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Flag of Gipuzkoa
Coat of arms
Gipuzkoa province
Capital San Sebastianmarker
Autonomous community Basque Countrymarker
Country Spainmarker
Coordinates 43°10'N 2°10'W
Surface 1,980.3 km²
 - Density
686,665 inhab.
346.8 inhab./km²
Website Gipuzkoa Government

Guipúzcoa (Spanish) or Gipuzkoa (Basque and official) is a province of the Basque Countrymarker, in Spainmarker. It is bordered by the provinces of Biscay and Álavamarker (on the W and SW respectively), the Autonomous Community of Navarremarker (SE), the province of Labourd in the Frenchmarker Department of Pyrénées-Atlantiquesmarker (E) and the Bay of Biscaymarker.

Demography and urban landscape

Its area of makes it the smallest province in Spain. The province numbers 88 municipalities and a population of 700,392 habitants (2008), of whom about a quarter live in the capital, San Sebastiánmarker. Other important towns are Irunmarker, Errenteriamarker, Zarautzmarker, Arrasatemarker, Oñatimarker (with an old university), Eibarmarker, Tolosamarker (during a short time capital of the province), Beasainmarker, Pasaiamarker (the main port), Hondarribiamarker (an old fort town opposite to France).

Physical geography

Gipuzkoa stands out as a region of hilly and green landscape linking mountain and sea, besides being heavily populated with numerous urban nuclei that dot the whole territory. The conspicuous presence of hills and rugged terrain has added to a especial leaning towards hiking, nature and mountains on the part of Gipuzkoans. Some mountains steeped in tradition hold an iconic and emblematic significance, their summits being often topped with crosses, memorials and mountaineer postboxes. In addition, pilgrimages (which have gradually lost their former religious zeal and taken on a more secular slant) are sometimes held to their summits. Some renowned and iconic mountains to mention but a few are Aiako Harriamarker, Herniomarker, Txindoki, Aizkorrimarker, Izarraitz, etc.

The rivers of Gipuzkoa show a string of distinctive features differing from other Bay of Biscaymarker rivers. These rivers, rising in the hilly Basque inland landscape (Basque Mountains), flow in a south to north disposition, shaping narrow close valleys stretching in this direction before joining the ocean. The rivers extend for a short length with a small fluctuation in the volume of water thanks to the stable rainfall all year round, besides showing an abrupt drop between rise and mouth if the length of the river is considered. The rivers, ordered from west to east, are the following: Deba, Urolamarker, Oria, Urumeamarker, Oiartzun and Bidasoamarker. But for a narrow strip extending east from the hamlet Otzaurte (Zegamamarker) and the tunnel of San Adrian, the province drains its waters to the Atlantic basin.

Cultural traits

Gipuzkera is a dialect of the Basque language spoken in most of the region as well as neighbouring areas of Navarremarker, which shows a considerable vitality and holds a prominent position among other dialects. The province's patron saints are Ignatius of Loyola, who was born in the neighborhood of Loyola in the town of Azpeitiamarker, and Our Lady of Arantzazu.

The region has produced many famous Basque football players including José Ángel Iribar, Joseba Etxeberria, Xabi Alonso and Mikel Arteta.

See List of municipalities in Guipúzcoa.

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