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14. New Square

You could say that the Plaza Nueva truly represents the transformation experienced by Tolosa throughout its history. It was the last square to be built in the Old Quarter, which is why it is known as the Plaza Berria or New Square.

It occupied the area known as Hiribaratzeta, location of the vegetable gardens inside the walled area in medieval times. Here we refer to the late 17th and early 18th centuries. On turning into a square, it became a commercial space and the setting for festive events including pelota games, dances and even bullfighting.

The north facing building, the one with the clock at the top, was precisely where the bulls would be kept, hence its name: Casa de Toriles, or Bullpen House. However this isn’t the original building; during work carried out to enlarge the square in the 19th century it was demolished and rebuilt a few metres further back.

Worthy of note on the other side is the Abastos building, initially the second town hall and later used as a corn exchange. At one time it had space for almost 50 market stalls. Today, however, it is used as a nursery.

And of course, the bandstand. It’s well worth taking the time to climb the stairs and look up at its colourful ceiling with murals painted by the artist from Tolosa, Iñaki Epelde, in 2002.

Today all sorts of concerts are programmed here, including the line-ups of the Tolosandblues festival.

The small alleyway facing the bandstand stairs has marks indicating the depths reached by the water during the floods suffered by Tolosa on more than one occasion. Simply even thinking that the water could have risen to such a height makes your hair stand on end, doesn’t it?

The building giving its shape to the tunnel is known as the Casa de las Damas, originally the setting of another of the entry gates to the walled Tolosa, the one facing the Erretengibel tributary.

This will bring you out on Calle Rondilla. From here, follow the direction of the traffic to Plaza Euskal Herria.