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Art and Culture in Bilbao

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Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Designed by Canadian American architect Frank Gehry, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao building represents a magnificent example of the most groundbreaking 20th-century architecture. With 24,000 m2, of which 9.000 are dedicated to exhibition space, the Museum represents an architectural landmark of audacious configuration and innovating design, providing a seductive backdrop for the art exhibited in it. Altogether, Gehry’s design creates a spectacular sculpture-like structure, perfectly integrated within Bilbao’s urban pattern and its surrounding area.
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Euskalduna Palace
The Euskalduna Palace Conference Centre or Euskalduna Palace Conference and Performing Arts Centre, was the second building built in the urban area of Abandoibarra after the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Opened in 1999, it was designed by architects Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios in corten steel as a symbol of the last vessel built in the old Euskalduna shipyard, wich had occupied this space for decades. It now runs a full programme of concerts, opera and theatre.
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Basilica of Begona
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.
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Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao
The origin of the current museum is in the first Fine Arts Museum, founded in 1908 and opened in 1914 and the Modern Art Museum opened in 1924. Both institutions and their collections were united in 1945, the year that the old building was constructed. The collection of the Fine Arts Museum, which opened in 1914, brings together over seven thousand works of art, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper and applied arts, with an outstanding heritage spanning from the twelfth century to the present. It contains important examples of ancient, modern and contemporary painting and has a special interest in the Spanish school of art and in Basque artists, by whom it has a large collection of works.
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San Sebastian's City Hall
What is today San Sebastián's City Hall was home to the city’s Gran Casino from the time it was opened on 1st July 1897 until it was closed in 1924 with the prohibition of gambling. Its roulette tables and Dance Hall, currently the Plenary Hall, provided entertainment for politicians, writers and artists in the Belle Epoque period.
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Victoria Eugenia Theater
Belle Epoque in design yet highly modern in spirit. That’s how we could describe the Victoria Eugenia Theatre, a building that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. Located in the city centre, in full view of the Kursaal and on the banks of the River Urumea, the Victoria Eugenia Theatre proposes a varied and continually changing programme. This sandstone building sporting plateresque motifs with Spanish Renaissance forms was created by the architect Francisco de Urcola in 1912. Particularly interesting on the facade are, over the Doric columns, four groups of sculptures representing the opera, tragedy, comedy and drama. For decades the Victoria Eugenia Theatre has been the principal hub of the International Film Festival; since its renovation in 2007, the building now offers new cutting edge spaces and audiovisual technologies.
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Museo Wuerth La Rioja
The Würth Museum has been designed as a 20th-21st avant-garde international contemporary arts scenario. Here the works belonging to the Würth España collection will be exhibited, as well as those of the Würth Collection from Germany, considered one of the main ones in Europe and collected thanks to the initiative of Professor Dr. h.c. Reinhold Würth since the 1960s.
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The University of Navarre Museum
A building designed by Rafael Moneo, which holds a contemporary art collection that includes artists such as Tàpies, Picasso, Kandinsky and Chillida. It is also home to a major photo collection.
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Fine Arts Museum
In addition to Degas's masterpiece " The Cotton Office in New Orleans" , the museum presents a very fine collection of paintings from Flemish, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and French schools from the 15th to the 20th century. It is the second museum of Aquitaine by the richness of its collections.
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The Diocesan Cathedral Museum
This is an old Gothic building which dates back to the 13th and 14th century. Its altarpiece is a superb example of Spanish Renaissance sculpture carved in alabaster by Damián Forment between 1520 and 1533, representing the Passion of Christ.
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Niemeyer Centre
This great cultural centre is the first work by the architect Oscar Niemeyer in Spain.It is located on the Aviles estuary, five minutes from the town's historic centre on foot. Its broad cultural programme of international activities includes exhibitions, plays, dances, films, concerts, conferences and gastronomic activities.
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The Musee des Beaux-Arts of Bordeaux
The Musée des Beaux-Arts of Bordeaux exhibits works from the biggest names in European art, as well as artists from Bordeaux, coming from several periods of time and various schools.
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Grand Theatre de Bordeaux
Of all the public buildings in Bordeaux, the Grand-Théâtre is unquestionably the most well-known and appreciated. It stands on the site of a former temple (Les Piliers de Tutelle) that was once in the middle of a Gallo-Roman forum. The Grand Théâtre's construction was made necessary by the destruction of a performance hall in 1755. The latter was located in the outbuildings of the former town hall, near the Grosse Cloche. Architect François Lhote, assisted by Soufflot, initially proposed a project that was not accepted by the city aldermen. Eventually, Marshal de Richelieu, governor of the province of Guyenne, imposed the Parisian architect Victor Louis (1731-1800). In order to pay for the construction, the land located on the southern glacis of the Château Trompette was sold. It took more than five years to build the Grand Théâtre and, after many vicissitudes, it was inaugurated in 1780 with a performance of Athalie, a play by Jean Racine. The rectangular-shaped structure opens up onto Place de la Comédie to the west with a peristyle featuring 12 Corinthian columns supporting an entablature and a balustrade decorated with 12 statues (the nine muses and three goddesses). At the beginning, this peristyle was on the same level as Place de la Comédie. However, in the mid-19th century, it was decided to lower the level to make it easier for horse-drawn carriages to cross. The Grand Théâtre was nevertheless innovative, and Victor Louis imagined a clever oblique arrangement of stones maintained by a metal tie beam at the angles of the peristyle in order to support them. This ingenious combination became known as "Victor Louis's nail".
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The Cite du Vin
Since June 1, 2016, Bordeaux has a contemporary monument, which illustrates the city's dedication to the fruit of the vine: La Cité du Vin.The purpose of this museum is to create a space where sensory experiences are centered wholly around wine. This site is fully dedicated to this "nectar," as a living piece of French history and culture
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Puerta De Alcala Gate
This is one of the most well-known monuments in Madrid. Built between 1769 and 1778 under the orders of King Carlos III, it was designed by Francisco Sabatini and erected as a triumphal arch to celebrate the arrival of the monarch at the capital. The granite gate is 19.5 metres tall and is elegant and well-proportioned. The façade features a number of decorative elements with groups of sculptures, capitals, reliefs and masks, among others.
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Plaza de Cibeles
The stunning Palacio de Cibeles is not only the headquarters of Madrid City Council, it is also home to CentroCentro. A recent addition to the renowned Paseo del Arte, the cultural centre boasts a packed programme of activities that revolve around the city and includes exhibitions, workshops, conferences and concerts. Next to the entrance hall, where you’ll find interactive information screens, there is a colourful lounge where visitors can sit back and read, connect to WiFi or enjoy some people-watching through the large windows that look out onto Plaza de Cibeles. The building has two restaurants: Colección Cibeles on the ground floor and Palacio de Cibeles on the 6th. Both are open Monday to Sunday. Also on the sixth floor is Terraza Cibeles, a great rooftop bar where you can relax with a pre-dinner drink or mid-afternoon snack as you take in the wonderful views of the Plaza de Cibeles and the Madrid skyline. For even more breathtaking vistas, head up to the Mirador observation deck on the 8th floor.
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Cibeles Fountain
Built in 1782, the Cibeles Fountain has been standing in this emblematic square since 1895. One of the city’s most famous landmarks, it depicts Cybele, the Great Mother and Roman goddess of fertility, atop a chariot drawn by two lions. It stands in the centre of the Plaza de Cibeles, the square to which it has lent its name and which marks the start of Madrid’s avenue of art, the Paseo del Arte. The fountain is flanked by four magnificent buildings: Buenavista Palace (the Army’s General Headquarters), Linares Palace (which accommodates the Casa de América cultural institution), Cibeles Palace (previously the main Post Office, it now houses Madrid City Hall and CentroCentro cultural centre), and the Bank of Spain. Commissioned by King Charles III it was designed by renowned Spanish architect Ventura Rodriguez. All three figures were made with purple marble from the town of Montesclaros, in Toledo, and the rest of the monument was carved from stone from Redueña, an area 53km to the north of Madrid, close to the La Cabrera mountain range.
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Royal Palace of Madrid
Madrid's Royal Palace was built in the 18th century by order of Philip V on the site of the old Alcázar fortress, a former Moorish castle. Sachetti began the works in 1738, and the building was completed in 1764. Sabatini designed the southeast wing and the great staircase, or staircase of honour. It has a square floor plan with a large central courtyard. The Puerta del Príncipe gateway on the east side gives access to the central courtyard. The Sabatini and Campo del Moro Gardens are among the Palace's other attractions, as well as its several different façades. There is some debate as to its artistic style; it is thought by some experts to belong more to the Baroque, and by others to the Neo-classical style. Of particular note among its numerous rooms are the Royal Guards' Room, the Columns Room, the Hall of Mirrors and King Charles III's room. It also contains paintings by Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, El Greco and Caravaggio.
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Prado Museum
This gallery in Madrid has the most complete collection of Spanish painting from 11th-18th centuries, and numerous masterpieces by great universal artists such as El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Bosch, Titian, Van Dyck and Rembrandt. The quality and variety of its collection makes the Prado one of the world's best-endowed museums. It combines a first-class collection of Spanish painting, the most important works of the Flemish and Italian schools, and various fine examples of the German, French and English schools. It is home to numerous masterpieces of universal art such as Las Meninas by Velázquez, the two Majas by Goya, Nobleman with his hand on his chest by El Greco, the Garden of Delights by Bosch, and The Three Graces by Rubens, among other priceless pieces. Although the museum was created to house primarily works of painting and sculpture, it also contains major collections of drawings, engravings, coins and medals, as well as items of clothing and decorative art.
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Plaza Mayor Square
One of the most beautiful squares in Spain. It was built in Baroque style according to the plans of Alberto Churriguera. On the north side is the City Hall, a Baroque building that has five granite arches and a steeple decorated with allegoric figures.
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La Llotja de Lleida
La Llotja is a monolithic construction, subdivided into three functional levels allowing it to serve different purposes. The central level is the interconnecting core, linking up the various programmes by means of the central stairway/ramp, which also provides illumination.
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Musee Des Automates Et Modeles Reduits
More than 300 automated models of famous people, historic scenes of life in La Rochelle and animated display cases to enchant both old and young visitors alike. . Your visit will also take you to a reconstruction of Montmartre with its 1900s atmosphere with artists, musicians
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Saint Jean Dangle Fort Castle
The fairy castle Mélusine Family go for 3h visit at the time of the knights! Upon your arrival, dress up for free and start exploring the castle through a new puzzle route for children and a quiz for the older ones.
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Fondation Bemberg
This museum that brings together works from the Renaissance and Impressionist masterpieces can be found in the most beautiful mansion house of the city: a feast for the eyes. This foundation housed in the Hôtel d’Assézat and created by Argentinian collector Georges Bemberg brings together numerous works of western art from the Renaissance to the early XX Century. In the Renaissance-style salons, the first floor brings back to life the interiors of different eras by combining period furniture, tableaux and objet d’art. The 2nd floor is given over to modern paintings and it is important not to miss the 35 tableaux by post-impressionist Bonnard. Among the artists on display we find Guardi, Cranach the Elder, Veronese, Titian, Fantin-Latour… In order to fully appreciate this visit, lift your gaze and admire the well-preserved XVI Century ceiling on the 1st floor.
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Le Capitole
In Toulouse there is no Mairie, but rather a majestic Capitole! An emblematic building, it is home to the town hall, a theatre and rooms of state where you can bump into celebrities from the city. The seat of municipal power since its construction, commissioned by the Capitouls in the XII Century, transformed and embellished in every era, La Capitole shows its majestic Neo-Classical façade to the unmistakable square that shares its name. Its walls could tell of the great moments in the history of Toulouse: from the Cathar episode to the creation of the Floral Games, from the Counts of Toulouse to the siege of the city. On the first floor, you cross magnificent reception rooms that are decorated with the Allegories of Love by Paul Gervais, 10 giant canvases by Henri Martin and, notably, the Salle des Illustres whose paintings retrace the history of Toulouse and whose busts bring back to life the personalities that have defined the city.
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Basilica of Saint-Sernin
The largest church (115 metres in length), a jewel of Roman art begun in 1075 and consecrated in 1096. Pilgrimage church, designed to receive the crowds of pilgrims walking towards Compostela, and to shelter a religious community. One of the symbols of Toulouse, this basilica of brick and stone is certainly imposing. Majestic and luminous, it was built between the XI and XIV Centuries in honour of St Saturnin (or Sernin), the first bishop of the city. An important stop along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, it inspires reverence and its vast proportions are ideal for strolling past the numerous reliquaries.
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The Augustins Museum
A museum rich in sculptures, the Musée des Augustins has a unique collection of Roman sculptures and also masterpieces from the area’s Gothic era as well as numerous 19th Century sculptures representing the vitality of Toulouse’s artistic creation.
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Hotel D'assezat
A short hop from the Pont Neuf, a monumental stone doorway hides a masterpiece of the Classical Renaissance. You can even take tea here in the summer, if you are brave enough to face the lions and warriors… The sumptuous courtyard of honour is the backdrop for two façades punctuated by antique columns and linked by a stairway tower. Everything matches the level of ambition of the man that commissioned it, Pierre d’Assézat, merchant and Capitoul of Toulouse, who made his fortune from pastel in the XVI Century. Bequeathed to the city in 1895, it was then home to the academies and learned societies where the Floral Games were created in 1323. It was this exceptional venue that was selected by the Argentine Georges Bemberg in which to display his collection of art, which you can explore at the foundation that shares his name. Beneath the loggia, you can quench your thirst as you contemplate the courtyard and façades of the most beautiful Renaissance mansion house of Toulouse.
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Musee Des Beaux Arts
The paintings and ceramics make this museum a splendid panoramic survey of European art from the 17th century to the present day. Educational tours throughout the school year.
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The Fine Arts Museum of Limoges
This large 18th-century-style building, designed by the Brousseau brothers, used to be the town's Bishop palace. The building was also used as a fire station as well as a hospital. It was restored from the 1802 concordat, onwards into the 19th century:
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Zenith
Imagined by Bernard Tschumi, this building made of Limousin Douglas pine wood and wrapped in polycarbonate fits perfectly, thanks to its transparency, into the surrounding forest. With a welcoming capacity of 6,000 seats, it is dedicated to the great artistic and cultural events of the city.
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Fine arts Museum of Nantes
Museum of fine arts in Nantes was founded in the early nineteenth century and has since been considered one of the largest and best museums in France, outside Paris. Since 1804, this Museum houses a unique collection of sculptures and paintings that were created from the XII century to the beginning of XX century.
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The Donjon de Gouzon
The Donjon de Gouzon houses a space of Industrial Archeology on 4 levels. This dungeon of the twelfth century. and thirteenth century, restored houses a museum space on four levels. The vertical movement is ensured by an elevator (public commission of the Delegation to the Visual Arts), work of the architect designer Sylvain Dubuisson.
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Park Guell
Park Guell is one of the most fantastic designs ever built by Gaudi. A landmark on its own, it features amazing views of Barcelona and plenty of modernist works. Needless to say, as soon you pass the entrance, you’ll notice right away that this isn’t an ordinary park. Curiously, Park Güell wasn’t originally intended to be a park, but rather a project for luxurious homes. In 1900, the site was just a rocky hill with nothing but vegetation around, in the vicinity of some isolated upper class country houses. The result was one of the most fascinating works by Gaudí. The intention of the project was to take advantage of the breathtaking views of Barcelona and the clean fresh air, away from the factories, in order to build a top of the line housing complex. In Park Guell, there are plenty of paths and vegetation to enjoy, but the architectural structures are the glue that holds the whole place together.
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Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is definitely the most famous building in Barcelona. Considered one of Gaudi’s masterpieces, it’s a key attraction in Barcelona and one of the most striking monuments ever built in the world. In fact, there is absolutely no other building in the world featuring such a genius mixture between Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. Antoni Gaudí took over the project in 1883, a year after construction had begun, and completely reshaped the project to fit his unique style. Unfortunately, Gaudí died in 1926 when only a quarter of the project had been constructed. Sadly, most of the blueprints left were burned in a fire, therefore, all that’s been built ever since has been a wide interpretation of Gaudi’s architecture. Stopping over the Sagrada Familia should be top priority if you’re in Barcelona for the first time. Visiting the basilica it’s an enjoyable experience and a great way to be introduced into Gaudí’s architecture. Besides, it offers the best possible views of the surrounding Eixample District, Barcelona’s own Big Apple.
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Palau de la Musica Catalana
El Palau de la Musica Catalana is the most famous concert halls in Barcelona. Squeezed between the narrow streets of La Ribera neighborhood, is one of the most fantastic buildings of the Modernista movement.