First things first, it’s imperative to make an introduction. From Quartier Bilbao, we became joyful to perform a blog to share fun facts about the city and also to recommend everything about this place.
We are located in Casco Viejo, the old town of Bilbao, that is why we considered disclosing the history of the city and its amazing streets.
In the very beginning, Bilbao was conformed by only 3 streets: Somera, Artecalle (also known in Euskera as Artekale and where we are located in), and Tenderia.
During the XV century the streets evolved from 3 to 7. The new streets were named as Belosticalle, Carniceria, Barrencalle and Barrencalle Barrena. Casco Viejo has been growing during the years and even from that growing rate, the ”quartier” is still called as 7 streets.
Due to the wall that surrounded Bilbao until 1483, it is also posible to see nowadays some trace elements that show Bilbao was a middle age city.
Artekale means “middle street” and “calle del medio”. This meaning appeared when there were only 3 streets in Casco Viejo. At that time the street was full of shoemakers and all types of craftsmen.
In its first part, its posible to see an image of the Santisima Trinidad with an headlight. It is said that Dionisia de Onzoña used to turn on that headlight every night, until 1875. After her death in the same year by smallpox, the headlight was never turned on again, ending the tradition.
Calle Somera / Goienkale
This is the older street of Bilbao, and it means “upper street” or “calle de arriba”. It almost imposible to see emptiness in this street because this is where all the action takes place, specially at night time, due to the large quantity of bars where everyone can taste the typical “pintxos”.
Specially on Thursdays, is celebrated the academic day of Bilbao or “pintxo-pote”, where it is also posible to eat and drink for only one euro.
This is the street where it is posible to see precisely what remains of the surrounding wall of Bilbao. A curious fact is that this is the darkest street of Casco Viejo and also where Miguel de Unamuno, was born.
The name of the street is due to the fact that the old military forces used to stay during the night shift. Obviously the street was named due the night shift made by them(ronda,”the round”).
Calle Tenderia / Tenderia Street
At first, Tenderia was the street that had the most shops in the city, and it was also the place responsible to make the connection between the port and the Santiago’s Cathedral. It was also the main checkpoint for many kings and queens that used to come here to negotiate with the Catholic Kings, during the XV century.
Calle Barrenkale Barrena /Barrenkale Street
In Basque language, the name of street means that is the one after its main – Barrenkale Street. It represents a lot for Bilbao, due the flood occurred in 1983. This episode forced this street to be completely reconstructed.
Back in times, this street was the place where many fishermen and their women used to stay and repare their fishing nets while their wives were in charge of selling baby eels.
Calle Pelota / Pelota Street
Everything that remains from the surrounding wall was turned into a “frontón”, where they could play their favourite sport, called “eskupilota”( similar to jai alai)
This special symbol is located in Santa Maria Street, drawn on the floor and marking the only point in the Casco Viejo where is posible to see Begoña Cathedral. The star also represents a big mark of the city culture.
Calle Jardines/ Jardines Street
It is said, without 100% certainty, that the oldest building in Bilbao is located in Jardines Street. It is one of a characteristic pink color. This building could be from the XIV century, the same one when Bilbao was born.
La plaza que no se llamaba Plaza Nueva / The square wasn’t named New Square
It was initiated in 1851, from a many-sided process that took 65 years. It was always known as “Plaza Nueva” intended to differentiate it from “Plaza de El Mercado” or “Plaza Vieja”. But, during the political regime of Francisco Franco, in 1939, this Plaza was renamed as “Plaza de los Marines” until 1982.
Nowadays, Plaza Nueva is the place the one to be on a Sunday morning before lunch and where many tourists come to taste the well known “pintxos”.
We wish you a good time here in Bilbao and Casco Viejo, and invite you to come and visit us at Quartier Bilbao.