Visit Guernica with Spanish courses in Bilbao

06 Jun 2017

Guernica, the picturesque village known for its tragic history, or “Guernica”, the masterpiece by Pablo Picasso?

Today we will be visiting the endearing Basque town of Guernica (in Basque it is spelt Gernika). It was founded on 28th April 1366, and was said to be a very strategic point as it lay at the cross point between important roads leading to and from the sea.

Guernica and Lumo houses the General Meeting House of Biscay, that lies beside the famous oak tree know as the Tree of Guernica, a symbol of freedom for the Biscayan people and where beforehand, the masters of Biscay, after receiving their title, came to do the oath to swear their respect of the jurisdiction of Biscay.

The Biscayan town suffered a disgraceful bombing attack on the 26th April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The city was bombarded by the Condor Legion, a unit of the German Luftwaffe that was working alongside Franco’s Nationalist forces. For approximately 4 hours the German planes reduced the entire town to rubble. This bombardment against the civilian population was the start of the warlike strategy known as ”Total War”. The bombardment took place on Monday, Market Day, and the target was the civilian population, not the arms factory, the Meeting House or the symbolic Tree of Guernica.

This barbaric and cruel act inspired Pablo Picasso to paint his work Guernica which was first shown at the International Paris Exhibition of 1937 and has since been showcased in many of the world’s most famous museums. Now it is on display at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Many say that the painting has similarities to “The Battle of Anghiari”, a 16th century painting by the master Leonardo Da Vinci.

What does the work symbolise?

Find out at the link above and also by coming with us on our next trip to Guernica. We offer free, cultural activities every afternoon for all students of our Spanish courses.

If you want to learn more about the Basque Country and its history, do not hesitate to get in touch with us at

We look forward to hearing from you!

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