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San Mames Stadium

Bilbao, Bizkaia

If they say that Barça is more than a Club, they could say that San Mamés is more than a Stadium. It is a significant symbol of Bilbao; it is linked to the city’s identity in such a way that you could not leave without seeing it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like football, believe us.

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If they say that Barça is more than a Club, they could say that San Mamés is more than a Stadium. It is a significant symbol of Bilbao; it is linked to the city’s identity in such a way that you could not leave without seeing it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like football, believe us.

What you will find today at the end of the Ensanche de Abando, after the bridge of Deusto and almost on the outskirts of Bilbao, is not the original stadium. The original one was inaugurated in 1913 for a soccer club that already existed since 1898. It was built in a place where, attached to an asylum, there was a chapel dedicated to Saint Mamés, who wouldn’t sound familiar at all only for the Athletic Club. He gave the name to the stadium and maybe you never wondered who he was, but we are going to tell you…

Legend has it that Saint Mamés was born in Cappadocia (Turkey) in times of persecution of Christians and that as a teenager he was thrown to the lions. It seems that the beasts had dined well the night before and did not attack the young man, who anyway was killed by a trident, and, according to the legend, was taken to heaven by the angels.

A new Saint and Martyr joined the many that were then. And many centuries later, it’s funny the way things turn out; he would end up being famous in these lands thanks to a football, a goal post and a team known as the Lions. Or better, the Lions of San Mamés.

But let’s go back to the massive building you are facing. The new San Mamés is the work of César Azcárate and was inaugurated in 2013, a hundred years later than the original. Shortly after, in 2015, it received the award for the best new-built sports building in the world by the World Architecture Festival, and today boasts some brand new facilities that have earned it the election to host matches at the Euro 2020.


San Mames Stadium

Rafael Moreno Pitxitxi, s/n
48013 Bilbao
(+34) 944 24 08 77

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