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Town Hall

Bilbao, Bizkaia

Bilbao´s City Hall can go unnoticed among all the other places the city currently has that catch our attention. You know, when the steel mills replaced the blast furnaces, Bilbao ceased to be a Manchester-style black landscape and began to recover its real face, hidden behind the smoke for so many years. And boy did they take the renovations of the city seriously!

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Bilbao´s City Hall can go unnoticed among all the other places the city currently has that catch our attention. You know, when the steel mills replaced the blast furnaces, Bilbao ceased to be a Manchester-style black landscape and began to recover its real face, hidden behind the smoke for so many years. And boy did they take the renovations of the city seriously!

So serious that today, between the futuristic Guggenheim, the vast and sophisticated Isozaki Towers, the Calatrava footbridge and some of Oteiza´s sculptures, very few of us would stop to look at the Town Hall.

However, it is worth going to see this building designed by Joaquín Rucoba. That was the name of the town architect who had recently landed in the city. In 1883 he was politely asked to make a new building since the previous one was centuries old and above all, it was pretty deteriorate from all the bombing and siege.

Joaquin got to work and looked for inspiration in French architecture (they say in a city called Tours, to be more precise), to give the city of Bilbao a building at the level of its power and fortune. The result is in front of you, a magnificent construction with a large entrance staircase. The statues of Law and Justice are visible and a central tower that, together with the Neo-baroque style, gives the whole set an air of the consulates of Flanders, a city where some of Bilbao’s merchants did business centuries ago.

The work amounted to the enormous sum of one and a half million pesetas, to which we must add the cost of the banquet and the series of acts the day of the inauguration, which took place the 17th of April 1892.

Today, looking at it, one hundred and twenty-something years later, we could say that the building wasn’t a bad investment. The Town Hall has demonstrated its strength by enduring, without flinching, all sorts of weathers and also more than forty different municipal governments, one after the other.


Town Hall

Ernesto Erkoreka Plaza, 1
48007 Bilbao
(+34) 944 20 42 00

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Tags: Eclecticism

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