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Kurutzeaga Cross.
Durango is an industrial town situated 30km east from Bilbaomarker in the Biscay province, in the Basque Countrymarker (northern Spainmarker). It has 26,131 inhabitants (2004). The town is crossed by three rivers (as illustrated in the town symbol) the Ibaizabalmarker river being the main one, and lies in the middle of its wide valley, with the scenic Urkiola mountain range and natural park to the south. The most important peak is the majestic Anbotomarker (1331m).

History

Durango is a historic basque town. Its name was used by conquistadors like Francisco de Ibarra to found more Durangos in America named after the Basque original one, not least of which is a state in Mexico called Durangomarker, the principal city of which is called Durangomarker.

Some interesting monuments in Durango are the Kurutziaga Cross (15th century - currently removed from original site for restoration) and the baroque Santa Ana's Arch, designed by local architect Juan de Herdoiza (18th century). The arch was constructed to symbolise the town gates, through which the King was required to pass when he visited. Durango does not have a 'city wall'.

The town has the unfortunate claim of being the first place in the world to be blitzed by the Luftwaffe, at the request of General Francisco Franco.

Just like the Gernika bombing that followed, it was a busy shopping day - St. Maria, the central church (now a basilica) with a covered market, was the target. About 500 people were killed in Durango but it was not as famous as the following bombing of Gernikamarker a few days later, to which Pablo Picasso paid tribute in his painting for the Paris Exhibition. 1

There is less heavy industry in the town than ten or twenty years ago as it's being replaced by high density housing projects and shopping facilities.

Communications and Transport

Durango was for many years the home of Euskal Telebista (http://www.eitb.com/english/). This public television company broadcasts in Euskera (Basque) and Spanish. It also has a global presence with satellite channel beamed across the world. ETB has moved to a new headquarter in Bilbao.

Bus

Every half an hour there is a BizkaiBus bus service to Bilbaomarker. There are two routes, one via the AP-8 motorway which takes about 30 minutes. This bus runs on the hour. The other slower crosscountry route stops in all towns and takes about 50 mins. There is also a once an hour bus to Eibarmarker, a neighbouring town of a similar size to Durango.

Buses also run to a variety of coastal villages, such as Ondarroamarker and Lekeitiomarker (from Iurretamarker, a neighbouring village part of the Durango conurbation). There are direct buses to Vitoria-Gasteizmarker Donostiamarker (San Sebastian).

Train

The trains (from EuskoTren company) are narrow gauge and run on a single track. At this time Durango is cut in two by the railway, as level crossings are used, this can cause unexpected delays in traffic. A rail tunnel is being built under the town, that will solve the problem of the level crossings by 2009. Although this is the projected completion date, there is no sign at the moment that this will meet that target.

Trains run to Bilbao-Atxurimarker station and Donostiamarker and it is possible to get to Gernikamarker and Bermeomarker also with a train change at Amorebietamarker.


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