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12. Andia Tower

This is believed to be the site of Tolosa’s first ever building. Although there are no documents to fully support the claim, there are indications that the Andía Tower may have existed since the 10th century.

It was the birthplace and home of Domenjón Gonzalez de Andia, notary public of the general assemblies and a key figure in consolidating the Brotherhood of Gipuzkoa, basis for constitution of the provincial institutions. This earned him the nickname of Gipuzkoako erregea, king of Gipuzkoa. He also played an important part on signing the peace treaty with the English crown, thereby reinforcing maritime traffic between Gipuzkoa and England.

But let’s get back to the tower. Only its four walls were left standing after fire razed Tolosa to the ground in 1503. Anton Gonzalez de Andia, Domenjón’s son, ordered its reconstruction, before giving it to the town council. It is believed to have had several uses since then: from a corn exchange in 1524, to council headquarters and town hall from 1546. There are even suggestions that it may have been a prison.

Today it is a block of houses, with the only remains being part of the coat of arms on the facade facing the alley, and two of the five gargoyles originally featuring on the eaves.

The image of Domenjón Gonzalez de Andía is also present, but in a very different way. He is represented by one of the figures in Tolosa’s Giants and Bigheads parade, leading the way. For the dances, his partner is the giant dedicated to his wife: Catalina de Tapia.

The group, made up of some thirty youngsters, has six giants and ten bigheads, work of the artist Iñaki Moyua. They take to the streets for all the important dates, so if your visit coincides with one of them, don’t miss the chance to see how they dance and whirl to the cry of ‘Aire, Aire!’.

Make your way to the next stop on your tour: Atodo Palace.