Close to the Urkiola Natural Park and the mythical and legendary Mount Anboto, it is located in the geographical centre of the País Vasco, in a beautiful valley surrounded by green mountains, on the left bank of the Ibaizabal River. Although the time of foundation of the town of Durango is not known for sure, as it does not have a Town Charter, historians place it at the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century by one of the Sanchos, the Sabio or the Fuerte, kings of Navarra who also founded San Sebastián and Vitoria at that time. In the year 1195, after the occupation of the whole County of Durango by King Alfonso VIII of Castilla, the town became part of the Crown of Castilla.
It was not until the sixteenth century when the town began to be called Durango, because in the confirmation of the jurisdiction in 1372 by the infant don Juan is named as Tavira de Durango, Tabira was the town itself and Durango was the name of the entire region, later and until the sixteenth century Tabira would be called Villanueva de Durango. The town, which was governed by common law, had its representation in the Boards of Guernica. The 15th century marked the town of Durango with two important events, the revolts of the banderizos, and above all the event known as the heretics of Durango. The following centuries were marked by natural disasters and epidemics, disputes and wars, against the French, the Carlist Wars... at the end of the 19th century Durango began to have an important industrial flourishing which, after the events and disasters caused by the Spanish Civil War, was implemented from the fifties of the last century, making Durango a modern and industrially advanced town with companies dedicated to R+D.
Durango, the capital of the Duranguesado valley, is immersed in some places of singular beauty that provide a rich natural heritage, so that hiking and mountaineering are very present in the activities that the town offers, and having the Natural Park of Urkiola, an area of great beauty and geographical and scenic interest, so close, these sports are insured. But Durango keeps between its streets and buildings a no less attractive monumental, cultural and historical heritage. The church of Santa Ana, a Baroque construction dating from 1722, was built where there used to be another 15th-century temple; the arch of Santa Ana is the only existing gate of the six that the old wall had. They are the two most significant elements of the square of the same name where they are located, in this square you can also see the old mill of Santa Ana, which is attached to the arch of Santa Ana, the Arribi palace, with a beautiful Renaissance front, the house Zabala, and the palace of Lejarza, XVI century. The basilica of Santa María Uribarri in the heart of the town, was built in the fifteenth century attached to the Arandoño tower that was used as a bell tower, its porticoed atrium dates from the sixteenth century, is the largest in the País Vasco.
On the outskirts of the town and considered the first Christian temple in Vizcaya-Bizkaia, the church of San Pedro de Tabira is located where previously there was a medieval church, its current construction is from the fifteenth century. In the Tower of Lariz it is believed that Isabel la Catolica slept when in 1483 she swore the privileges of Vizcaya and Merindad de Durango. The palace of Etxezarreta, whose façade features a sundial, houses the Museum of Art and History. The Town Hall, one of the oldest in Bizkaia, was built in the 16th century. The hermitage of La Magdalena, built in the 17th century, where the old church of La Magdalena and the hospital of San Lázaro were located, its portico is reminiscent of funeral chapels. In a beautiful environment is the district of Pinondo, next to the river Mañaira, next to the bridge you can see the palace of Pinondo 1855, which was never home, the eighteenth century palace Astarloa has a shield of the year 1773; next to the river, the Errekondo house, known as Santanoste, is one of the oldest buildings in Durango; palaces, squares, fountains, sculptures... together with a modern city with all that this entails; Durango offers the visitor a lot, so walking around and enjoying it calmly is almost obligatory.
Durango celebrates its patron saint festivities in honour of San Fausto on 13 October. The different neighbourhoods that make up Durango also celebrate their own minor festivities.
The first Basque Book and Record Fair was held in 1965 and was organised by the then recently constituted cultural association Gerediaga Elkartea, which was born with the initial purpose of recovering, studying and disseminating the history, culture and folklore of Duranguesado. The Durango Basque Book and Record Fair, which has become the most important cultural milestone in the País Vasco, is held at the beginning of December.
In the Kurutzesantu Museum you can admire the Kurutziaga Cross, which is a Gothic cross, with the category of Artistic Historical Monument, erected at the end of the 15th century it is said that as an expiatory monument of the heretics of Durango, it was not in vain erected in the place, Kurutziaga, where heretics and witches were burned. This cross tells a story, in its lower part is represented sin and punishment, a little above the Church and the Gospel, and reaching the cruise is the Redemption, ie the hope of Forgiveness and Salvation.
The Duranguesado, in the lordship of Vizcaya, in the third decade of the fifteenth century lived the ideological movements of the heretics of Durango, whose history has come to the present day. Between 1437 and 1441 the Franciscan friar Alonso de Mella preached his doctrine with a base similar to the Brotherhood of the Free Spirit, in which he defended the community of goods and women, all things would be common, from particular goods to women, he asked for a new interpretation of the Bible and preached against marriage. With this doctrine announcing the coming of the Age of the Holy Spirit or of Perfect Freedom, with a coming period of grace and perfection for man, everything was lived in community, everything and everyone was equally of everyone and for everyone and in this community the church and its representatives had no value. This ideology had many followers in Durango, mainly among the most needy and many women, who lived in a painful situation. By 1445 the heresy had been suffocated and many of his followers and sympathizers died at the stake.
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Several roads pass through the town of Durango, including the N-634 and the AP-8 that connect Durango with Bilbao and San Sebastián, among other towns. Durango can also be reached from Vitoria, passing through Leguitio and Otxandio among other towns. Durango is also connected by road as well as with the neighbouring towns of Elorrio and Mondragón.
The bus station of Durango is located in Landako etorbidea, 7 and it is reached by the regular lines of different companies that connect it with different localities and capitals.
The main train services that arrive at Durango station located in Geltoki kalea, 6 are those that connect it with Amorebieta, Euba, Landako, Berriz, Zaldibar-Ermua and the one that covers the route between Bilbao and San Sebastián.
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