Monday, October 31, 2022

Portugalete, Spain

About 14 km (8 miles) north west of Bilbao, across the river from Getxo, is Portugalete.  The city is part of the Bilbao greater metropolitan area and it is home to about 46.000 people.

Portugalete was founded in 1322 so this year it celebrates its 700th anniversary.  

In the 1300's, its port competed with Bilbao but fell behind when Bilbao's port was grated trade privileges in 1511.  

In the 19th century it became a summer getaway for England's bourgeoisie.

Like Getxo, the Vizcaya Bridge is a major attraction.  The world's first transporter bridge which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

The Basilica of Santa Maria was built on the site of an existing church.  Construction began in 1492 and it was consecrated in 1580.  

The Gothic church became a minor basilica in 1951 and in 1984 it was declared a national asset of cultural interest.

The town hall, located at Solar Plaza, doubles as the office of the municipal police.  The neoclassical building was completed in 1883.

Torre Salazar is a four-storey tower that was built around 1380.  Originally it was a defensive complex, with the first floor serving as a prison and the second floor being a residence.  Today there is a town museum and a restaurant.

La Canilla is the old railways station that was built in 1890 on land reclaimed from the sea.  Today it is the town tourist office.

The Convent of Santa Clara was founded in 1614.  Over the years it has been destroyed and rebuilt a few times.  Today it houses the town's cultural centre.

Museo Rialia is the museum of industry and it is located on the Old Dock.

A widow willed money and land to be used to provide free education for all children, workers and the poor.  So in 1902, Augustinian monks set up a convent and a school.  It was rebuilt in the early 1950s.

Portugalete is a pretty town filled with statues and and makes for a nice little day trip from Bilbao.

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