The town of Ordizia, popular due to its Wednesday ordinary market, is articulated around its old quarter, where noble and bright buildings gather.
Villafranca was founded in 1268 by King Alfonso X of Castile; following a strategic defence plan, he was granted the Jurisdiction of Vitoria which includes a series of rights and privileges for residents, such as the right to use the ovens and mills, tax exemption, etc. It was surrounded by a city wall in the shape of an ellipse or almond and it had 4 entrance gates: 1. Portal de Francia 2. Portal de la Soledad 3.Portal de Castilla and 4.Portal de Garagarza.
The main part of the town is built around the old quarter, with its elliptic shape dating back to late medieval times. After the Carlist Wars, the city walls were knocked down and the town expanded around the old quarter.
Ordizia has notably singular buildings. One of the most distinguished ones is the Barrena Palace, a palace large house dating from the beginning of the 17th century. Our attention will be attracted by its beautiful main staircase, in carved stone, and its magnificent salons where several General Assemblies of the Province were celebrated.
Another place of interest is the Zabale farmhouse, dating back to the 16th century, the owner of which was Head Treasurer of the Kingdom, who took part in the Battle of Lepanto. Situated outside the town centre, it is somewhat run down but it is worth a visit as a Moorish relic. It has an outstanding balcony with double stone arch with no mullion and a beautiful coat of arms.
From Ordizia to Lazkaomendi (PR-GI 02 route) we reach the Oianguren Municipal Park, a wide open natural space for leisure and recreational activities, with picnic areas, water fountains and BBQ area, where we will find Oianguren House, belonging to the family of Brother Andrés de Urdaneta. Andrés de Urdaneta (1508-1568), illustrious son of the town, cosmographer and sailor, achieved universal fame for discovering and documenting the route across the Pacific Ocean from the Philippines to Acapulco, known as the Urdaneta or Tornaviaje Route.
As with many other medieval settlements, fires were one of Villafranca’s worst enemies. Insides the city walls, most of the buildings were wooden, as stone was more expensive. The buildings had stables which were full of straw, which meant that fires soon spread from one house to another. This way, on 18th March 1512 Villafranca suffered a devastating fire, and for that reason, during the reign of Joanna of Castile, the Zumaia Council awarded a grant for its reconstruction. From that year, Ordizia has the right to hold a free weekly market every Wednesday throughout the year.
The weekly market is held every Wednesday in the Plaza Mayor of Ordizia. The prices fixed in it become the reference for the Basque Country's agricultural products during the whole week.
Other special markets are held every year. During the 'Euskal Jaiak' or Basque Feasts of September, the agricultural fair and its famous contest of sheep cheese made by shepherds; and the special market of December, the first Wednesday after Christmas Day.
Ordizia has been given various names over the years: Ordizia,Villafranca,Villafranca de Oria, Villafranca de Ordizia. On 4th January 1982, the Deputy Council for Local Administration of the Basque Government authorised the return to its old name of Ordizia.
DON'T MISS THIS
- Parish Church of Our Lady of La Asunción. 16th century building, constructed on another one dating from the 13th or beginning of the 14th century, preserving remains of its baroque tower.
- Town Hall: Built between 1830 and 1832, it has a Greek-Roman façade.
- Casa Solar or Barrena Palace: Palace large house dating from the beginning of the 17th century, one of the most illustrious buildings in the Town.
- Muxika Tower-House: Although it nowadays houses the General Post Office, the municipal assemblies were celebrated here until 1511.
- Abaria Manor House: Don Carlos was lodged in this house in 1875, when he pledged allegiance to Gipuzkoa's Fueros (special local laws).
-D'Elikatuz: Food, Nutrition, Gastronomy and Goierri Interpretation Center.
- Plaza Mayor: Location of the weekly market, held every Wednesday; a unique covered construction which was built in 1925 by the architect Gurrutxaga.
- Zabale Farmhouse: Located outside of the town, with an impressive Moorish-style tower.
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