Gernika-Lumo, in País Vasco (the Basque Country), is an important historical and political town, and is the symbolic home of Basque rights and peace for the people of the region.
Devastated by the infamous Bombing of Gernika by the German Air Force's Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War on 26 April 1937, the town is named as a 'City of Peace' by UNESCO and is also a member of the World Association of Martyr Towns. Picasso painted a response to the bombing named 'Guernica' - a remarkable mural in blacks, whites and greys that depicts the suffering of individuals in war, gained the incident worldwide recognition and has become an iconic piece of anti-war art. The Town Hall and former Town Court in the centre of the town now hold a Peace Museum dedicated to the bombing as well as examining it to help understand the current state of peace in the world today.
Gernika-Lumo is also famous as the seat of the Biscayan parliament and is home to the Gernika Tree an oak tree, symbolising freedom, under which political assemblies of the Basque people were once held and under which the Basque Regional President of today is still sworn in. The Assembly House of Gernika ('Casa de Juntas') whose walls are built around the tree is a wonderful neoclassical building that is now known as the Assembly Hall of the General Assemblies of Bizkaia (Biscay).
Gernika-Lumo has an exceptional architectural heritage, in evidence from the statue of the town's founder, Don Tello, which stands in the Plaza de los Fueros, the magnificent Gothic church of Santa Mariá and the stunning Baroque Alegría Palace, now home to the Euskal Herria Museum which looks at the history, politics and culture of the Basque Country. Don't miss Gernika's weekly market on a Monday, the most important in the region and full of smells, colours and sounds. On the last Monday in October each year, a gastronomic festival attracting thousands from across the region, the Mercados de Gernika, takes over the streets with over 900 stalls selling produce such as vegetables, fruits, local txakoli wines, cheeses and honey, with street entertainers and performers giving a festive atmosphere.
The beautiful outdoors of Green Spain is not forgotten here and the Parque de Europa has a pleasant walk with two large outdoor sculptures, the 'Gure aitaren etxea' (Our Father's House) by Eduardo Chillida and 'Large Figure in a Shelter' by Henry Moore. The town is also a perfect starting point for exploring the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, an amazing natural area of oak forests, salt marshes, moors and mountains to name just a few of the landscapes in this conservation reserve that is home to over 600 plant and animal species.
Region: País Vasco
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