If there is an adjective which defines the residents of Donosti, that adjective is Resilience. And that's because this city has had to rise from the ashes. And this place, La Bretxa, is ample proof of that since we are in one of the sites of this city where most blood has been shed, as you will see:
This building was built in 1871 and takes its name from the breach which was opened in the city walls during the War of Independence. Let's close our eyes for a moment, open our senses and journey back in time. We are in the same place, but it is 1813. The day is 31st August.
The noise is deafening. The smell of gunpowder and death is everywhere. In this very place, in one of the many assaults, they managed to open a hole in the wall. Through this hole or breach poured the English and Portuguese troops, defeating the French who were inside the city.
Two thousand and five hundred allied soldiers and five hundred French lost their lives in an attack that lasted barely two hours, but which continued for days afterwards through the city streets, razing the place to the ground and massacring the local inhabitants.
Just below our feet, in the underground car park, you can still see pieces of the wall from its demolition in 1863, when the city changed from being a military emplacement to become a more civilised place. It's worth going down into the car park to see these remains.
The present building was designed by the architect Cortázar and built by Nemesio Barrio and José Goikoa, and it was completed in 1871. It was made of stone from the nearby quarries of Mount Igeldo and Mount Ulia in neoclassical style, with an iron roof. From the beginning, it became the new market of the city, up until then located in Gipuzkoa Square two blocks from here.
The traditional market stalls are still here, offering top quality produce. This is the starting point of Basque gastronomy and gourmet dining. Many famous chefs daily stock their kitchens thanks to this market. Nowadays, the traditional local produce is complemented by a wide range of products to satisfy contemporary tastes.
But what could be better than experiencing it for yourself? To stroll through this building is to stroll through history. Wander amongst stalls laden with the highest quality fruit, conserves, charcuterie, meat and fish. Just outside, in the mornings, you will find the farmers market, where you can choose from a wide range of home grown vegetables, herbs and other delicacies, all guaranteed to be of Basque origin. Quality products to the fullest extent.