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Among the notable buildings around the Plaza Moyúa, halfway down Bilbao's Gran Vía, is the Chavarri Palace. This is a beautiful building by Belgian architect, Paul Ankar, constructed in 1889 as a commission for businessman, Víctor Chávarri, who wanted it as a residence. The Chavarri Palace is built in a Flemish neorealist style, and is considered one of the most unusual examples of its kind in the city. The combination of colors and formal features result in a beautiful building that today houses the Gobierno Civil de Vizcaya (Biscay Civil Government). Stunning windows, balconies, gables, staircases and pointed garrets form an interesting structure which deserves to be admired.
Built in 1920 by Gregorio Ibarreche, the Palacio de Ibaigane houses one of the most loved and followed institutions in Vizcaya: the headquarters of the hundred-year-old Athletic Club de Bilbao. Initially intended to be the La Sota family's residence, and later to house the Vizcayan Military Government, today this building in the style of the palaces of the first Baroque, holds within its walls the secrets of the football club supported by thousands of Vizcayans. On its facade, notice the outstanding and popularly inspired architectural motifs, the main characteristics of which are the framework of exposed brick, a short-arched entrance and the gables of the many projections. The trophies hall can be visited too.
It is situated in one of the best known residential districts of Bilbao: the Paseo del Campo Volantín alongside the estuary. Built by the architect Julián de Zubizarreta in 1894, this palace was the residence during the 1950's for the family of José María de Olábarri, an important businessman of the time. It is an admirable building in which French and English influences meet, as, for example, in its floor designed in an L shape, with noteworthy interior proportions. It was also occupied by the British Institute and since 1953 has been the headquarters of the Puerto Autónomo de Bilbao (Bilbao's Port Authority).
Narrow winding streets, small squares and neighborhoods comprise this charming district that buzzes with activity every day of the year. As the heart of the old town, this area dates back to 1300 and in 1972 was recognized in statute as having great historical and cultural importance. After the disastrous floods in 1983 much of the district was rebuilt and improved. The Plaza Nueva, Plaza Miguel de Unamuno and Santiago Cathedral are particularly deserving of a visit, as are the many independently-owned boutiques that offer shoppers a wealth of choices.
Near the town of Gernika and 37 kilometres from Bilbao, you'll find a piece of history belonging to the Magdalenian age, dating back some 13,000 years. The Caves of Santimamiñe near the Basque sculptor Ibarrola's famous Painted Wood, are situated in the western vertical of Mount Ereñusaña and were discovered by a group of children in 1917. Considered the most important example of rock painting in the Basque Country, it demonstrates a human presence during the oldest phase of conventional periodization. The majority of the discoveries in these caves belongs to the Magdalenian period, and the pictures are mainly of animals such as the bison and implements made out of bone which are decorated with simple line combinations. They are perfectly preserved and can be seen free of charge and with a guide throughout the week.