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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’s Old Quarter, the Heart of the City

Arriga y Casco ViejoWhile one will find the most avant-garde façades and business buildings in Bilbao in the district of Abandoibarra, the city has paid no less attention to any of its other areas and niches. A cure as called for to treat the open wound left by the industrial restructuring of the late 1970s, which reached a head when the Ibaizabal-Nervion River breached its banks causing severe flooding in all of Old Bilbao on 26th August 1983. Even today, one can see commemorative plaques throughout the Casco Viejo reminding the visitor of the maximum water level reached that fateful summer day when Old Bilbao and areas adjacent to the river were inundated.

Two years later in 1985, hope was by then restored with the founding of the Urban Planning and Renovation Public Company of Bilbao (SURBISA), with the goal of the urban development of the Casco Viejo, which was later expanded to the Bilbao la Vieja district of Old Bilbao in 1994. In 2003, the City of Bilbao commissioned SURBISA with the renovation of the neighbouring rail district of Zabala, which had been declared a degraded area by the Basque Government in 2002.

The ultimate goal of the development plan was not merely aesthetic. It was intended to keep people living in these areas, attract new residents and improve living standards. Two decades after devising the plan, it can be comfortably said that not only has the original objective been fully met, but all expectations have even been exceeded. Today Casco Viejo is a magnet attracting locals and tourists alike with its varied and lively atmosphere of shops, bars and restaurants.

Paseando por el Casco Viejo. Plaza Nueva

Wandering around the Casco Viejo we can find such treasures as the Neoclassical Plaza Berria, Santiago Cathedral, the Basque Archaeological, Ethnographic and History Museum in Unamuno Square, and the Archaeological Museum on Mallona stairway leading up to the Basilica of Begoña. There is also Meabe Square with a children’s playground giving breathing space to the heart of Old Bilbao where the Gayarre Theatre stood for over a century, as well as the Holy Steps Museum on Iturribide Street nearby. Finally, just a few more steps away in the neighbourhood of Atxuri, we find the Dioceses Museum of Religious Art.

Catedral de Santiago

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