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6. Town Hall

This is the place where the Tolosa Carnival kicks off amid great celebration. Hordes of people flock to this square on “Jueves Gordo” for the rocket shot marking the start of the carnival to the sound of brass bands.

This Plaza Vieja is the heart of all the local festivities. It has been since its early days. Built in the mid-17th century, making use of the 5 plots of land laid bare when the great fire razed Tolosa to the ground in 1503, this was at one time the setting of the daily market.

The Town Hall was also built in the same period, built between 1657 and 1672. It was renovated in 2001, maintaining its original characteristics. It was during that remodelling work that the Town Hall building was connected by a little bridge to the adjacent palace: Aburuza Palace.

This was a 16th century construction. It was demolished in the late 1990s and rebuilt to house the municipal offices. The lower part of the original palace facade was returned to its place and can be seen from Santa Maria Square, located just behind the building.

This same Plaza Vieja was the setting on 11 August 1936 for the burning of books in the Basque language. Franco’s supporters, who had recently captured Tolosa, raided the municipal and school libraries, heaped the books into a pile and set fire to them.

They also plundered the printer’s shop across from the Tinglado, belonging to Isaac López-Mendizabal, author of Xabiertxo, the famous book for teaching children to read in Basque. Having been forbidden during the war, this was one of the only textbooks used under cover in local schools during the decade of the 50s. An important icon of Basque Renaissance, the cultural movement to which homage is paid only a few metres from here.

Follow the road you can see on your right until coming to the next stop: Santa Maria Parish Church.