Squares and open spaces - Tourism in Vitoria-Gasteiz
City icons, meeting points and windows to the past. These are the main squares and monuments in the city; corners replete with history from where you can see some of Vitoria-Gasteiz's most emblematic buildings.
Plaza del Machete
This square is currently surrounded by the Arquillos, the Church of San Miguel, Villa Suso Palace and the Cuesta of San Vicente, however in the past it represented the border of the medieval town. It's name originates from the machete on which the former city representatives were sworn into their offices. A replica of the weapon is on display in San Miguel's outer apse.
Plaza de la Burullería
This square was given this name due to being the place where burulleros (fabric and cloth weavers) used to trade. It is surrounded by the city's most emblematic buildings, amongst which is Santa Maria Cathedral or the Anda Tower.
It is mainly the so-called First City Wall which is preserved, dating back to the 11th Century (some remnants still remain of the gothic city wall from the 13th century in the Church of San Pedro). The area next to the Escoriaza Esquivel Palace was restored in Lombard style; the recovery of the section next to San Miguel (which received a special mention at the 2010 Europa Nostra awards) includes a panoramic viewpoint.
A neoclassical symbol, the work of Justo Antonio de Olaguíbel, it was built to compensate the difference in level between the medieval city and contemporary expansion. It is comprised of two sections: Los Arquillos del Ala (Calle Mateo Moraza) and Los Arquillos del Juicio (Cuesta de San Francisco).
Plaza de la Virgen Blanca
This area remained outside the city wall after the city expanded during the 13th century. In 1791, its extension was reduced after the Plaza España-Plaza Nueva was built and, in 1917, the Monument to the Battle of Vitoria was inaugurated. Nowadays, the square is a popular meeting point and since 2012 features a plant sculpture which has become the city's symbol.
Plaza de España or Plaza Nueva
Inaugurated in 1791, it is one of the most outstanding works in the history of Spanish main squares. It was designed by the architect Justo Antonio de Olaguíbel; a perfect square where its sides measure 61 metres and which forms part of the neoclassical expansion of the city away from the almond-shaped medieval quarter (Almendra Medieval). The north side is where the Town Hall can be found today.
Plaza de los Fueros
It was inaugurated in 1982. This ensemble of monuments pays homage to the ancient Charters and was designed by the architect Luis Peña Ganchegui in collaboration with the sculptor Eduardo Chillida. It has a fronton court, bowling alley and an area with grandstands to sit back and enjoy rural Basque sport.
Santa Isabel Cemetery
This cemetery takes its name from an extremely old hermitage and its adjacent district. Established at the beginning of the 19th century with mass burials following a typhus epidemic.
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