Gernika-Lumo, seated in the valley of the Oka River, next to the Gernika estuary, has been declared a “City symbol of peace” in 1987. It is therefore home to the Museum Foundation of the Peace that, through its permanent exhibition, addresses peace from different perspectives. The old city, which was devastated by the 1937 bombing, was rebuilt in the following years with the influence of modern urbanism.
Your visit can begin from the Plaza porticada de los Fueros, in which you can find a bronze statue of the Count don Tello and the City Hall, marked by a high watchtower. From here, through Arte Kalea, you will arrive at the Ferial Gardens that house the Ursolo Fountain, commemorating those affected by the 1937 bombing.
You can reach the Casa de Juntas and the Juradera Church of Santa María la Antigua from the Plaza or the gardens. The Church of Santa María la Antigua, 15th and 16th century Gothic Renaissance style, is the most important religious building in the town center. It emphasises its Gothic style on the doorway, which includes the end date of constructions (1499).
The Casa de Juntas de Gernika, constructed in Neoclassic style designed by Antonio Echevarría in the 19th century, is the most visited building in town. It highlights the main hall and houses works from some of the most important Basque artists of the 19th century, such as Anselmo Guinea and Gustavo de Maeztu. This room houses both political and religious functions. The La Vidriera room contains a 335-meter glass wall, elaborated recently in 1985. You can also visit the Tree of Gernika, both current and previous, in the Casa de Juntas gardens. Close by you’ll also find the Neoclassic Church and the Santa Clara Convent, rebuilt in 1880 with origins tracing back to 1422.
The Montefuerte or Alegría palace, from the 18th century, houses the Euskal Herria Museum, which is divided into various exhibits depicting the history, traditions, sport, and folklore of this Basque region.
Finally, a visit to the Park of the Pueblos of Europe allows you to see works from the teachers of modern sculpture: Gure Aiten Etxea (The house of our father), by Eduardo Chillida and Gran Figura en un Refugio, by Henry Moore.
Saint Mery’s Church
Each Monday, Gernika houses a lively market that is definitely worth a visit. Among them, the first and last Mondays in October celebrate a popular fair, livestock competition, and a sample of machinery and agricultural products.
On the outskirts of Gernika, you’ll find Urdaibai, a natural paradise declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1984. You can also visit the Oma Forest, which served as an inspiration for the Basque sculptor Agustín Ibarrola. Just four kilometres from Gernika, you can discover the Santimamiñe cave, declared a World Heritage city by UNESCO in 2008. Its paintings are comparable in richness and in quality to those of Altamira. Today, the cave is closed to the public and only virtual 3D tours are available upon reservation.