We decided to spend New Year’s Eve in Bilbao, and it was a very good decision. Basque Country has so much to offer, with Vitoria-Gasteiz* as its capital. The population of nearly 250,000 inhabitants makes the capital city peaceful and that’s one of the reasons I liked it so much.
The other reason is the street art. Vitoria-Gasteiz treated us with the perfect dose of art. We went to the tourist information center and asked about things to see. They recommended seeing murals and gave us murals route map. Having a map with the route of street art is pretty cool, right? That’s thanks to Itinerario muralístico de Vitoria-Gasteiz.
‘The IMVG´s primary objective is to produce public works of art by bringing together professional artists and people from all walks of life. Based on a highly participative structure, the IMVG creates murals on the facades of buildings, starting in the medieval quarter of Vitoria-Gasteiz and extending into new neighborhoods over time. The result is a street-level gallery where process and product share equal value’.
In other words, they bring artist together, promote them and even discover new ones by organizing workshops. Some of these walls-full-of-art connect directly with the city. Not only they are parts of the buildings that form Vitoria-Gasteiz but their themes invite you to know it more. For instance one is depicting playing card figures and the city is known for the playing-cards museum (and a card’s factory with quite a long history). Residents of Vitoria-Gasteiz can even share their ideas of new murals! Well, that’s a spirit!
We cherished every moment in that beautiful town. Besides its astonishing street art Vitoria-Gasteiz has beautiful medieval architecture. Our acknowledgements go also to its Belén (nativity scene/ crèche). In Spain you can see many, many Belens in different shapes and forms but Vitorians built their own next to their “New Cathedral”** with a real scale figures of Roman soldiers, shepherds and the rest of Biblical figures and it looked pretty nice. It’s a pity we couldn’t spend more time in Vitoria-Gasteiz! .
* The official name is Vitoria-Gasteiz. Actually Vitoria and Gasteiz are two names of one city, the former in Castillan Spanish and the later in Basque language. It is like calling Brussels “Bruxelles-Brussel” or Dublin “Dublin-Baile Átha Cliath”.
** Article from wikipedia explains that the “New Cathedral” is not actually a cathedral (only the “Old Cathedral” in the old medieval city center deserves such name) but it is nevertheless called like that because it’s a quite big church.