Bilbao (Basque, Bilbo, Bilbao) is a town in the Basque Country, in the north of Spain, the administrative center of the province of Vizcaya. The municipality is located in the district (komarki) of Gran Bilbao. Having a population of more than 353 thousand (2005 data), Bilbao is the largest city of the autonomous community of the Basque Country.

The city of Bilbao, or Bilbo (Bilbao, Bilbo) - the largest settlement and administrative center of the province of Vizcaya, as well as one of the largest ports of the country. The city is located 30 km from the coast, at the mouth of the Nervión River, but its suburbs and port area overlook the Bay of Biscay. In ancient times there was a fishing settlement on the site of Bilbao, but the modern city was founded on June 15, 1300 by Don Diego López de Aro, ruler of Bizkaia. Rich and modern, with an attractive business center, surrounded by gloomy slums and smoke-firing factories, Bilbao is now in the process of recovering from the present collapse of its traditional industry that marked the end of the 20th century. Became unprofitable famous steel mills and shipyards are actively restructuring into conference centers and luxury condominiums, cargo stations are planted with trees, and the chaos of coastal docks and warehouses turns into boulevards and shopping centers. The new metro, the airport and the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the founding of Bilbao (2000) gave a new impetus to the development of the city, which in combination with the famous Basque friendship promises to turn it into one of the best tourist centers on the northern coast of Spain in the near future.

The main attraction point of Bilbao is the famous Guggenheim Museum (Museo Guggenheim de Arte Contemporaneo, the largest collection of the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation). The building dominating the pier opposite the University of Deusto was built in 1997 by the original project of Frank Gary and now contains a rich collection of 20th century art objects. The museum is open from Thursday to Sunday (in July and August also runs on Mondays) from 10.00 to 20.00, admission ticket costs 10.5 euros, special exhibitions - 12.5 euros, for children under 12 years old admission is free. To the west of the museum lie the vast expanses of old docks and warehouses in the Abandoibarra area, which are also being actively rebuilt in accordance with the new concept. Here you can visit the new Zubiarte shopping center, The Museum of Fine Arts, Doña Casilda Iturrizar (Doña Casilda Iturrizar) and the nearby stadium, the Maritimo de Bilbao Museum (an impressive collection dedicated to the history of the port and shipping), as well as the last shipyard The city, rebuilt in the modernist conference center Euskalduna.

Casco Viejo (Old Town) lies on the east bank of the river and has preserved the most important elements of the historical heritage of Bilbao - the City Hall building, the grandiose mansions of the Neguri district, the Gothic Basilica of the Catedral de Santiago (XV century), the elegant arcades of Plaza Nueva, -Anton (XVII cent.), The old district of El Arenal, the church of San Vicente (XV-XVII centuries) with its picturesque garden and the statue of the Virgin Mary, the theater Arriaga opposite the old railway station and the same old cafe La Concordia on the picturesque street Navarre. Honored glory is enjoyed by the Euskal-Museo-Bilbao (Museo-Basco, an extensive collection of Basque archeology, ethnology and history) located in the complex of the old San Andres monastery in the Miquel de Unamuno square. Part of his collection was made in 2007 in a separate collection of the new Museum of Archeology Biscayan, located in the building of the old station Lesam. At the exit of Casco Viejo, it is worth to visit the old market of Art Nouveau-Mercado de la Ribera on the river bank, which offers the best (and freshest!) Seafood and is considered one of the largest covered European markets. In Casco Viejo are concentrated many bars, cafes and restaurants, working, which is a rarity for Spain, to 2.00-2.30.

If you cross the river on the Zubizuri bridge and walk three blocks to Plaza-Funikalar, where the Archangda cable car starts (1931), you can climb to the top of the mountain (770 m), which offers a beautiful view of the city, airport and ocean. Down you can go down on foot, passing through picturesque suburbs, where the luxury of old mansions is combined with the imagination of poor townspeople who decorate their houses sometimes very unusual. The old quarter of Guetxo lies at the mouth of Nervión and can show guests many palaces and luxurious mansions built by wealthy Bilbao residents in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as a bridge erected by the Eiffel project and linking Geco to Portugalete.

At 15 km from the center of Bilbao to the north lies the popular beach area of the Sopelan area (there is also a "wild" beach, and in the area of Playa de Ametara there is a nudist area). 30 km south-east of Bilbao, the lands of the Urquiola Natural Park, covering the slopes of the green mountain massif Durangesado (the highest point - Mount Amboto, 1330 m) begin.

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