The cultural identity of the Basques is defined by multiple aspects, such as an ancestral history and an own culture, with particular ways of life, rites, beliefs and customs. An example of this is Oppidum de Arrolain the municipality of Arratzu, a fortified town of the Iron Age II, and Santimamiñe Cave, where remains of human settlements have been discovered from over 14,000 years ago. A genetic study enabled us to be sure that the county’s current inhabitants are descendents of the dwellers of Santimamiñe Cave!

Our language, Basque, is one of the oldest languages in western Europe and a cultural wealth that is joined by our folklore, with Basque dances y and popular songs, Bertsolarism, rural sport  and Basque pelota, with the cesta punta as a more international game. If you are interested in our culture, don’t miss theEuskal Herria mUSEUM de Gernika-Lumo.

jai alai
Atorrak Mundaka

The physical environment has also marked our way of life. The sea has since ancient times been and is what supports many inhabitants of Urdaibai. The municipality of Bermeo is a good example of this. To learn all the details of the “fisherman” way of life, be sure to visit the Fisherman’s Museum in the coastal town of Bermeo.

If we talk about the identity and culture of Urdaibai, we must talk about our country houses, a construction that serves as a dwelling and a way of life. Spread out over our municipalities, some on their own and others in a group, they form part of the cultural landscape and many of them are hundreds of years old.

In Urdaibai, we have 1,483 acres of tidelands and in this apparently virgin environment, if you know where to look, you will find secular practices of man that, constructed with wisdom and respect for the environment, have made up a landscape of a great many hues. Ancient stone and mud piers or munas, structures for gates, semi-dry zones for grass or polders and channels for ancient mills.

And if there is an image that is easily recognisable with the identity of the Basques, it is Tree of Gernika, , symbol of the traditional freedoms of the Basques. A history worth knowing.