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This eclectically designed building, built by Severino Achucarro in 1888, was initially home to the historic and liberal Society called El Sitio. That was until 1937, when it was taken over by General Franco's government and later sold to the Bilbao Council. Its ballroom, today a lecture hall, located on the top floor, regularly hosts concerts and conferences. Opposite this area is a place called The Daily Life Room, which houses all the very latest publications. On the floor below is found the main study and reference room, next to a smaller one used for exhibitions. This library, through whose doors some of the most renowned personalities of European cultural life have passed, is not out of touch with modern times and has a computer room on the ground floor which anyone can use freely to surf the net.
You'll find this park alongside Bilbao's Gran Vía and you can escape from the traffic to spend some peaceful time walking along the pathways amongst an amazing diversity of majestic trees. It was laid out between 1912 and 1920 along the lines of an English country house gardens and it boasts four ponds. The most popular sites are the duck pond and the pergola pond, with its spectacular cybernetic fountain that offers a veritable sound and light show during the summer. Next door, you can visit the impressive Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum). All parks in Bilbao are open 24 hours a day.