Thursday, January 25, 2007

Gipuzkoa's Museums

This article about some of the best museums you can visit while in Gipuzkoa comes to us courtesy of EITb:

Basque Museums : three stars in Gipuzkoa

Three museums must be remarked among all the one we find in the Basque region of Gipuzkoa: the Aquarium, the Miramón Kutxaespacio Science Museum and Chillida-Leku Museum.

The Basque museum of yesterday, today and tomorrow has to be the Aquarium in Donostia-San Sebastian which stands on the rocks to one side of La Concha Bay. Ever since it opened in 1928, this museum has been visited by over 10 million people, a figure making it into one of the most popular museums in Spain.

On entering the building, we are met by the enormous skeleton of the last whale caught on the coasts of Gipuzkoa. From then on, an interesting tour explaining the naval history, fishing tackle and how boats were built rubs shoulders with one of the most impressive and best stocked aquariums (with 5,000 species) in Europe.

The star of the visit is the spectacular oceanarium, visited via a 360º methacrylate tunnel, in which we can see sharks, sting rays, turtles and a whole variety of other marine animals. By way of a complement to the Aquarium’s dedication to the sciences of the sea, the nearby Naval Museum reflects the ethnographic aspects of the Basque sea world, which takes its inspiration from the locals’ relationship with the sea.

A recent arrival on the Basque cultural scene is Chillida-Leku Museum, not far from Donostia-San Sebastian, which was conceived according to the modern idea of an open-air museum and designed to bring the visitor into close contact with art. This is "Chillida's place", a space conceived by the author himself as the live exhibition of his work. Outside, among green fields populated by hundred year-old beech trees, oaks and magnolias, stand 40 enormous iron and granite sculptures. Inside the renovated 16th century farmhouse we will find smaller works, sketches, and the author’s first sculptures. This daring creation is a place in which to take a stroll and mingle with the author’s work while trying to understand and interpret or even simply enjoy it.

Likewise in Donostia-San Sebastian is the Miramón Kutxaespacio Science Museum, a modern edifice designed to increase the visitor’s knowledge of science and new technologies. Spread over 8,000 metres, this is an interactive museum intended to simply and educationally transmit the most elementary knowledge of natural sciences. A digital planetarium and an astronomic observatory offer a view of Donostia-San Sebastian never seen before. There are also specific sections dedicated to knowledge of the earth, communication, energy, light, mechanics and other unknown scientific quantities. One of these areas is specially dedicated to children and houses interesting temporary exhibitions.

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