Capital of the province of Alava and of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.
One previous stage
Personalities: Francisco de Vitoria (theologian monk, founder of international law), Andoni Zubizarreta (Spanish football team goalkeeper, 126 caps), Joseba Beloki, Francisco Galdos, Igor and Alavaro Gonzalez de Galdeano, Javier Mauleon (cyclists), Iker Romero (handball), Martin Fiz (world marathon champion in 1995), Ernesta de Champourcin (poet), Ramiro de Maeztu (writer), Manuel Iradier (explorer).
Specialities: Perretxikos (mushrooms), Goxua (custard cake), Vitoria-style beans, fried vegetables, fried peppers, dried beans known as "pochas". The Rioja region of Alava produces wines protected by the Rioja designation of origin.
Culture and festivals: Azkena Rock Festival (June), International Games Festival (June), Vitoria Jazz Festival (July), Dia del Blusa (July), Fiestas de la Blanca (August),
Sport: 80,000 members. Saski-Baskonia (basketball, two-time Euroleague finalist), Deportivo Alaves (football, first division).
Events: Vuelta, Tour de France 2023, Ironman of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Economy: Administration (Basque government and parliament). The city is an administrative city but also an important automotive industrial centre with an assembly plant for commercial vehicles of the German group Daimler-Benz with its Vito model and factories belonging to Michelin and Daewoo.
Website / FB / Twitter / Instagram: vitoria-gasteiz.org / https://www.facebook.com/turismovitoria / https://twitter.com/turismovitoria / https://www.instagram.com/turismo_vitoria
VITORIA-GASTEIZ AND CYCLING
A regular venue for the Tour of the Basque Country and the Vuelta, Vitoria-Gasteiz has already hosted the Tour de France, in 1977, for a stage won by Spaniard José Nazabal after a 110 km solo breakaway. The city has hosted the Vuelta on 21 occasions, mostly in the 1960s. But in the last edition, Vitoria-Gasteiz saw the start of a stage won in Laguardia by Primoz Roglic. The city's most famous cyclist is Joseba Beloki who, although born in Lazcano, some 60 kilometres away, grew up in Vitoria. The Basque rider has been on the podium of the Tour on three occasions, but never recovered his best level after a crash on the road to Gap in 2003. Born in Vitoria, Francisco Galdos was also one of the greatest stage race specialists of the 1970s: second in the Vuelta in 1979 and in the Giro in 1975, he took part in the Tour de France eleven times, finishing 4th in 1977 and four times in the top ten. Born in Murgia, 20 km from the capital of the Spanish Basque country, Mikel Landa is also a local rider: the leader of the Bahrain-Victorious team has finished five Tours de France, twice just outside the podium. He finished third in the Giro d'Italia twice and won the mountain classification in 2017. The capital of the Spanish Basque Country is also the home of the Gonzalez de Galdeano brothers, Igor and Alvaro. Igor, who finished 5th in the Tour de France in 2001 and 2002, also wore the Yellow Jersey for a week in the second year. He finished second overall and won a stage in the Vuelta. Alvaro also took part in the Grande Boucle four times between 1999 and 2003 and won a stage in the Giro and the Vuelta. The two brothers then led the Basque team Euskadi. Another local rider, Francisco Javier Mauleon, took part in the Tour de France six times and finished in the top 20 in 1992. He also won a stage in the Vuelta that same year.
Plaza de la Virgen Blanca
Also known as the Plaza Vieja (Old Square), it was part of the suburbs and used to host outdoor markets. Built in the 17th century, the central part of the square contains the monument commemorating the battle of Vitoria against Napoleon's troops. It was and still is the heart of the city.
Monument of the Battle of Vitoria
Sculptor: Gabriel Borrás y Abella
History: the Battle of Vitoria was fought on 21 June 1813 between the French troops escorting Spanish King Joseph Bonaparte in his flight and a conglomeration of British, Spanish and Portuguese troops under the command of General Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington. The Allied victory sanctioned the final retreat of French troops from Spain (with the exception of Catalonia) and forced Emperor Napoleon to return the Spanish crown to Ferdinand VII, thus ending the Spanish War of Independence.
Trivia: late in July 1813, when the news arrived in Vienna of the French defeat, Johann Nepomuk Mælzel asked Ludwig van Beethoven to compose a symphony to celebrate the victory. The work is called The Victory of Wellington, Op. 91.
San Miguel Church
Construction: 14th to 16th century.
Style: Gothic and Renaissance.
Characteristics: the church dominates the Virgen Blanca and General Loma squares, the vital centres of the city, and its Gothic style contrasts with the neoclassical buildings that line its base. Its Baroque altarpiece (1624 to 1632) is considered one of the masterpieces of Gregorio Fernandez and his workshops.
History: built at the end of the 14th century on the southern slope of the hill of the primitive Vitoria, outside its walls and the gate of San Bartolomé. It probably occupies the same site as the church, also dedicated to San Miguel, mentioned in the foundation charter granted by the Navarrese king Sancho VI the Wise in 1181.
Listing: property of cultural interest in 1995.
Santa Maria Cathedral
History: It is located on the highest part of the hill on which the original city was founded in 1181, under the name of Nova Victoria, by King Sancho VI of Navarre, known as the Wise, and which later gave rise to the present city. With the birth of the Diocese of Vitoria in 1862, it acquired the title of Cathedral. It is also known as the old cathedral, to distinguish it from the new cathedral, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary and built in the 20th century in the neo-Gothic style.
Listing: property of cultural interest (1931). Unesco World Heritage Site as part of the Pilgrimage Route to Santiago de Compostela.
Architect: Alfredo Baeschlin.
History: located on the Fray Francisco de Vitoria promenade, the Ajuria Enea Palace was built in 1920 by Swiss architect Alfredo Baeschlin for industrialist Serafín Ajuria Urigoitia. In 1980, after being a museum, the palace became the headquarters of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.
Characteristic: its external appearance shows all the architectural elements of neo-Basque art (double archery on the ground floor, three central unified windows with balcony recesses and heraldic elements on the first floor, semi-circular windows).
Casa del Cordón
Construction: 15th century
Style: Gothic civil architecture
Characteristics: the Casa del Cordón is a bourgeois house in Calle Cuchillería in the old quarter of Vitoria. It is named after the cord of the Franciscan order that is placed over the arch of one of the house's twin entrances.
History: it was built in the 15th century by Jewish merchant and convert Pedro Sánchez de Bilbao on old medieval houses, around the old Gaona tower from the 13th century, which remains on the first two floors of the palace. The broken and polychrome vault that covers the tower's reception room has remained intact to this day.
Special feature: it has hosted illustrious guests such as Philip the Fair and his wife Joan of Navarre. Adrian VI was in this palace in 1522 when he learned that he had been appointed pope.
Current use: after a complex restoration work, the building houses a number of exhibitions with a strong didactic character: exhibitions on the world of indigenous culture, history, nature, crafts, folklore, Basque mythology, etc.
Foundation: opened to the public in 2002
Characteristics: Designed by architect José Luis Catón, the building is located under a large trapezoidal square previously occupied by the old bus station of Vitoria-Gasteiz. As in a warehouse, a large part of the spaces are located below street level. In the main entrance there is a large ceramic by Joan Miró and Llorens Artigas, and a monumental sculpture by Javier Pérez. In the basement, where the rooms are accessed, local artist Anabel Quincoces installed Water Flames (flowing) in 2007, a sculptural ensemble of blown glass pieces. The artists exhibited include Miquel Barceló, Joseph Beuys, Joan Brossa, Juan Francisco Casas, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Eduardo Chillida, Salvador Dalí, Óscar Domínguez, Manolo Millares, Joan Miró, Juan Munoz, Jorge Oteiza, Pablo Palazuelo, Pablo Picasso, Antonio Saura, Antoni Tàpies, Juan Uslé and Darío Villalba.
History: The Artium Museum, or Central Basque Museum of Contemporary Art, is a semi-public institution. It has an important collection of modern and contemporary art, mainly Spanish. Although it is only recently established, its collections are unexpectedly rich thanks to a selection process that began in the 1970s.
The city has one of the best-preserved medieval quarters in Spain. The district has preserved its almond-shaped layout and a walk along its streets allows you to admire the city walls, the main Gothic churches, visit unusual museums such as the Bibat Archaeology and Playing Cards Museum, or follow the mural circuit.
These are small mushrooms of the Calocybe gambosa type that proliferate at the end of winter and are one of the key elements of Basque cuisine in spring. In French, they are called "mousserons" (which gave rise to the English word mushroom). Very aromatic, with a pleasant texture, they are the great local culinary speciality until after the first half of May. On their own, in scrambled eggs or omelettes, or to give more flavour to stews, perretxikos are offered on the menus of bistros, taverns and prestigious restaurants. As May matures in the calendar, perretxikos grow, open their caps and lose their taste value for some purists.