Ensanche. Emblematic buildings


The architecture of Bilbao’s El Ensanche district, and of the Gran Vía in particular, is noted for its eclecticism.

Modernist façades intermingle with functional buildings and those in the Baroque, Neo-Gothic, Rationalist, Montañesa stone or Basque styles.

Yet despite that diversity of schools and architects, the overall result is a very dynamic urban space.

And that is the merit of Bilbao, both now and in the past: as it has embraced living in perpetual change, where the new replaces the old without any compunction.

In the early 19th century the City of Bilbao spread across the river estuary. The narrow streets of the Old Quarter had become too small and a new, bright, modern city was designed. The bourgeoisie wants to mirror Europe: Paris and London are the models to follow.