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Bilbao today is a prime example of urban restructuring, having transitioned from an industrial city to a city of services and culture.

Discover the urban evolution of Bilbao visually and intuitively by taking a historical look at the most relevant projects undertaken in the process.


In project

Bilbao's transformation has no start and end date, but rather is an ongoing process.

Learn about the projects that will become the new landmarks to consolidate Bilbao as a leading city in urban planning and architecture.


New constructions

For some time now, Bilbao has been unveiling significant urban and architectural novelties.

This section will provide full detail of recent endeavours which are already a part of the New Bilbao.


Heritage buildings

Bilbao has taken great pains to preserve its heritage as much as possible, making renovating and preserving Bilbao's historic buildings a key aspect to combining the new architecture with that of inspired artists of yesteryear.



Modern architecture has raised twenty-first century Bilbao off the ground. As great national and international architects -many of them recipients of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize- left their mark in the form of modern works of art.The city's commitment to world-class architecture is self-evident and has been successful.




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Bilbao and its bridges

Puente Rontegi y Puente Bizkaia

With ships entering Bilbao from the outer port, for many years it was imperative to keep the river free of obstacles. There could only be a few bridges and they had to be “passable”, such as the famous Bizkaia Bridge transporter bridge, and World Heritage Site, commonly known as the Hanging Bridge of Portugalete, the entry point for ships sailing up the river.

Moving up river to Rontegi Bridge, which is restricted to vehicular traffic, has never been an obstacle due to its enormous height. However, Deusto Bridge, inaugurated in 1936, was for many years the only bridge that joined the left and right banks of the river at the same level. Although it was originally a double leaf drawbridge allowing vessels to sailing up river, this is now impossible as it was permanently sealed shut in 1996. Another double leaf drawbridge, The Town Hall Bridge, opposite to Town Hall, suffered the same fate when it was sealed shut forever in 1969, permitting only recreational vessel traffic into Bilbao.

Ever since then, never have the two margins of the river been drawn so close together. Two novel and original footbridges, Zubi Zuri, work of architect Santiago CALATRAVA, and Pedro Arrupe Pedestrian Bridge were inaugurated in 1997 and 2004 respectively. Also from 1997, there is the Euskalduna Bridge, opposite the Conference Centre of the same name, serving road traffic and pedestrians alike.

Further to these three links across the River, architect Zaha HADID has also been commissioned to design a number of new pedestrian bridges, still in the project phase, for the district of Zorrotzaurre. Additionally, the River of Bilbao will soon boast the longest drawbridge in the world, measuring 150 metres in length. It will join the two river margins to bring the tram from the Basque Public University to the Urbinaga area of Sestao. With an investment of €60 million, construction on this landmark will commence in 2012.

Zubi Zuri y Pasarela Padre Arrupe

Zubi Zuri is a, 10 m. high and 75 m. long, arched construction over the river. The 4 m. wide footbridge is structured around a tubular girder from which a number of supports descend to hold the glass brick platform, giving the impression of a spectacular white sailboat.

Pedro Arrupe Footbridge is radically different. Planned by engineer Jose Antonio FERNANDEZ ORDOÑEZ, it was completed by his son Lorenzo, following his death. This six metre wide structure, containing thirteen pieces of steel, has six entrances and measures 140 m. in length. The bridge is completed by a covering of Brazilian Walnut wood with a special non-slip treatment and an anti-vibration device.

Euskalduna Zubia

Euskalduna Bridge is the nearest to the sea. Engineer Javier MANTEROLA, from Navarre, conceived this new bridge intended for both motor vehicles and pedestrians. The bridge is made from a 250 m. long and 27 m. wide curved solid metal structure, with a large canopy covering the pedestrian area.

Since its inauguration in 1997, Euskalduna Bridge has absorbed most of the traffic from Deusto Bridge and the tunnel that joins Enekuri to Morgan Street. Its most emblematic element is a 45 m. high illumination tower. All in all, it is much more than just an ornament over the river.

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