In the province of Vizcaya-Bizkaia, being one of the highest municipalities in the Busturialdea-Urdaibai region, it is located in the rural heart of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, in the foothills of the northern part of Mount Oiz. Mendata is a town made up of different neighbourhoods such as Olabe, Marmiz, Albiz, although its urban centre is located in the district of Elexalde. It is known from population settlements in the area in of the second half of the 2nd century BC according to the findings of Castro de Marelueza, also known by the name of Nabarniz to be found to the southwest of this town on the border between Arratzu, Mendata and Nabarniz, but the origin of Mendata seems to be in Elexalde when on a hill settlers of the Lords of Bizkaia built in the tenth century the church of San Miguel Arcángel. It was in the 13th century that the population centres progressively moved from the mountains to the valleys and the oldest neighbourhoods emerged: Albiz, Elexalde and Lamikiz. Mendata occupied seat number 9 in the General Assembly of Gernika. The town of Mendata lived very close to the altercations of the banderizos and it was not until the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th century when, due to a notable improvement in social, political and economic conditions, these struggles between lineages came to an end.
The environment surrounding Mendata is ideal for enjoying nature and, through its numerous hiking routes, you can visit places of singular beauty, without forgetting the viewpoint known as the Balcony of Bizkaia, a few kilometres from the town centre, from which you can see beautiful landscapes and the sands of the Gernika estuary in its embrace with the Cantabrian Sea. In addition, each of the neighbourhoods that make up Mendata show us some interesting buildings from its history. In the Albiz neighbourhood, the 18th century Baroque Albiz Palace, whose façade bears the coats of arms of the Albiz family and the Allende Salazar family; you can also see the remains of what used to be the house of the Albiz lineage, the Albiz tower, and the beautiful church of Santa María Magdalena founded in the 15th century, on top of what used to be a hermitage, except for its tower, which was built in the 18th century. In the Olabe neighbourhood, in the middle of the hill is the Montalban tower-house, with a pentagonal floor plan, unique in Bizkaia and dating from the 16th century. In Elexalde, the Idatze Etxea, the centre of interpretation of the farmhouse, shows the evolution in the last decades of the daily life of the rural world of the municipality of Mendata, also in this district is the church of San Miguel Arcángel that was built in the tenth century and enlarged in the sixteenth century.
A medieval Romanesque bridge crosses the Golako River, a bridge that was undoubtedly crossed by numerous pilgrims on the stretch of the Way of Saint James through Urdaibai. This river, the Golako, flows through the Olabe neighbourhood and in the Middle Ages it saw how prospered ironworks such as the one in Olazarra, which ceased to function at the end of the 19th century, there were also quite a few mills that took advantage of the waters of the Golako, three of which are still in good condition. In Olabe is the hermitage of San Pedro and San Cristóbal of the XVIII century, another hermitage that can be seen in Mendata is the one located in Lamikiz, in the district of Marmiz, the one of San Juan and San Lorenzo, in which calls the attention a pre-Romanesque window of between the X and XI centuries in which the inscription "SANCZIUS HABASS QUI / HECDIFICABIT HAC" that can be translated by "The abbot Sancho, who built is".
Mendata celebrates its patron saint festivities in honour of San Miguel on 29th September; in Albiz on 22nd July Santa María Magdalena is celebrated; San Pedro is celebrated in the Olabe neighbourhood on 29th June provided that this day falls on a weekend, otherwise it will be the previous or subsequent weekend; Lamikiz, in the Marmiz neighbourhood, celebrates San Juan on 24th June.
The culture and way of life of the farmer from Mendata has given rise to the traditional typical dance, the trikitixa and the tambourine, pilgrimages... popular entertainment of the mendatarra that is reflected in all its festivities.
The antechurch of Albiz, in the Mendata district, is one of the oldest brotherhoods in Vizcaya/Bizkaia, and it originated around the house of Albiz, which actively participated in the flag wars and belonged to one of the five mayors of the Fuero de Vizcaya.
In the Balcony of Bizkaia you can see the image of Andra Mari, Nuestra Señora la Virgen María, was placed in the place to protect the people of the place because according to the legend this enclave so beautiful from which a great landscape is dominated was the meeting point where the witches, protected by the mantle of the night, made their spells to dominate and frighten the population.
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Mendata communicates with Gernika by the BI 3224 road.
Mendata has a bus service covering the Gernika-Mendata route.
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