Our Lady and Basilica de Begoña Bilbao

Basilica de Begoña Bilbao

The locals say that the Virgin of Begoña appeared in an oak tree, and that a hermitage was then built on that exact spot. This is the site on which the current impressive basilica was raised in 1519, designed by Sancho Martinez de Arego.

Upon entering the temple you can feel the admiration and devotion for the “Amatxu de Begoña”, as the patron saint of Bizkaia is affectionately known. Its beautiful polychrome wood carving can be seen under the altarpiece in the main altar and this is always surrounded with flowers and candles.

Our Lady and Basilica de Begoña Bilbao

Coming to Bilbao and having the best stay:


Guides and tours in Bilbao:


During the months of the Civil War, the original image of the Virgin was replaced with a copy. The real one was kept, together with other objects of worship, in a safe room in the basilica, under the bell tower.

The carving is especially venerated on 15 August, when the devout walk up to the temple to attend the first Mass of the day. On 11 October, the day of the Virgin, there is a procession in her honour.

It is located between Etxebarría park and the neighbourhood of Santutxu, in the highest part of the Old Town. One remarkable feature is the mixture of different styles, due both to the construction work being carried out over many years and to the reconstructions and the number of architects involved in its construction. See more Catholic shrines and Basilicas in Spain.

Our Lady and Basilica de Begoña Bilbao

See more European Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages

See top 15 Catholic shrines around the world

The peaceful gardens at the base of the Basilica de Begoña offer fantastic views over the city. Its construction was possible thanks to the alms and contributions received from the parishioners.

The basilica belongs to the people, and this explains the emblems that decorate the pillars in the central nave, which are for the guilds and merchants of the city.

The Virgin of Begoña is today an emblematic image for the Basques, but that was also the case in times gone by. The ancient mariners of the town, when they came to the spot where the Guggenheim now stands and saw the spire of its basilica appear, gave their thanks to the “Amatxu” for saving them. They were once again in Bilbao, home safe and sound.

Our Lady and Basilica de Begoña Bilbao

Our Lady of Begoña’s sanctuary

It is Our Lady of Begoña’s sanctuary. The current temple was built on the ruins of a former primitive hermitage in the XVI Century. The construction lasted one century, because it started in 1511. It is a temple of three naves, without transept, and covered by rib vaults from the XVII.

The façade is Renaissance with a great Triumphal arch, although it has suffered several restorations afterwards, especially after the Carlist War when the façade and the tower were pulled down.

View hotel deals in Bilbao:



Booking.com

  • Monday  9:00(*), 11:00, 18:00
  • Tuesday 9:00, 11:00, 18:00
  • Wednesday 9:00(*), 11:00, 18:00
  • Thursday 9:00, 11:00, 18:00
  • Friday 9:00(*), 11:00, 18:00
  • Sáturday 9:00, 11:00, 18:00, 19:00(*), 20:00
  • Sunday 10:00(**), 12:00, 13:00, 18:00(***), 20:00

(*) Mass in Euskara language
(**) Bilingual Mass
(***) Only in the summer months

Basilica of Our Lady of Begoña

The locals say that the Virgin of Begoña appeared in an oak tree, and that a hermitage was then built on that exact spot. This is the site on which the current impressive basilica was raised in 1519, designed by Sancho Martinez de Arego.

Upon entering the temple you can feel the admiration and devotion for the “Amatxu de Begoña”, as the patron saint of Bizkaia is affectionately known. Its beautiful polychrome wood carving can be seen under the altarpiece in the main altar and this is always surrounded with flowers and candles. During the months of the Civil War, the original image of the Virgin was replaced with a copy. The real one was kept, together with other objects of worship, in a safe room in the basilica, under the bell tower. The carving is especially venerated on 15 August, when the devout walk up to the temple to attend the first Mass of the day. On 11 October, the day of the Virgin, there is a procession in her honour.

It is located between Etxebarría park and the neighbourhood of Santutxu, in the highest part of the Old Town. One remarkable feature is the mixture of different styles, due both to the construction work being carried out over many years and to the reconstructions and the number of architects involved in its construction. The peaceful gardens at the base of the basilica offer fantastic views over the city. Its construction was possible thanks to the alms and contributions received from the parishioners. The basilica belongs to the people, and this explains the emblems that decorate the pillars in the central nave, which are for the guilds and merchants of the city.

In 1835, during the first Carlist War, the main façade and bell tower were destroyed. These were rebuilt between 1902 and 1907 by José María Basterra. The vestry is also from the 20th century. At the end of this century the stone was cleaned and there was work on the carillon, the clock and the 24 Swiss bells.

Despite being originally conceived in Gothic style, in the middle of the 16th century the main façade was built as a triumphal arch in the Mannerist style. In keeping with the range of different styles, it has a chorus of Classicist features.

The interior consists of a spacious central nave with a polygonal apse and two lower side naves covered with a 17th century ribbed vault resting on ten strong cylindrical pillars. Its Baroque altarpiece was destroyed during the Carlist Wars and was replaced with the current one, the work of Modesto Echániz and in the Elizabethan style, which contains the image of the Virgin.

The Virgin of Begoña is today an emblematic image for the Basques, but that was also the case in times gone by. The ancient mariners of the town, when they came to the spot where the Guggenheim now stands and saw the spire of its basilica appear, gave their thanks to the “Amatxu” for saving them. They were once again in Bilbao, home safe and sound.

Posted in Europe and Spain