Bilbao is a city in northern Spain and the capital of the Basque Country. Located near the Bay of Biscay and surrounded by fertile landscapes with forests, mountains and beaches. Bilbao is the heart of the pulsating north of Spain, a large industrial center and industrial port. The city does not shine with ancient architecture and ancient monuments but compensates for these shortcomings with museums and delicious cuisine. The most popular tourist attraction in Bilbao is the Museum of Contemporary Art with innovative contemporary architecture and large collections of renowned artists.

Bilbao is located at the mouth of the Nervyon River which flows into the Bay of Biscay which is a part of the Atlantic Ocean. The city is located in a cozy valley at the junction of the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains. The climate is temperate oceanic. The proximity of the Atlantic contributes to the mild climate. In summer the average temperature is 25-26 degrees. The heat above +35 is quite rare. In winter the average temperature ranges from 5 to 7 degrees. Rainfall is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year.
History
In ancient times a fishing village was located on the site of the modern city. Bilbao was founded in 1300 by the ruler of Biscay. The new city gained wide privileges and quickly turned into one of the most important shopping centers of the Northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. The closest trade links were with the ports of Flanders and the United Kingdom . In 1602 Bilbao became the capital of Biscay. Throughout its history it has been virtually unaffected by internal conflicts. Bilbao suffered much more from the wars with France . In 1835 the city was besieged by the Karstists but was repelled.
Notable sights
Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) is one of the most atmospheric areas in the city. Located on the right bank of the Nervon River.

Bilbao old town The heart of the old quarter was previously surrounded by walls and consisted of three parallel streets. Later the walls were demolished and four streets perpendicular to the river were built and together with the first three make up the old part of the city.

In the northern part of the historic center is Arenal Street which is the main thoroughfare. There is an elegant late 19th-century neo-baroque theater on the de Arriaga Square.

Not far from La Ribera Market and the former City Hall is one of Bilbao's main attractions - the Church of San Anton and the bridge of the same name. The church was built in the Gothic style between 1546 and 1548 although its beautiful facade is a Renaissance style and the bell tower is Baroque. Inside are interesting works by Luis Paret, Manuel Losada and Guiot de Bogrant. Nearly three hundred years before the first church was built on this site there was a warehouse built on a cliff next to the ford where caravans loaded with wool from Castile crossed the river. In the 14th century the first city fortifications were built here fragments of which can still be seen.

Church of St. Nicholas - this beautiful church has a baroque facade and unique interior. Its foundation dates from the 14th century but the building was completely rebuilt in 1756. A beautiful carved altar and some paintings are the works of Juan de Mena.

South is Nueva Square with elegant arcade buildings and many restaurants and cafes with open terraces. Basilica de Begonia is one of the most symbolic churches of Bilbao. Located on a picturesque hill above the old town. The building dates from the 16th century and contains the image of the Virgin Mary of Begonia the patron saint of Bilbao. The easiest way to get to the Basilica is by an elevator from St. Nicholas. Walking up the hill takes about 15 minutes and rewards you with beautiful views of the city.

The Cathedral of Santiago is located in the center of the old town. The first church was built in the 14th century. The original building was damaged in 1571 by fire and rebuilt in the 19th century in a Gothic style. The cathedral has a grand interior with three naves and vaulted ceilings. Particularly beautiful are the choirs with bizarre Gothic details. The crypt includes the remaining structure of the original church.
Museums
The Guggenheim Museum is Bilbao's most famous museum housed in a building that is considered a groundbreaking example of 20th-century architecture. The building was designed by architect Frank Gary and built in 1997. The 24,000 square meters of exhibit space includes world-class contemporary art collections. Main masterpieces: abstract works by Mark Rothko, paintings by Willem de Kooning, Anselm Kiefer, Francesco Clemente, Jim Dean and many others.

The Museum of Fine Arts is an outstanding collection of European masters of the XIV-XVII centuries, Dutch and Flemish paintings of the XV-XVII centuries, Spanish paintings of the XIV and XV centuries. The whole hall is dedicated to the works of Basque artists, including 22 paintings by landscape painter Dario de Rejos.

Vasco Museum is an archaeological museum where you can discover the unique culture and history of the Basque Country. Situated in a beautiful Baroque building in the heart of the old town, the museum offers an overview of archeology, ethnography and history.
Food and drinks
Bilbao is famous for its cuisine. Traditional Basque cuisine is seasonal in nature paying great attention to the freshness and quality of the ingredients. The tapas here are called Pintxos. Bilbao gastronomy is part of Basque cuisine but it has its own peculiarities. Only here do bollo de mantequilla (bun with butter) and carolina pie. Popular are pisto a la bilbaina (onions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, ham, cut into small pieces), Ranero Club cod (cod in wine), fried vegetables with meat and egg, porrusalda (stew). Due to the location (almost on the ocean), you can try many dishes of the freshest seafood.
How to visit
Bilbao Airport is located near the city. It is served by most major European carriers. You can reach the city center by bus Bizkaibus A3247 which departs every half hour from the arrival hall. Along the way it makes three stops: Gran Via Viajes Ecuador, Plaza Moyua and Almeda Recalde. Bilbao has good bus and train connections with most major cities in Spain and autonomy including Madrid and Barcelona . Getting to Bilbao by bus is often cheaper than taking the train. The bus service is more regular. The city's public transport is represented by subways, suburban trains and buses. Bilbao Metro has two lines.
Shopping
Bilbao can offer good shopping. One of the main shopping areas of the city - Gran Vía. There are various establishments and shops, banks, supermarkets and souvenir shops. Another popular shopping area is Casco Viejo the historic city center. On the waterfront is the largest market in Bilbao - La Ribera. In the area of ​​Guggenheim Square there are many shops with antiques, books, souvenirs.
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