Home  WHAT TO SEE  Evaristo de Churruca – Route along the quayside in Getxo


Photograph on loan from Getxoko Liburutegiak - Getxo Municipal Libraries

If we look out toward El Abra Bay from the square beside the Vizcaya Bridge, we will find it difficult to imagine the landscape without the ships and buildings that are so characteristic of the seafront here in Getxo. Until well into the 20th century, the bridge and the quayside were among only a handful of constructions in the area.

The mouth of the estuary accumulated sand and sediments that hindered, and even blocked, the movement of ships (this sandbar was referred to as "la barra de Portugalete").

The problem of channelling this stretch of the river estuary was solved as from 1880, thanks to the work supervised by Evaristo de Churruca, who completed the iron wharf – El Muelle de Hierro de Portugalete (1887), the outer harbour in El Abra Bay (work completed in 1904), the Arriluze pier (1903), and the section of the quayside (1880) that bears his name.

This route will be following the quayside named after him, but let’s start with one of the most iconic landmarks of the industrial era in Euskadi-The Basque Country, namely, the Puente Bizkaia-Vizcaya Transporter Bridge!


Evaristo de Churruca y Brunet, first Count of Mutriku (Gipuzkoa), was born in Iza (Navarre) but spent most of his life in Bilbao. His was an epic family saga: among other relatives, his great-uncle Cosme Damián de Churruca was a hero at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Evaristo, too, left his mark on history, although in other fields. His meteoric career in engineering followed a number of paths. The outer harbour -El Puerto Exterior del Abra (1904) is his masterpiece.

Churruca was declared an honorary citizen, "Hijo adoptivo de Bilbao", and the old docks of Los Astilleros (which run along the riverside from the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao) are named after him. In Getxo, as well as having a quayside named after him, there is a monument dedicated to him that represents the allegory of a man who tamed the raging sea.

Have any of the landmarks on the route conjured up a memory?

Or perhaps a building, a landscape, an image has caught your eye...

Share your #Getxodeapie experience on social media.

¿Ganas de saber más?:

You still have another 13 routes, with the following being the closest: