Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vitoria - not ready for prime time - May 27, 2008

Our last stop in Spain, the weather had reverted to cool and damp and we were in Vitoria, a little hill city that should at least be "Closed for Alterations" or, maybe, just Closed. Vitoria is the second largest city in the Basque Country of Spain and is just 25 miles south of Bilbao, the largest city in the region. Vitoria was pretty much a sleepy backwater until 1980, when it was chosen as the seat of government for the Basque region. It still seems to be struggling to live up to this honor. Check here for unreadiness symptons.
In 581 CE, the Visigoth king
Liuvigild, founded the city of Victoriacum to celebrate his victory over the Vascones. Six hundred years later, in 1181, Sancho el Sabio, king of Navarre, built the current "old" city over a small hamlet called Gastiez. Shortly thereafter, in 1200 CE, Alfonso VIII of Castile seized the town and annexed it to the Kingdom of Castile.
The town continued to grow steadily and was granted the title of City by King Juan II of Castile in 1431. Over the ensuing centuries, the city prospered within its defensive walls and retains the layout of the medieval town to this day.

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