Thursday, September 25, 2008

From Ziortza to Markina

This article comes to us via EITb:

Land of pelotaris

Between Ziortza-Bolibar and Markina-Xemein


The lands that saw the birth of The Liberator Simon Bolivar’s ancestors, the ‘Basque Pelota University’, a collegiate church and much more...

A collegiate church that is one of the most important jewels of the Basque religious and architectural heritage. The ‘Basque Pelota University’, the court in which more players have trained and played all around the world. And the lands that saw the birth of The Liberator Simón Bolivar’s ancestors. We find all this and much more in the localities of Ziortza-Bolibar and Markina-Xemein –one only locality until last year– in the Bizkaia’s Comarca (Land) of Lea Artibai.

We start at the Collegiate Church of Ziortza, also known as Santa Maria de Cenarruza. A two-kilometre path, before arriving at the locality of Bolibar, leads us to this collegiate, which was an important hospital and a monastery of the Coast Road to Santiago. It was built in the year 968 and, after being abandoned for years and suffered a fire, it has been recovered and occupied by the Cistercian Community of the Monastery of La Oliva, in Navarre. This site consists of a 14th-century church, a Renaissance cloister, and two access gates with different coats of arms.

We go down to Bolibar through the same path that has led us to the Collegiate (BI-2224). Crossing this locality, different monuments devoted to Simon Bolivar tell us that his family was from these lands.Besides the museum named after the Liberator, we find the first monument erected in his honour in Spain and paid by the Government of Venezuela.

We must also stand out the Church of Santo Tomás, dating from the 10th century and rebuilt during the 17th and 18th centuries. Leaving Ziortza-Bolibar behind –the locality adopted this name after the separation from Markina-Xemein last year–, the BI-633 road leads us to Markina-Xemein, famous due to its Basque Pelota court, known as the ‘Basque Pelota University’ because many pelotaris (Basque Pelota players), who now play all around the world, were trained here. Nevertheless, Markina is much more than a Pelota court. The point of reference is a triangular park, known as the Prado, the axis of most of the activities in the locality. To the right of this triangle, we find the Pelota court. On the other side, just opposite the court, the Church-Convent of La Merced. And, closing the triangle, the town’s old quarter which is made up by parallel streets crossed by the Zear Street.

There are other interesting buildings: the Antxia Tower-House, the Ansotegi Palace, the Town Hall, and, among many others, the Baroque Andonaegi Palace.Near the park, crossing the Xemein Avenue, we will get to the Xemein Quarter, annexed to Markina since 1952. There are outstanding tower-houses: Barroeta, Bidarte, Ubilla, Kareaga and Ugarte; nevertheless, if something must attract our attention, that is the Church devoted to Our Lady of La Asunción. The biggest church in Bizkaia is a monastery that became a Renaissance temple in the 16th century. Near the church, we will find a classic graveyard, with neo-Greek and neo-Egyptian elements on the gravestones.

I have been to the area and I recommend you visit it whenever you have a chance.

.... ... .

No comments:

Post a Comment