the museum dolmens, Roman sculptures found in Alava and medieval pieces.

Fournier Museum of Playing Cards . Its headquarters palace Bendaña. The manufacture of cards has been one of the most characteristics of Vitoria. In the museum presents more than 6,000 cards, some of them very old.

Museo de Bellas Artes . In a Renaissance mansion, the museum displays carvings of the fourteenth century, Flemish triptychs of the XVI, tables of Spanish masters like Ribera and modern Spanish paintings that can be seen among the works of Picasso and Zuloaga. The museum pays special attention to painting Basque manners.

Arms Museum of Alava . Near the foregoing, it is this museum, which could be weapons of all periods, from prehistoric axes to handguns of the twentieth century. There is a large collection of medieval weaponry and reconstruction of the battle in Vitoria in 1813 during the War of Independence.

Montehermoso Cultural Center . Building, very reformed, the sixteenth century, which historically has had several uses. In 1994 it ceased to be the headquarters of the Diocese of Vitoria, and in 1997 with the annexation of the former water tank, became the Montehermoso Cultural Center, designed as a space for art exhibitions and musical performances.

Plaza de la Virgen Blanca . It is the nerve center of the city. There converge some of the most typical streets of the old town and the Eixample and is surrounded by old houses with verandas glass. At its center stands a monument commemorating the Battle of Vitoria.

Artium Museum .

Plaza de España . It's a great arcaded plaza designed by the architect Antonio de Olaguibel in 1781 and designed to unite the old town with the new Story, then under construction. One of the most important elements of the package is the town hall of neoclassical decoration.

The Arquillos . This road was built with porches between the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Through a series of staggered buildings were spared the gap between the old city and widening. Descends from the Plaza del Machete to the rear of the Piazza di Spagna.

Palace-Ajuria Enea . The palace has been since 1980 the seat of the President of the Basque government (the Lehendakari), and it is also the official residence of the Lehendakari. It was built in 1918 as the main residence of the family of the local entrepeneur Serafin Ajuria, and it is a fine example of the Basque architecture of the period.

Culture

Streets in Vitoria
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Music

Vitoria-Gasteiz hosts two annual international music festivals:

Local festivities

The Fiestas de la Blanca festival is celebrated every year from the 4th to the 9th of August in honour of the patron saint of the city, and features a programme of special events, activities and free open-air concerts.

Universities

The liberal arts section of the University of the Basque Country is based in the south part of the city. Focusing on history and linguistics, the Alava campus is also home of the Faculty of Pharmacy, as well as some other technical, teaching and business related degrees.

Its origins date back from 1847 when the first Escuela Normal de Maestros de Álava was established. A whole other number of colleges and faculties were adopted in 1978 by the emerging University of the Basque Country.

Urbanism

Edificio de Correos
Doña Ochanda Tower
Fine Arts Museum

From an urban point of view, Vitoria is a mid-size city, the line of which is adapted to the traditions of each historical moment. The medieval town is set in almond-shaped around the hill foundation, which by its privileged position as the only elevation in the plain of Alava, became a defensive stronghold coveted by the kingdoms of Navarra and Castilla during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The walled enclosure is prior to the war between Castile and Navarre, and is due to the work undertaken by the Conde de Alava, bastard son of King Ramiro I of Aragon, in the eleventh century, to defend the village. The defensive walls of the old Gasteiz were built between the years 1050 and 1100. Because of that first defensive role, its narrow streets and bleak surrounding the oval originating in compact rows of houses parallel to each other and with respect to the medieval walls (of which only some sections are preserved and gates). Between the years 1854 and 1856 was an event that changed the face of the city. An epidemic of cholera was the excuse for tearing down the gates, which were strong houses, which provided access to the streets run (home of the strong Nanclares), Shoe (home of the strong Soto) and Blacksmith (home of the strong Abendaño) and which served to protect every neighborhood association. At the entrance of the current Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, was the site of Santa Clara, who was joined by the wall at the Convent of San Antonio. In the nineteenth and the recognition that the city was being small, an expansion was planned in neoclassical style, and little by little planning for the city was giving Vitoria its current form. Almonds medieval, as is often called, has many architectural jewels such as Bendaña Palace, headquarters of the Fournier Museum of cards (the years erected in 1525 by Juan Lopez de Arrieta, on the site occupied by the tower before defensive erected by Maeztu). The Palace Escoriaza-Esquivel, the S XV, built by Claudio de Arziniega. The Villa Suso, which dwelt Martin Salinas, Ambassador Carlos V (sixteenth century). And the greatest treasure of Vitoria: the Cathedral of Santa Maria (Old Cathedral).

The history of the Cathedral of Santa Maria (popularly known as Old Cathedral), is itself a synthesis of the history of Vitoria. Built on the cemetery of the primitive village of Vascon Gasteiz (which today can be accessed through the excavations), the church of Santa Maria collapsed with the fire of 1202, and Alfonso VIII of Castile (who had conquered the square just 2 years earlier), ordered to rebuild the city and lift at the site of a former church that was to serve two very different purposes: to save souls and store weapons. Thus was born the Cathedral of Santa Maria, yet church, a temple-like fortress that served as entry to the city. The project was changing with the centuries, so that each change was made without taking into account the above, this was the case in the fifteenth century (when the church became collegiate), and finally in the sixties, when it was decided reversing the works of strengthening of the external walls and widen the windows purely for aesthetic reasons. What we ended up forcing the temple to close for fear it will collapse during the Masses. Today the cathedral again be open, and offers visitors a unique experience: a trip through time in layers. Since the remnants of the original village, following the current Vitoria, to the Gothic redesign of the mid-twentieth century, passing through foundations of more than a millennium old, and plans Romanesque and Gothic, all perfectly discernible by the color of materials used at each stage. A unique opportunity in the world to pass through the shortcut history, in a temple for their peculiar characteristics, and multiple roles throughout his life, has become the main attraction of Vitoria. Ken Follett, author of " The Pillars of the Earth, "he said after his stay in the city that Santa Maria was one of the three most interesting cathedrals of the world.

Since the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century, the population of Vitoria and the layout of its streets remained almost unchanged. And it was not until the late eighteenth century, when growth requires the expansion of the city outside. To solve the problem of the difference in height between the original kernel on the hill, and the plain below, the arches are erected and the Plaza Nueva, which soften the transition to a much needed expansion neoclassical (s. XIX) of wide streets and gardens, whose greatest exponent is in the street detail, the Park of La Florida, and the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, with its facade pulled viewpoints.

Finally, the new quarters of Vitoria are built in accordance with a development plan that favors parks, recreation areas and the quality of life. Reconciling keeping the identity of the city with the need to accommodate the growing population. Drawing on the district of San Martin, first planned new neighborhood in this way, the city has increased its outreach to a fast growth in recent years concentrated in the neighborhoods of Lakua, Salburua and Zabalgana. The city of Vitoria has received several international awards for its urban development. Special mention is called green ring, a network of parks and green spaces around the city, destined to be the lung of the future Vitoria, and link the city with the countryside. This ring is formed by the time the parks Salburua, Zabalgana, Armentia, Rio Alegria, Gamarra, Abetxuko, and Atxa-Landaberde, although still lacking in areas integrated into this ring.

Transport links

By road: Vitoria is connected both with the rest of the Basque capital with Madrid, because it is step by the city of NI. There are two motorways in their municipality and a future motorway service: The NI Madrid-Irun, The A-620 Vitoria-Altube and its connection with the A-68 Logroño-Bilbao, and as of the end of 2009, the new AP -1 Between Vitoria and Éibar attempt to alleviate the problems caused by congested traffic on the NI.

By rail: The Madrid-Irun in Vitoria is one of their most important stops. Half a dozen trains each day linking the city with the Spanish capital, highlighting the service Alvi (At 10.09 in the morning), which, via Valladolid, uses the infrastructure of the AVE to arrive in 3 hours 43 minutes to Madrid. There are also great connections with all Castile and Leon, Galicia, Catalonia, Alicante, Asturias, Lisbon and Paris. Among the deficits fit to highlight the lack of rail services connecting with Andalusia (none) and the lack of rail link with Bilbao. In 2013 is expected to inaugurate a high-speed line to communicate with Vitoria Madrid, Bilbao and San Sebastian among other cities.

By Air: The airport in Vitoria, was built to be the major airport in northern Spain and replacing the airport in Bilbao, but failed to consolidate itself as such. The low number of passenger flights contrasts with the fact that it has established itself as a cargo airport, being the fourth largest airport with freight transport in Spain.

Sports

Club Sport League Venue Logo
Deportivo Alavés Football Segunda División B Estadio Mendizorrotza
Baskonia Basketball ACB Fernando Buesa Arena

Sister cities

References

External links


Vitoria-Gasteiz
Gasteiz (Basque)
—  Municipality  —
File:Vitoria
Flag
File:Escudo de
Coat of arms
Motto: Haec est Victoria quae vincit
(This is Victoria which triumphed)
Location of Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain
Coordinates: 42°51′N 2°41′W / 42.85°N 2.683°W / 42.85; -2.683Coordinates: 42°51′N 2°41′W / 42.85°N 2.683°W / 42.85; -2.683
Country  Spain
Autonomous community Template:Country data País Vasco
Province Álava
Comarca Vitoria-Gasteiz
Founded 1181
Government
 - Alcalde Patxi Lazcoz (PSE-EE)
Area
 - Total 276.81 km2 (106.9 sq mi)
Elevation 525 m (1,722 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Total 235,661
 Density 851.3/km2 (2,205/sq mi)
Demonym Vitoriano, -na Gasteiztarra
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 010xx
Official language(s) Basque, Spanish
Website Official website

Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital city of the province of Álava and of the autonomous community of the Basque Country in northern Spain with a population of 235,661 people. It is the second largest Basque city, after Bilbao. The dwellers of the city are called Vitorianos or Gasteiztarras, while traditionally they are dubbed Babazorros (Basque for 'bean eaters').

Contents

History

In the year 581 the Visigoth king Liuvigild founded the city of Victoriacum, trying to emulate the Roman foundations, as a celebration of the victory against the Vascones near what is assumed to be the hill occupied by the primitive village of Gasteiz. This however is not sufficiently proven, and some historians and experts believe that Victoriacum was located not on the site of present-day Vitoria-Gasteiz but nearby, probably at the foot of Mount Gorbea where there is a village called Vitoriano.

In the year 1181, Sancho VI the Wise, King of Navarre founded the town of Nueva Victoria as a defensive outpost on top of a hill at the site of the previous settlement of Gasteiz. In 1200, the town was captured by the troops of Alfonso VIII of Castile, who annexed the town to the Kingdom of Castile. The town was progressively enlarged and in 1431 it was granted the title of City by King Juan II of Castile. In 1463, it was one of the five founding villas of the Brotherhood of Álava alongside Sajazarra, Miranda de Ebro, Pancorbo and Salvatierra.

[[File:|thumb|left|250px|Vitoria-Gasteiz in the 17th century]] The Battle of Vitoria of the Peninsular War occurred near Vitoria-Gasteiz on 21 June 1813. An allied British, Portuguese, and Spanish army under General the Marquess of Wellington broke the French army under Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan. The victory assured the eventual end of French control in Spain. There is a monument commemorating this battle in the main square of the city known as the Monument to Independence - Monumento a la Independencia.

When news came to Vienna in late July of that year, Johann Nepomuk Mälzel commissioned Ludwig van Beethoven to compose a symphony, the op. 91 Wellingtons Sieg or Die bei Schlachter Vitoria or Siegessymphonie.

Work began on Institute for Middle Education in 1843, with classes beginning during the 1853-54 academic year. It is now current headquarters of the Basque Parliament and formerly the convent of Santa Clara. The Free University open in the wake of the revolution of 1868. The University operated from 1869, to just prior to the 1873-1874 term, largely because of the second Carlist War. Chief academics were Ricardo Becerro de Bengoa, Julián Apraiz, Federico Baraibar, and so on. This latter, great Hellenist (1851–1918), was also among the first teachers of Basque in Vitoria-Gasteiz as an off-syllabus subject.

During the Spanish transition to democracy, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi was the scene of the March 3 Killing of 1976 after clashes between police and striking workers. Under the orders of Interior Minister Manuel Fraga, the police stormed on a shooting spree where the packed church where demonstrators had retreated, resulting in five dead and over 100 wounded.

On May 20, 1980, by decision of the Basque Parliament, Vitoria-Gasteiz became the capital of the Basque Country.

Main sights

File:Vitoria - Catedra Nueva
Cathedral of Mary Immaculate
File:Vitoria - Catedra Nueva
Apse of the Cathedral of Mary Immaculate
File:Vitoria
San Miguel Arcangel Church and the White Virgin Square
File:Vitoria - Sagrada Familia
Sacred Family Church
  • Cathedral of Santa Maria (Old Cathedral), a 14th century Gothic building with a 17th century tower. Under the portico are three open doorways decorated with statues and reliefs. In the interior, chapels containing Gothic, Flemish and Italian Renaissance images including paintings by Rubens and van Dyck. The cathedral is undergoing restoration and has been studied by experts from around the world for its architectural curiosities, including those deformations which has suffered due to reforms and previous restorations.
  • Cathedral of Mary Immaculate (New Cathedral), built and consecrated in the 20th century, in High Gothic style.
  • Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art of Álava, located in the building's ambulatory, houses samples of religious art heritage of the province, divided into sections of stone carving, wood carving, painting on wood, paint on canvas, jewelry and furniture liturgical.
  • Church of St. Peter the Apostle (14th century) in Gothic style. The Portico Viejo, with a set of reliefs depicting scenes from the lives of St. Peter and the Virgin Mary, run under the pictures of the Virgin and the apostles.
  • Church of St. Michael the Archangel (14th-16th centuries), in Gothic-Renaissance style. Its portico has an image of the Virgen Blanca, patron saint of the city. Inside is an altarpiece by Gregorio Fernandez.
  • Church of San Vicente Martir. A late Gothic building from the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • Church of the Carmen. A neoclassical temple built between 1897 and 1900.
  • Basilica of San Prudencio. Its original construction dates to the 12th century, but it was rebuilt in the 18th century. The temple houses sculptural samples from different eras and artists.
  • Romanesque Sanctuary of Our Lady of Estíbaliz. Located in the town of Argandoña, 8 km from Vitoria-Gasteiz, it dates to the 11th century.
  • Convento de San Antonio. A Clares nunnery from the 17th century.
  • Convent of Santa Cruz. Dominican nunnery from the 17th century.
  • Former Hospice (16th-17th centuries), originally the Colegio de San Prudencio.
  • Portico Viejo, Church of San Pedro
  • Casa del Cordón, an example of civil Gothic architecture. It was built in the 15th century, but has kept a tower from the 13th century. The Catholic Kings has a stay here, and Hadrian VI was named Pope while residing here.
  • Basque Museum of Contemporary Art (Artium). Its permanent collection is considered one of the best and most important contemporary art in Basque and Spanish. It was inaugurated on April 26, 2002.
  • Museum of Natural Sciences, located in the Tower of Doña Otxanda, an example of medieval architecture. It is also a center for research and dissemination of Natural Sciences.
  • Museum of Archaeology, located in a house of wood lattice from the 16th century. The exhibition includes dolmens, Roman sculptures found in Álava, and medieval pieces.
  • Fournier Museum of Playing Cards, in the Bendaña palace. Vitoria-Gasteiz is known for the manufacture of playing cards. More than 6,000 cards are displayed in the museum.
  • Museum of Fine Arts, housed in a Renaissance mansion. It displays 14th century carvings, Flemish 16th century triptychs, panels of Spanish masters such as Jusepe de Ribera and modern Spanish paintings.
  • Arms Museum of Álava is home to weapons from various ages, from prehistoric axes to 20th century handguns. There is a large collection of medieval weaponry and reconstruction of the Battle of Vitoria.
  • Montehermoso Cultural Center, housed in restored 16th century buildings, formerly headquarters of the Diocese of Vitoria. In 1997, with the annexation of the former water tank, the property became the Montehermoso Cultural Center, designed as a space for art exhibitions and musical performances.
  • Plaza de la Virgen Blanca. It is a square to which converge some of the most typical streets of the old town and the Eixample and is surrounded by old houses with glass verandas. At its center stands a monument commemorating the Battle of Vitoria.
  • Plaza de España. A large arcaded plaza designed by the architect Antonio de Olaguibel in 1781 and designed to unite the old town with the new Story, then under construction.
  • The Arquillos. This road was built with porticoes between the 18th and 19th century.
  • Ajuria Enea, the seat of President of the Basque government (Lehendakari) since 1980. It was built in 1918 as the main residence of the family of the local entrepreneur Serafin Ajuria, and it is a fine example of the Basque architecture of the period.

Economy and demographics

The economy of Vitoria-Gasteiz is diverse, and many manufacturing companies have operations there, including Mercedes-Benz, Michelin, Gamesa [1] and Heraclio Fournier, the latter being headquartered there. The city has been ranked second in standard of living among all cities in Spain[citation needed], and first as to green areas and cultural places per capita.

The city is served by Vitoria Airport. Currently the only airline with normal passenger services is Iberia operated by Air Nostrum with flights to Madrid and Barcelona.

Executive airline NordJet [2] has services from Vitoria-Gasteiz

Culture

[[File:|thumb|left|220px|Streets in Vitoria-Gasteiz]]

Music

Vitoria-Gasteiz hosts two annual international music festivals:

Local festivities

The Andre Maria Zuriaren jaiak festival is celebrated every year from the 4th to the 9th of August in honour of the patron saint of the city, and features a programme of special events, activities and free open-air concerts.

Universities

The liberal arts section of the University of the Basque Country is based in the south part of the city. Focusing on history and linguistics, the Álava campus is also home of the Faculty of Pharmacy, as well as some other technical, teaching and business related degrees.

[[File:|thumb|upright|Casa de Pando]]

File:Krea
Krea Gasteiz monastery

Its origins date back from 1847 when the first Escuela Normal de Maestros de Álava was established. A whole other number of colleges and faculties were adopted in 1978 by the emerging University of the Basque Country.

Urbanism

File:Vitoria - San Pedro
St Peter church

[[File:|thumb|Andre Maria Zuriaren Jaiak festival]] From an urban point of view, Vitoria-Gasteiz is a mid-size city, the line of which is adapted to the traditions of each historical moment. The medieval town is set in almond-shaped around the hill foundation, which by its privileged position as the only elevation in the plain of Álava , became a defensive stronghold coveted by the kingdoms of Navarra and Castilla during the 11th and 12th centuries. The walled enclosure is prior to the war between Castile and Navarre, and is due to the work undertaken by the Conde de Álava, bastard son of King Ramiro I of Aragon, in the 11th century, to defend the village. The defensive walls of the old Gasteiz were built between the years 1050 and 1100. Because of that first defensive role, its narrow streets and bleak surrounding the oval originating in compact rows of houses parallel to each other and with respect to the medieval walls (of which only some sections are preserved and gates). Between the years 1854 and 1856 was an event that changed the face of the city. An epidemic of cholera was the excuse for tearing down the gates, which were strong houses, which provided access to the streets run (home of the strong Nanclares), Shoe (home of the strong Soto) and Blacksmith (home of the strong Abendaño) and which served to protect every neighborhood association. At the entrance of the current Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, was the site of Santa Clara, who was joined by the wall at the Convent of San Antonio. In the nineteenth and the recognition that the city was being small, an expansion was planned in neoclassical style, and little by little planning for the city was giving Vitoria-Gasteiz its current form. Almonds medieval, as is often called, has many architectural jewels such as Bendaña Palace, headquarters of the Fournier Museum of cards (the years erected in 1525 by Juan Lopez de Arrieta, on the site occupied by the tower before defensive erected by Maeztu). The Palace Escoriaza-Esquivel, the S XV, built by Claudio de Arziniega. The Villa Suso, which dwelt Martin Salinas, Ambassador Carlos V (16th century). And the greatest treasure of Vitoria-Gasteiz: the Cathedral of Santa Maria (Old Cathedral).

The history of the Cathedral of Santa Maria (popularly known as Old Cathedral), is itself a synthesis of the history of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Built on the cemetery of the primitive village of Vascon Gasteiz (which today can be accessed through the excavations), the church of Santa Maria collapsed with the fire of 1202, and Alfonso VIII of Castile (who had conquered the square just 2 years earlier), ordered to rebuild the city and lift at the site of a former church that was to serve two very different purposes: to save souls and store weapons. Thus was born the Cathedral of Santa Maria, yet church, a temple-like fortress that served as entry to the city. The project was changing with the centuries, so that each change was made without taking into account the above, this was the case in the 15th century (when the church became collegiate), and finally in the sixties, when it was decided reversing the works of strengthening of the external walls and widen the windows purely for aesthetic reasons. What we ended up forcing the temple to close for fear it will collapse during the Masses. Today the cathedral again be open, and offers visitors a unique experience: a trip through time in layers. Since the remnants of the original village, following the current Vitoria-Gasteiz, to the Gothic redesign of the mid-20th century, passing through foundations of more than a millennium old, and plans Romanesque and Gothic, all perfectly discernible by the color of materials used at each stage. A unique opportunity in the world to pass through the shortcut history, in a temple for their peculiar characteristics, and multiple roles throughout his life, has become the main attraction of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Ken Follett, author of " The Pillars of the Earth, "he said after his stay in the city that Santa Maria was one of the three most interesting cathedrals of the world[citation needed].

Since the Middle Ages to the 18th century, the population of Vitoria-Gasteiz and the layout of its streets remained almost unchanged. And it was not until the late 18th century, when growth requires the expansion of the city outside. To solve the problem of the difference in height between the original kernel on the hill, and the plain below, the arches are erected and the Plaza Nueva, which soften the transition to a much needed expansion neoclassical (s. XIX) of wide streets and gardens, whose greatest exponent is in the street detail, the Park of La Florida, and the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, with its facade pulled viewpoints.

Finally, the new quarters of Vitoria-Gasteiz are built in accordance with a development plan that favors parks, recreation areas and the quality of life. Reconciling keeping the identity of the city with the need to accommodate the growing population. Drawing on the district of San Martin, first planned new neighborhood in this way, the city has increased its outreach to a fast growth in recent years concentrated in the neighborhoods of Lakua, Salburua and Zabalgana. The city of Vitoria-Gasteiz has received several international awards for its urban development. Special mention is called green ring, a network of parks and green spaces around the city, destined to be the lung of the future Vitoria-Gasteiz, and link the city with the countryside. This ring is formed by the time the parks Salburua, Zabalgana, Armentia, Rio Alegria, Gamarra, Abetxuko, and Atxa-Landaberde, although still lacking in areas integrated into this ring.

Transport links

By road: Vitoria is connected both with the rest of the Basque capital with Madrid, because it is step by the city of NI. There are two motorways in their municipality and a future motorway service: The NI Madrid-Irun, The A-620 Vitoria-Altube and its connection with the A-68 Logroño-Bilbao, and as of the end of 2009, the new AP -1 Between Vitoria and Eibar attempt to alleviate the problems caused by congested traffic on the NI.

By rail: The Madrid-Irun in Vitoria is one of their most important stops. Half a dozen trains each day linking the city with the Spanish capital, highlighting the service Alvia (At 10.09 in the morning), which, via Valladolid, uses the infrastructure of the AVE to arrive in 3 hours 43 minutes to Madrid. There are also great connections with all Castile and Leon, Galicia, Catalonia, Alicante, Asturias, Lisbon and Paris. Among the deficits fit to highlight the lack of rail services connecting with Andalusia (none) and the lack of rail link with Bilbao. In 2013 is expected to inaugurate a high-speed line to communicate with Vitoria Madrid, Bilbao and San Sebastian among other cities.

By air: The airport in Vitoria, was built to be the major airport in northern Spain[citation needed] and replacing the airport in Bilbao, but failed to consolidate itself as such. The low number of passenger flights contrasts with the fact that it has established itself as a cargo airport, being the fourth largest airport with freight transport in Spain.

Sports

Sister cities

References

External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:Municipalities in Álava


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Vitoria-Gasteiz is in the heart of the Basque Country in Spain, 66 km south of Bilbao, 114 km from San Sebastian and 351 km from Madrid. It is the provincial capital of Alava.

Vitoria-Gasteiz, Plaza Nueva
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Plaza Nueva

Understand

Vitoria-Gasteiz has been the political capital of the Basques since the 20th May 1980. Spanish is the main language, but knowledge of Basque is common. English is not widely spoken. The Basque language is called Euskera and nobody knows exactly the origin of this language.

Visitor information: Tourist office at Plaza General Loma 1 is open daily from 9AM till 7PM, closed at midday.

Get in

You can visit Vitoria-Gasteiz coming from Bilbao Airport (Loiu) on a toll road or using public transport (Autobuses La Unión). Vitoria-Gasteiz has a small Airport (Aeropuerto de Foronda) 8 km north of the town with a few flight destinations.

Currently the air fares are very low. There is a shuttle bus between the airport and the bus station in the centre of town, which seems timed to coincide with the major arrivals and departures, and cost €3 each way.

There is a left-luggage facility at the Coach Station (to the east of the city centre). Cost is roughly €1 per bag per day, and you can leave luggage for several days.

Get around

Situated in the south of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz is a city without sea. To the North, at only 66 km is the city of Bilbao, and at 114 km the beautiful city of San Sebastian. The South part of Alava province, is called La Rioja Alavesa, where the visitor can test ones of the best red wines of the world. There are a lot of touristic tours, and you can find more information about in the following web: [1]. The province situated in the South of Alava is La Rioja, where the cultivation of wine is one of the most important attractions.

Vitoria-Gasteiz itself is a very small city. Virtually everything you will want to see is reachable on foot. If you do not fancy walking there are several other proposals to move around:

By bike

Free bike hiring service in several spots through the city: [2]

By bus

Tuvisa. Official information on times and bus network (only in Spanish): [3]

By taxi

Taxi Iberia [4]

Radio Taxi Gasteiz Santa Mª, 9-3º 01001 Vitoria-Gasteiz Tel. 945 27 35 00 Fax. 945 27 36 99 rtaxi@rtaxi.e.telefonica.net

Patxi Taxi Tel. 656 710 167 servicios@patxitaxi.com [5]

Vitoria-Gasteiz, Old Center Town
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Old Center Town

The city has an ancient town center where most of the streets still have the medieval name of the jobs that was used to be in each one of the streets (Herrería, Zapatería...) In the Town Center you can find the Cathedral of Santa María, that is one of the most important attractions of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Guided visits can be made, and it´s recommended to make the reservation via Cathedral Santa María web page.

  • Basque Museum of Contemporary Art, in Calle Francia, number 24. The last Collections of Basque Art. The museum is located close to the old center town.
  • Artium Museum, [6]
  • Catedral de Santa María, [7]
  • Fine Arts Museum, [8]
  • Fournier Playing Card Museum Cuchillería, 54.
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Fiestas de la Blanca
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Fiestas de la Blanca

The Festivals:

  • Night of 27th April and day of 28th April. San Prudencio Saint. On the eve bands of trumpeters, clarinet players and drummers meet in the Plaza de la Provincia and play in an open-air concert. Afterwards parade of drummers and txistu players around the city center. 28th. Visit to Armentia's Saint Prudencio church. Eat of scrambled perretxikos (mushrooms found locally) and snails. Extremely popular.
  • Mid July. Festival de Jazz de Vitoria Gasteiz. - [9]
  • 4th August. "Fiestas de La Blanca". One week long.
  • August/September. Azkena Rock Festival. [10]

Move around to see the atmosphere! City Center Early at night: Plaza Virgen Blanca, Calle Dato, Calle Postas Later at night (11 and later): Medieval Area Main streets: Zapatería, Cuesta de San Francisco, Cuchillería, Pintorería, Nueva Dentro, Nueva Fuera Ensanche Area Main streets: Calle Dato, Calle Postas, Calle San Prudencio.

Buy

Two new shopping malls were opened in the north of Vitoria on the road going to Bilbao comprising grocery, DIY, cinemas, bars and everything else you need.

  • El Boulevard [11]
  • Centro Comercial Lakua Duque de Wellingtong, 6.

Or go to the traditional small shops in the town center such as Calle Dato. This is the place where you find Vitoria-Gasteiz's best shops and bars as well.

Leather and shoes is always an option in Spain and especially in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Ayestaran located in Calle Dato is a place where you can find nice stuff. Sadly, it is expensive.

Corte Ingles is Spain's flagship retailer and the store is in the center of the town: you can probably find everything you want, but it is pricey by Spanish standards.

Eat

Traditionally you can have a few small drinks in the bars around the town center and enjoy this with some tapas. Usually every bar has one speciality and it is interesting to taste them and then you go to another bar. The boiling point for bar visits is at 2PM just before lunch time. The Basque cuisine is one of the best in Spain and Vitoria has restaurants in all categories.

  • Bar Saburdi located on Calle Dato is one of the most famous bar in Vitoria-Gasteiz. You can find a great variety of small snacks and everything is of the highest quality. The pancito con jamon is excellent.
  • Bar Usokari located on Calle Dato, 25. Close to Saburdi and from the same owners, but with very different stuff. Lots of different pintxos along its long bar.
  • Bar Sagartoki located on Calle Prado, 18 has been awarded with the best Spanish pintxos bar in 2006. Freshly made creative pintxos. Do not miss the plane Spanish Omelet pincho. Around 2.50 EUR/unit. www.sagartoki.es
  • Bar Toloño located on Cuesta San Francisco. Recently renovated renowed of having delicious and unusual pintxos.

Drink

Around the town center there is a bar every few meters. Some are designed for younger people other do all ages.

  • Café Dublin Plaza de la Virgen Blanca. Good music, good ambient and partner of Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival. [12]
  • Hotel Dato, Calle Dato 28, is a bargain in the centre of town. Rooms are basic, befitting the 2 star rating, but clean and well-equipped, and the public areas are astonishing in their quirky display of art nouveau objects and decor.
  • Hotel Almoneda, Calle Florida 7, a medium size hotel right in the center of the city with warm and friendly staff. [13]
  • Ondoloin apartments, Rioja street, nº15, +34657738379, [14]. checkin: 13:30; checkout: 11:00. Accommodation in apartments (loft) of 45 square metres located in the centre of Vitoria Gasteiz, (Rioja street). 2nd floor in a very quiet house of apartments. 2 apartments, total capacity: 7 people. Apartments fully furnished and suitable for 2, 3 or 4 people. Located in the main area for tapas, bars and restaurants in Vitoria. Within 5 minutes walking distance from the Virgen Blanca square, the medieval town, La Florida Park and the Artium museum. 10 minutes walking distance from the historic cathedral of Santa María.Close to the Universities. 75. (42 50 35.611,2 40 5.5098) edit
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