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Vitoria-Gasteiz

Araba

Audioguide of Vitoria-Gasteiz

What to see in Vitoria-Gasteiz

Vitoria has a reputation of being a transparent city. So open that it has not even tried to slip a little lie in the history of its origins, as it is usually common in other cities. It doesn’t claim to be founded by Hercules, nor by a hero of Troy, nor by any God. At the most, they say that it could have been a settlement that the Romans called Bélica and here is where they settle to fight against the Cantabrians.

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Vitoria has a reputation of being a transparent city. So open that it has not even tried to slip a little lie in the history of its origins, as it is usually common in other cities. It doesn’t claim to be founded by Hercules, nor by a hero of Troy, nor by any God. At the most, they say that it could have been a settlement that the Romans called Bélica and here is where they settle to fight against the Cantabrians.

Some talk about Visigoth Kings and identify Vitoria with Victoriaco de Leovigildo, but this information seems a bit weak. The truth is that, to our knowledge, the town was built in 1181 on the stones of an old village called Gasteiz, and the one with the idea of founding it was Sancho the Wise, a king of Navarra with such a name for a reason as he saw the strategic geographical importance of this place.

From here, Sancho controlled the busiest routes to the Pyrenees, to the South and to the West. They had to go through here one way or another, either to invade territories or just to buy bread.

They named it Nueva Victoria (New Victory), and a few years later, after the usual siege, passed to Castilian hands. The location and the walls that defended the town of Gasteiz must have been too tempting. So the usual thing to do in those days was to conquer it! Why not?

Since that distant year of 1200 until now, there has been no more changing of hands. Victoria lost the “C” in its name, and as it grew up, it saw plenty of influential people passing by, among them kings, Popes, and Napoleon. It also had time to become a tax-free fair trade, build a Gothic Cathedral, host an important Jewish quarter and be called by Ferdinand the Catholic a very loyal city.

Not to mention the illustrious people who were born here. Some of them as unique as Manuel Iradier, who inspired by the adventures of Henry Morton Stanley, went into deepest Africa several times and left a written record of the results of his explorations. Iradier, who was also a Mason, has a street called after him and a statue in a Vitoria that today is full of life and cultural diversity. One of the cities that always comes out in the top when talking about cities with a better quality of life.

The question is: was all this already in the head of Sancho VI the Wise?


Vitoria-Gasteiz

Plaza España, 1 (Oficina de Turismo)
01001 Vitoria-Gasteiz
(+34) 945 16 15 98

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