You are now in one of tourism's top 12 European streets, according to the renowned New York Times newspaper. But Why?
There are several reasons…
On this urban thoroughfare, within a very few meters of each other, you can find many of the gastronomy temples of the Basque mini–cuisine, the"pintxo", so typical of this city. You can find traditional pintxos alongside more elaborate creations and those newly inspired by the nouvelle cuisine. They are all exquisite; an authentic delight for the palate. So many bars and shops in one small area guarantees a lively scene well into the early hours.
Second reason: history.
On 31st August 1813, the French troops who had been occupying the city were beaten by the English and Portuguese troops who were allies of the Spanish in the Napoleonic wars. The victors set fire to the then walled city of Donostia, and pillaged everything in sight. They left just one street intact to house themselves while their occupation lasted. So of course, today, this lucky street is call 31stof August Street. You are, indeed, in the oldest street in the city.
Its previous name, Trinity Street, refered to the three churches there used to be here: The Basilica of St. Mary, the church of St. Vincent and the church within the Dominican monastery, which has since become the St. Telmo museum.
This street reflects the life of the old part of the city. Its open, lively character, its workship of friendships and its respect for traditional customs. Old Gastronomic Societies such as Gaztelupe, Kanoietan and Amaika Bat are located here. Every year this becomes one of the focal points of Donosti's Tamborrada, 24 hours of drum marches and fiesta, the city's biggest celebration which takes place every 20th January, rain, thunder or even if the heavens fall!
What is more, every 31st of August the destruction of the city is commemorated, and above all the firm decision that was taken to rebuild it. That night candles are lit in the windows of the houses in this street, and a drum march by Sarriegui is played. A singular evening of candle light and memory spent in respectful silence.