Euskadi is an enigma, as is the origin of its language. Euskera, the oldest language in Europe. The only way to decipher it is by getting to know the people and the rich vast culture of ancient tradition and deep rituals that mark the spirit of this nation. Symbolism is already present in the sacred oak tree of Gernika at the General Assembly House, a tree that pays tribute to the Basque people’s own unique system of governance. An old tree trunk and another younger tree demonstrate strength, wisdom and freedom, the same characteristics as carried by the Basque people in their DNA. The essence of the Basque cultural manifestations remains alive and continues to develop organically without ever losing touch with its past. There are multiple signals and it is a good idea to watch them in order to understand and fall in love with this culture.
The fronton, or Basque ball court, plays a significant role in every town in Euskadi. Rural sports such as the stone-lifting of the harrijasotzailes or watching an aizkolari chop wood, always arouse admiration. Or the regattas at La Concha in Donostia, which bring together around 100,000 people every September to watch the trainera rowing boats vie for one of the most sought-after awards in this sport: the Bandera de la Concha. The origin of this competition goes back to when whales were captured off the Cantabrian Coast and the boats used to race to be the first to reach the whales.
As well as being close to the sea, the traditional dances are also impressive, from the restrained aurresku to the surprising celebrations at Carnival time. Not to mention the architecture, from the farms dotted here and there across the mountains and valleys, to more contemporary architecture, a commitment to the future that has always demonstrated that Euskadi is a visionary nation. Its cultural heritage is so vast that anyone will be able to find places to visit, to learn and, more importantly, soak in the spirited Basque culture.