The rich industrial history of the Basque Country and its evident love for art have combined to produce a broad display of industrial art. The best example is, without a doubt, Bizkaia Bridge across the Bilbao Estuary, linking the districts of Areeta (Getxo) and Portugalete, designed in 1893 by Alberto Palacio. The first suspension-transporter bridge in the world was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006, noted for its innovative use of braided steel cables and considered one of the most important works of architecture using iron in the Industrial Revolution. Today it has a new gondola for transporting pedestrians and vehicles and a walkway 50 metres high that allows you to appreciate its impressive beauty.
Also in Bilbao is the La Carola, a huge crane located in the ancient Euskalduna shipyard, today the home of the Bilbao Maritime Museum. Built in 1957, it was at the time the most powerful crane in Spain used for the construction of large ships. It is said to owe its name to a beautiful girl from Bilbao called Carola.
For those who want to learn more, there are four museums which should be visited.
The Iron Museum, in Legazpi (Gipuzkoa), offering an interesting look at the uses and development of this metal.
The Basque Railway Museum, in Azpeitia (Gipuzkoa), where it is possible to listen to the delightful sound of the steam trains while on board the steam train that makes a ten-kilometre trip along the ancient rails of Urola, from Azpeitia to Lasao and back, from April to November.
At the La Encartada Beret Museum (Bizkaia) you will learn how one of the most characteristic items of Basque clothing, the beret or txapela, is made, and to about the social changes that reached Basque society. The exhibit is held at the former installations of the Fundación Boinas Encartada Kultur Ingurunea, founded in 1892, where visitors can see the steel and metal machinery, still in perfect condition, once used to manufacture the berets.
This museum has a permanent exhibition highlighting the art and history of the Altos Hornos de Vizcaya blast furnaces. Temporary exhibitions are organised in one of the galleries, featuring local artists from the iron region, as well displays revolving around industry, fishing, sailing, etc.