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 Cathedral of Santa María     Vitoria- Gasteiz  Phone (+34) 945 255 135 (guided tours)

Mon - Sun: 11am - 1pm and 5pm - 7pm.
*Guided tours depart every 30 minutes from the Visitor Reception Centre. Access from Burullería Square (in front of El Portalón). Arrive 10 minutes before the tour begins.
Guided tours to the restoration works of the Cathedral of Santa María in Vitoria-Gasteiz enable admiring in situ the architectural and archaeological works that are being implemented in the 13h-century Gothic temple. Also known as Old Cathedral, this church-fortress rises majestically in the city's Old Quarter. It was part of the defensive medieval wall and consists of a Latin cross ground plan, a wide crossing, an ambulatory with chapels, an enormous 60 metres high belfry, a sacristy and several annexed rooms. But it is mainly remarkable its triple Gothic porch, which manifests in detail many Biblical scenes.

Nowadays The Santa Maria Cathedral Foundation is the responsible for arranging and managing tour guides to the temple as well as restoration works. It is the foundation that supervises the works. Visitors will be able to carry out tours with strict safety measures, such as the helmet. They will have the chance to observe the archaeological and restoration works of a temple that is complex in its structure and rich as for past testimonies. Architects, archaeologists, scaffoldings and reinforcements make up an innovative cultural tourism project that has become one of the main attractions in Alava's capital. Therefore, the Basque Government awarded Premio Turismo (2000) prize to the quality of the project. It also received the Europa Nostra (2002), the maximum European award for the recovery and conservation of Cultural Heritage.

As a curiosity it should be noted that the well-known British writer, Ken Follet, was inspired by the Cathedral when it came to writing World Without End, which is the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, his most popular work.

Guided tours: Tours by previous appointment. Call Visitor Reception Centre, send an e-mail or enter The Cathedral of Santa María Foundation website. Phone number for previous appointments is available from Monday to Sunday from 10am to 2pm and from 4pm to 8pm. One-hour tours in Spanish, Basque, French, English, German and Italian.

Old quarter of Vitoria-Gasteiz  Phone (+34) 945 161 598

Vitoria-Gasteiz' old part, the first settlement in the city, still preserves its original almond-shaped medieval plan, which dates back to more than 8 centuries ago, when Sancho VI "The wise" founded the city. It is located on a hill dominated by the Cathedral of Santa María. This Gothic temple is undergoing great restoration works and archaeological excavations, which can be visited by the public. Drawing the most recognizable city skyline are, as well as Santa Maria Cathedral, the towers of the churches of San Miguel, San Vicente and San Pedro.

The names of its streets recall the artisan traders who used to work and live there (Correría, Herrería, Zapatería, Cuchillería, Pintorería...) and host the oldest and most singular buildings in the city. Behind the cathedral, for instance, visitors will be able to admire the Portalón, a nice medieval brick inn, and the tower of Anda.

In the heart of the old medieval quarter, two magnificent Reinassance palaces stand out: the Escoriza-Esquivel palace and the Montehermoso palace, the latter now refurbished into a cultural centre.

Also in the old part, we find the Casa del Cordón, a house with a beautiful facade, the Bendaña palace (Museo de Naipes Fournier) of Gothic-Renaissance style, the church of San Vicente, Villasuso palace and Los Arquillos viewpoint.

Guided visits: Vitoria-Gasteiz Tourist Office organizes guided visits to the historical quarter at Easter, in the summer  (from July 1st to September 30th) and on bank holidays. To arrange a guided visit, please call the Tourist Office.

Historical-artistic complex of Salvatierra-Agurain

Salvatierra-Agurain is a medieval village and, as such, was walled for several centuries. In that period the village had only three streets: Mayor, which comprises the most interesting houses from an artistic standpoint; Carnicería and Zapatari, which hosted the village's butchers and shoemakers respectively.

Nowadays these streets form the old and artistic part of the village. There, we will find a good number of monumental buildings, such as the fortress-churches of San Juan and Santa María, the Casa de las Viudas (Widows' House), the oldest civilian building in the municipality, the houses of the Begoña, the Azkarraga or the Bustamante families, the Diezmo house and the Olbeas de San Juan.

Visits: Guided visits around the historical urban part of the town and both churches are organized by Tura, tel.: (+34) 945 312 535.

San Juan Church Salvatierra Agurain

The church of San Juan Bautista was built in the 15th-16th centuries over a former temple built two centuries before. In the beginning it had defence functions, thus its fortress character is quite significant. Gothic

Inside we can admire an altarpiece dating back to the 16th century, with paintings by Pedro de Obrel, educated as an artist in Flanders.

 Santa María church-fortress       Salvatierra- Agurain
The Santa María church was built in the 15th and 16th centuries, over a prevoiusly existing temple. In the beginning, it was used as a defence and it thus seems a fortress. Gothic

Inside you can see an altarpiece made by Lope de Larrea in 1530. There is also a plateresque choir and an emblem of the Emperor Charles the First.

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