Heraldry Tour

in Elorrio

HERALDRY TOUR: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE COATS OF ARMS OF ELORRIO

Of all the municipalities in Bizkaia, Elorrio is the one with the largest number of heraldic coats of arms: 69 to be precise. Out of these, 38 are found in the town centre, and the other 31 in the baserris (traditional farmhouses) in its countryside.

Most of the coats of arms in Elorrio match the surnames on the coats of arms of buildings located in the surrounding rural areas, where the family’s original ancestral home still stands.

This reference to the “ancestral home” is a relevant piece of information: at the time, it meant that its landlord could attest to the Bizkaian origin of their ancestors and the “purity” of their bloodline (that is, having no Arabic, Jewish, or convert ancestry). Although nowadays considered a racist practice, the fulfilment of this requirement granted the social status of hidalgo. Being an hidalgo came with tax exemptions and a coat of arms, although not all hidalgos had one.

 

Heraldic coats of arms are truly a rich source of information about the identity, ancestry, and social standing of their owners.

A sense of pride and desire to display one’s illustrious ancestry led to placing these coats of arms in the most visible and meaningful part of the building, usually in the centre of the main façade.

The 69 heraldic coats of arms extant in Elorrio can be classified into 3 different groups: Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

 

heraldica escudos en elorrio armarriak

ROUTE DESCRIPTION

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Duration: half a day
Ibilbide heraldikoa

YOUR SURNAME

COULD YOUR SURNAME BE ORIGINALLY FROM ELORRIO?

FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR ANCESTORS’ COAT OF ARMS

Kanpokaleko atea

GOTHIC COATS OF ARMS IN ELORRIO

Surviving until the end of the 16th century, the coats of arms from this period are very simple: they are generally carved in bas-relief and consist of a single pavilion. There are few examples of this kind in Elorrio, and their content does not refer to any surname. One example can be found on the Kanpokale Gate (on the old wall). It is a territorial coat of arms of the Catholic Monarchs; the other two are from Goiko-errota and show the trademarks of a merchant.

RENAISSANCE COATS OF ARMS IN ELORRIO

They remain austere, although often slightly protruding, and their structure or partitioning is more intricate, showing various pavilions or quarters. They also tend to be more elaborate in outline or shape.

One example is the Esteibar coat of arms, located on the façade of the Esteibar Arauna mansion (in Urarka Street, now Maria Bitartekoa school), overlooking its orchard. Another can be found on the façade of Urkizu Tower, located in Berrio-Otxoa Street.

 

Arespakotxaga jauregia

BAROQUE COATS OF ARMS IN ELORRIO

Developed from the 17th century onwards, they represent the golden age of Elorrio’s heraldry. They are most numerous and representative around the town’s mansions and their location in majestic, monumental buildings proclaims the prosperity of their masters.

They can be distinguished by the richness and variety of their framing elements, worked in high relief, which grants them their monumental appearance: helmets with plumes, mantlings (curly acanthus stems that fall down the sides), draping cloths, mottoes, mascarons, and lions, children, angels, mermaids and tritons.

Some may be made out of a single quarter, in which case they could be a replica of the coat of arms from its original location (Arespakotxaga). Others show partitions with several quarters (Arespakotxaga-Andueza, Arespakotxaga-Azkarraga) to accommodate the surnames of the different lineages to which they were related.

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Extended information...

Elorrio

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HISTORIC ELORRIO

A tour of the history of Elorrio.

CALVARY WALK

Discover Elorrio’s history by following these monumental crosses.

GREEN WAYS

Walking routes around Elorrio's rural neighbourhoods.

NECROPOLIS OF ARGIÑETA

The most important medieval funerary complex in the Basque Country

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SUMMER OPENING HOURS

From 1st June to  15th September

Monday: closed
Tuesday to Friday:
10:30 - 14:00 and 16:00 - 18:00
Saturday and festivities:
10:00 - 14:00 and 16:00 - 18:00
Sunday: 10:00 - 14:00

TOURISM OFFICE

Berrio-Otxoa Street, 1
48230 Elorrio (Bizkaia)

SOCIAL MEDIA

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