Old quarter of Hondarrabia

Old quarter of Hondarrabia

Spain, Guipuzcoa province, Basque Country, Hondarribia (Fuenterrabia)
The Old Quarter is a must-see in Hondarribia. The highlight is its grid street plan, typical of cities founded in the medieval period, as well as its narrow cobbled streets.

The Old Quarter is a must-see in Hondarribia. The highlight is its grid street plan, typical of cities founded in the medieval period, as well as its narrow cobbled streets. The ideal plan is to take a short excursion, starting from Porta Santa Maria, one of the main entrances to the city, and another from Porta San Nicolas, which takes us to Calle Mayor, the main street entirely paved with cobblestones.


This is one of the main entrances to the city. It consisted of many elements such as a drawbridge, gatehouses and even a chapel. All that remains is this simple arch, on the inside of which the gate hinges are still preserved. The city's coat of arms from 1694 stands out prominently above the arch. On the left is the 16th-century Santa Maria Tower.


The buildings' cornices protrude, some double, others single, with carved projections, wrought-iron balconies and coats of arms. In particular, keep an eye on houses #1. 26, 24 and 22. Town Hall at No. 20 in Baroque style (1735); Casadevante House, No. 5, where the terms of the 1638 siege truce were discussed; Casa Zuloaga, no. 8, ancestral home of the Count of Torre Alta, which houses the Historical Archives and the Municipal Library; The Iriarte house (entrance from Tiendas street no. 2) impresses with its facade frame, wooden modules and beams. Ladron de Guevara's house No. 2, with its blue glass-ceramic brick façade, is unique in style.


The parish church of Santa Maria de la Asunción y del Manzano, built on fragments of ancient walls and replacing an earlier Romanesque church. Gothic style with Renaissance elements. Built in the 15th-16th centuries. The 18th-century baroque bell tower belongs to Francisco de Ibero. The oldest part of the church is the north facing side, which is in a fine Gothic style, with a beautiful arch over the entrance. On the left is the primitive coat of arms of the city. Continuing our journey we reach Brecha (Avenida de Javier Ugarte), which offers stunning views of Chingudi Bay. Behind us are the rooms of the Parador, which used to be the rooms of the castle palace. Next to it and down to the road below are the remains of the Bastion of Santiago (16th century).


It was used by the garrison for training with weapons and by the city for proclamations, receptions, bullfights and other folk festivals.


Its primitive construction is attributed to Sancho Abarca of Navarre, and its expansion and strengthening in 1190 to another Navarre king, Sancho the Wise. The discreet facade corresponds to the period of Charles V. It was both a castle and a palace. It had six floors for housing troops, storage rooms, an ammunition and gunpowder warehouse, dungeons and stables. In 1968 it was equipped as a tourist parador (state hotel).


A street with narrow, deep houses. The first floor is of ashlar with lintels for doors and windows. Single or double cornices. Pay attention to building No. 5 from 1757, No. 13 from 1665 and the Mugarreteney House (No. 2).


This is the location of the stately home of the Egiluz family, where, according to tradition, Joanna the Mad, daughter of the Catholic monarchs and Philip the Fair, stayed while traveling from Brussels to Toledo to be proclaimed heir to the throne and spent three days in Hondarribia (1502).


Newly built, beautiful square. There are several art galleries located here. Various open-air cultural events are held here.


One of the city's powder magazines. Built in the 17th century. The structure contains a ashlar vault.


It was built in the 16th century and is one of those that has best preserved its original layout, along with a counter-mine gallery.


The outer gate dates back to the 16th century. A bridge was attached to them, which was partly liftable and partly fixed, to overcome the difference in height between the gate and the moat. The path has recently been restored and is now one of the most practical entrances to the old part of the city. Behind is the ravelin San Nicolas, a superstructure that protected the gate and has recently been restored. The inner gate, the remains of an old Gothic gate, belongs to the medieval city wall. This is where San Nicolas Street ends, leading down from the Plaza de Armas.


Its strategic location meant that it was subject to fierce attacks during the many sieges the city endured. Built in the 16th century, it has been partially restored under the direction of the architect M. Manzano Moniz. Along the path called Murrua we can see the thickness of the walls.


These are visible remains of the wall that surrounded the city in the Middle Ages, built from limestone masonry. A medieval wall is present along the entire perimeter, but is hidden by current buildings.


This is a well called the Frenchman's Well, the construction of which dates back to the 16th century. The walled city, often under siege, had a large number of public and private wells. It is 15 meters deep and always contains water, even in the driest periods.


A distinctive feature of this street is the building belonging to the family of Antonio de Ubilla, first Marquis of Rivas, native of Hondarribia. Also note building no. 4, with the coat of arms of the Arsu family.


It still retains its primitive layout with narrow, deep buildings separated by firewalls.


A street with interesting buildings, ground floors with voluminous stones and lintels. The upper floors protrude from the walls of the first floor. It is worth highlighting Rameri House, no. 16, headquarters of the Association of Friends of the History of Hondarribia and the future museum of the city.


One of the most typical in the city. Its name recalls the times of guilds. In addition, there are two more streets: Canicería (Butchers) and Platería (Serebryaniki).


This is one of the oldest streets. At the far end is the house of Palencia, also called Echevestena, of medieval origin. Cristobal Rojas y Sandoval was born here in 1502. He made an ecclesiastical career, becoming Archbishop of Seville. He was chaplain to Charles V and protector of Saint Teresa of Jesus. He is buried in the Collegiate Church of Lerma (Burgos). The city of Hondarribia erected a statue of him opposite his birthplace, in the square that bears his name.


The last one built (17th century). A casino was built in its interior in the 19th century, which is now a day center for seniors known as the Zaharra Casino.


The wall around the Old Quarter is one of the most striking evidence of the city's medieval origins. Its layout has been expanded several times due to the development of the city.
Significant construction work to strengthen the wall was carried out in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Proof of this fact are the towers, bastions, defensive ditches and drawbridges that were built to protect those who lived on the hill. Access to the space between the walls was through two gates - the Santa Maria and San Nicolas gates, in front of each of which there was a drawbridge. Both still stand today.
Beginning in the 17th century, the walled area was expanded with the construction of the ravelins of San Nicolas and Guevara, as well as the counter-scarp.
Thick and high stone walls, built from the limestone of Mount Yaizkibel, surrounded the city until the end of the 18th century.
The Tower of Santa Maria, the Royal Bastion, the Fortress of San Nicolas and the Bastion of Santiago are structures that have survived to this day. However, the same cannot be said for the Magdalene Bastion, the remains of which can be found below ground level in today's urban landscape.
You can comfortably walk along the entire walled enclosure, appreciating the strength and size of the fortification. Traveling from Porta Santa Maria towards the Guernica Gardens, you will find the best preserved sections of the wall.

Source: hondarribiaturismo

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