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El Duranguesado region: Noble Villages

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  • Puerta de Santa Ana gate, Durango © Turespaña

    Puerta de Santa Ana gate, Durango © Turespaña

  • Plaza del Ayuntamiento square, Elorrio © Turespaña

    Plaza del Ayuntamiento square, Elorrio © Turespaña

  

A journey back into nature and history

In the heart of the Basque Country, a historic region has carefully preserved the artistic and architectural heritage of its past. Land of beautiful landscapes, which was the birthplace of noble medieval families, whose large houses and palaces still stand today in the towns of Elorrio and Durango.
 

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We'll start this route in the municipality of Galdakao, where we'll find the Romanesque-Gothic Church of Andra Mari, in the Elexalde neighbourhood, renovated according to the Renaissance style of the early 16th century. Afterwards we'll take the N-634 road that goes along the valley of the Ibaizabal River inland, to the municipality of Amorebieta-Etxano. There we'll visit the Gothic-Renaissance Church of Santa María de la Asunción, with a Baroque tower (18th century) and a Rococo main altarpiece (18th century).


Scattered around the neighbourhoods that make up the municipality we'll be able to discover many stately buildings (farmhouses, palaces) and a route that will take us round 17 rural chapels (15th-16th centuries), including the Chapel of San Miguel de Dudea.


It we follow the same road for 12 kilometres, we'll get to the town of Durango, capital of El Duranguesado. In the old town we'll see religious buildings like the churches of Santa María de Uribarri, Santa Ana and San Pedro de Tabira; and civil and stately buildings such as the Town Hall, Santa Ana Arch, the palaces of Etxezarreta and Olalde, and the towers of Arandoño and Lariz. The Cross Museum exhibits the Kurutziaga Cross, a splendid 15th-century Gothic cross.
In Durango we'll turn onto the BI-632 road, which enters the valley of Atxondo. We'll get to the Urkiola Nature Reserve, a splendid protected area with hills and forests, a paradise for hikers and climbers, which ends in the legendary Anboto hill.
The following place to visit is the town of Elorrio, with houses with coats of arms and noble palaces built in the 17th-18th centuries.


It is worth spending some time in this town and visiting the Baroque Town Hall building, the Gothic-Renaissance Basilica of La Purísima Concepción, and the three palaces belonging to the Arespakotxaga family. We'll walk through the Mediodía or Don Tello doorway and past the palaces of the Marquis of Rola or Urkizu, Igartza, Arabio, Iturri, Otsa-Lekerika and Casajara or Zearsolo. The route will be completed with a visit to the Baroque Monastery of Santa Ana and the Church of San Agustín de Etxebarria.


In the municipality we can also find the important necropolis of Argiñeta, the remains of a medieval town with tombs and funeral steles, dating from the 8th-9th centuries.


Then we'll travel 10 kilometres north and we'll get to Berriz, with its medieval houses with towers - Berriz, Lariz and Arria - which were later transformed into Renaissance palaces (16th century); many old manor houses; the Shrine of Santa María de Andikoa (late Gothic, 16th century) and the Parish Church of San Juan Evangelista (16th-17th centuries).
Our route will finish at the town of Iurreta, very near Durango, where we'll find the Church of San Miguel Arcángel (Neoclassical, 18th-19th centuries), the Goikolea palace (17th century), Town Hall building, and the Arandia bridge (Baroque, 18th century), on the Ibaizabal River.

 

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What to see on the route

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