On the streets of the city you will also find the unusual glass-covered entrances to the underground, designed by Norman Foster, and the innovative glass design of the Basque Health Department. The best way of discovering the avant-garde aesthetics of this “city of the future” is to set aside a couple of days and explore the whole of the modern expansion area.Shopping for antiques, typical ceramics, exquisite cakes and pastries or the latest fashions is one of the options offered by the shopping centres and shops of Bilbao. Going shopping in Bilbao is a unique occasion for enjoying the architectural heritage of the city and whilst out you can enjoy the many taverns or cafés lining the streets.
The Old Quarter, Indautxi and Ensanche are the main shopping areas in Bilbao. Here you will find a wide range of products in traditional establishments, shops selling the latest fashions and the modern shopping centres.
|The Basilica of Begoña|
- Santiago Cathedral is a Catholic Cathedral in the city of Bilbao that was officially declared cathedral in 1950. Its origins probably date to well before the foundation of the city in 1300, when Bilbao was little more than a small enclave of fishermen.
The temple is consecrated in honor of the apostle Saint James the Great (Santiago in Spanish), by virtue of being a point of transit for the pilgrims that followed the Northern branch of the Way of Saint James. Architecturally, the present building is a mixture of styles: from the 15th century Gothic of the cloister and the main vault, where of special interest are the cloister and the beautiful portal that gives access Correo street (Puerta del Angel), to the ostentatious Gothic Revival façade and spire. A curious custom is the addition of stone carvings of local merchants along the buttresses of the main vault.
- The Basilica of Begoña (or Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Begoña in Spanish) is a basilica, dedicated to the patron saint of Biscay, the Virgin Begoña. The basilica started life in the 16th century, designed by Sancho Martínez de Arego. It has three naves, to which the addition of vaults was completed in the 17th century in construction work that took a century, having started in 1511. During the time of this work, the Gothic style developed somewhat, with the main entrance being built in the middle of the 16th century in the shape of a magnificent arch as a reminder of the works of Spanish architect Gil de Hontañón. The rest of the building retains the unitarian Gothic style.
- The Zubizuri (Basque for "white bridge"), also called the Campo Volantin Bridge or Puente del Campo Volantin, is a tied arch footbridge across the Nervion River. Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, the bridge links the Campo Volantin right bank and Uribitarte left bank of the river. Opened in 1997, the bridge's unusual design consists of a curved walkway which is supported by steel suspension cables from an overhead arch. The structure of the bridge is painted white and the bridge deck consists of translucent glass bricks. Access ramps and stairways are located on both banks. The Zubizuri offers pedestrians a convenient route from hotels to the nearby Bilbao Guggenheim Museum. Since its opening, it has been subjected to praise as a symbol of the new Bilbao and as a draw for tourism. The bridge has also been accused of impracticality: it is locally infamous for the glass bricks set into its floor, which can become slippery in the wet climate of the city.
- The City Hall in Bilbao is set on the bank of the river. It was inaugurated in 1892 on the site of the old San Agustín Convent. The building was designed by the architect Joaquín Rucoba, and artists of the period contributed to this elegant, highly ornamental construction. The interior décor features a range of items including furniture, lamps, paintings, windows, sculptures and busts, vases... The Arab Hall is especially outstanding, and was designed by the artist José Soler, who painted the room to imitate marble, wood and ivory.
- The Guggenheim Museum is a museum of modern and contemporary art, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, built by Ferrovial. It is built alongside the Nervion River, which runs through the city of Bilbao to the Atlantic Coast. The Guggenheim is one of several museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The museum features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by Spanish and international artists. One of the most admired works of contemporary architecture, the building has been hailed as a "signal moment in the architectural culture", because it represents "one of those rare moments when critics, academics, and the general public were all completely united about something." The museum was the building most frequently named as one of the most important works completed since 1980 in the 2010 World Architecture Survey among architecture experts.