Todays’ highlight are in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of the Basque Country, whose Old Quarter is located on a hill dominated by the Cathedral of Santa María. The Old Cathedral, built along the 13th and 14th centuries upon a defensive wall, involves an extraordinary case of intervention under the “Open for works” plan, which was recognized with the European Union Europa Nostra Award.
The Santa María Foundation is led by the local Bishopric and the Provincial and Town Councils. All donations collected are invested on the restoration of the Cathedral in order not only to recover its original Gothic architecture and religious function, but also to broaden its uses, becoming more cultural, tourist, social and museistic so that its future preservation and maintenance are guaranteed. The visit will be introduced to our participants by an outstanding guide ot The Santa María Foundation. After this welcome, you will enjoy a stroll throughout this Gothic temple to experience and discover the church values that inspired Ken Follet for his novel World without end.
Drawing the most recognizable city skyline are, as well as Santa Maria Cathedral, the towers of the churches of San Miguel, San Vicente and San Pedro. They will all be spotted on the tour through the streets of the Medieval Quarter built-up in an almond-shaped network. It is the first settlement in the city, dated back to more than 8 centuries ago, when Sancho VI "The wise" founded the city.
The names of its streets recall the artisan traders who used to work and live there (Correría, Herrería, Zapatería, Cuchillería, Pintorería...) and host the oldest and most singular buildings in the city: Behind the cathedral, for instance, you will be able to admire the Portalón, a nice medieval brick inn, and the tower of Anda. Nearby two magnificent Reinassance palaces stand out: the Escoriza-Esquivel palace and the Montehermoso palace, the latter now refurbished into a cultural centre. Also in the old part, we find the Casa del Cordón, a house with a beautiful facade, the Bendaña palace (Museo de Naipes Fournier) of Gothic-Renaissance style, Villasuso palace and Los Arquillos viewpoint.
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