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New Square

Bilbao, Bizkaia

If you have already seen the Ensanche in Bilbao, with its Gran Via, its Moyua Square and its Doña Casilda Park, it is possible that the New Square will not seem as spectacular to you. But it is an exciting place, believe us…

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If you have already seen the Ensanche in Bilbao, with its Gran Via, its Moyua Square and its Doña Casilda Park, it is possible that the New Square will not seem as spectacular to you. But it is an exciting place, believe us…

The first time they thought about its construction, it was way before the square was built. It was around the year 1784 when the first project was commissioned to Alejo de Miranda. It looks like the other square, the Old Square, which was next to San Anton’s Church, was no longer practical and needed to be renovated.

But things started wrong from the beginning because on the horizon there were a few wars about to explode. First, it was the Convention war, in 1794; later, the Napoleonic ones, between 1808 and 1813; and finally, the constitutional one of 1823. Suddenly, without even noticing, a lot of years had passed, and the people of Bilbao still didn’t have their New Square.

In the twenties, the issue was brought back, but then it turned out that the neighbours of the area were divided between the supporters who agreed with the project and the ones that had homes in the affected area, so the issue wasn’t of their like at all. In the end, the first ones were smarter, and they managed to get the King involved. And that was the end of the argument. They were still times of absolute monarchies, which means that the wishes of the sovereign were the law. So the square was going to be built, and that was the end of it.

But even with the Royal support, do not think that the works were finished fast. No way! It took very long to complete. It was finalised in 1851. By then, King Fernando had started to dig his own grave and had been leaving behind him very little affection from his people. Therefore, when someone proposed to name the square Plaza de Fernando VII, Bilbao was against it, and they decided to call it as you already know: Plaza Nueva. It is not a very original name, but at least it doesn’t pay tribute to those who do not deserve it either…

The fact is that the people of Bilbao had their brand new square, rectangular and neoclassical, in which they decided to put everything that was important for the city at the time: the offices of the Provincial Council, the Stock Exchange, the headquarters of the Basque newspaper, the Bilbao Social Club, the Swiss Cafe and so on until the Plaza Nueva became a kind of a miniature Ensanche.


New Square

Plaza Nueva, s/n
48005 Bilbao

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