Perhaps you are asking yourself what is so unique about the Ribera Market, and why it is so highly recommended that you go for a walk around there.
Well, to start with a bang, we will tell you that it appears in the 1990 edition of the Guinness Book of Records as the most complete municipal food market in the world, and the largest in the number of positions and merchants. Its ten thousand square meters also make it one the most prominent covered markets in Europe.
But this would not be an ordinary market even if we only took into account its dimensions. The Ribera is a rarity if we compare it with the two types that these spaces usually present in our continent: the usual is that it is either a metal structure from the late nineteenth century that has survived or a recent reconstruction of an old market that poorly endured old age.
Neither of this two types of establishments fit in with the Bilbao market, rare from the time that it was built and for the style used by its architect. Pedro Ispizua Susunaga, that was his name, had been trained in an eclecticism that the era had already left behind; in his area of work appeared historical pieces and he had even had some experience with Gaudi, but in 1929, when he faced the project of La Ribera, he focussed things in a very different way.
Those were the years of the rush, optimism, jazz and faith in the future: no talk of going back to Gothic forms or the outdated modernist filigree. The thing to do was to design a reinforced concrete structure and adorn it with Art Deco ornaments because that was the sign of the times…
Nobody could’ve known that a few months after the inauguration of the new La Ribera Market, that sign was going to change suddenly with the crack of another market. In this case, a financial market located on Wall Street.
But La Ribera remained standing and made it to our days maintaining most of its original appearance. As you can see, its interior is the dream of every fan to eat and cook. That is what it has always been, except for a few days in 1983 when the floods turned it into the huge swimming pool that every swimmer dreams of.