The work of Sancho Martínez de Arego, it is built on the site where the Virgin appeared in a vision in the early sixteenth century, and it is mainly Gothic, but mixes several styles. The Basilica is a must for many citizens of Bilbao, who come daily to this sanctuary to venerate the Virgin of Begoña, patron saint of Bizkaia, known locally as the ‘Amatxu’ (Mother).
Seafaring people are also greatly devoted to the Virgin and as a result, there have been many boats registered in Bilbao with the name "Virgin of Begoña" or simply "Begoña" since the 16th century. In addition, it is the custom of sailors to salute the Sanctuary and sing the ‘Salve Regina’ when they first see the church from afar as they come up the river.
The "Amatxu" of Begoña, as she is popularly known, receives a heartfelt tribute from residents of Bilbao and Biscay on both 15 August and 11 October, the day of Our Lady of Begoña. On those dates, thousands of pilgrims from throughout the Historical Territory walk through the night to attend a mass in honour of the patron saint of Bilbao and Biscay at the Basilica that bears her name and is one of the great symbols of the city.