Visit to the Town Hall and Old Town of Bilbao
Tuesday, 20th May

Participants in the accompanying persons’ programme will be welcomed by Mr Asier Abaunza, Councillor of the Traffic and Transport department, at an official reception on 20th May in the Arab Hall of the Town Hall. This is a richly decorated hall in the Neo-Mudéjar style that resembles the decor of the Alhambra in Granada. Afterwards a visit will be paid to the old part of the city.

Since Bilbao was founded in 1300, the current Town Hall is the fourth that the city has had throughout its history. The architect Rucoba was inspired by the III French Republic for the ornate exterior of the building. The Town Hall is crowned by a bell tower and features carved reliefs of five important figures of Bilbao’s story – its founder Don Diego López V de Haro, the cardinal Antonio Javier Gardoqui, the admiral Juan Martínez de Recalde, the deputy provost Tristán de Leguizamón and the economist Nicolás de Arrquibar. Four sculptures flank the building, two sergeants-at-arms and two heralds. Two sculptures stand out on the main staircase, representing law and justice. Tradition has it that the fifth step of this staircase refers to the official height of Bilbao, 8.804 m above sea level. In the interior there are three main rooms: the reception hall, the plenary hall and the entrance and staircases. The decoration of these spaces also embodies eclecticism, because the reception hall is neo-Arabian while the other two rooms are from neo-renaissance.

During the visit to the Casco Viejo (Old Town), the visitor will discover medieval Bilbao with its cobbled streets, cornerstones, charming squares and corners, all of which have witnessed the intense trade activity that developed the city. Its fortress, the gothic cathedral of Santiago, the Plaza Nueva, the emblematic church of San Antón and its old remains and the Ribera Market all play a lively part in the story of Bilbao and encapsulate amazing urban vitality.


10:00 - Meeting point at the Euskalduna Conference Centre. Transfer to the Town Hall.
10:30 - Official Reception at the Town Hall.
11:00 - Bilbao Old Town city tour.
12:00 - End of the visit.

Visit to the Biscay Executive Council Building and Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
Wednesday, 21st May

Participants in the accompanying persons’ programme will pay a visit to the Biscay Executive council building follow by a look around the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum on 21st May.

The Biscay Executive Council Building is an eclectic 19th century palace, which stands out due to the use of different architectural styles and for the care that the architect Luis Aladren put into its main façade and ornate aspects. Its ornamental wealth is visible both outside and inside, where different art works are displayed and surrounded by luxurious furniture and pictorial motifs on the ceilings and walls.

The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum is nowadays one of the main museums in Spain. It is characterized by the wealth of the collection that takes you back through the ages, covering art from the 13th century to the present day. More than 100 years of history has allowed the museum to collect a wide range of works, considered by experts to be one of the most relevant and varied of the country. Since it opened its doors, the interest in establishing a representative artistic compendium has meant that a fine selection criteria has been applied, resulting in the visitor being offered a diverse panorama of the history of art. The museum collection comprises more than 10,000 objects distributed across five different sections: classical art, modern and contemporary art, Basque art, paper-based work and applied art.


10:00 - Meeting point at the Euskalduna Conference Centre. Transfer to the Biscay Executive Council Building.
10:30 - Tour of the Biscay Executive Council Building.
11:15 - Transfer to the Fine Arts Museum.
11:30 - Visit to the Fine Arts Museum.
13:00 - End of the visit.