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Towers on Jaizkibel Mountain

In the summit line of the Jaizkibel mountain range, six towers were built, of which five remain, three of them in the municipality of Lezo and which are classified as a Monumental Ensemble. From them it is possible to see the entire territory of the Irún-Pasaia.

Jaizkibel Mendia 05Jaizkibel mendia 01

They were built during the last Carlist War (1872-1876), because as soon as Irún was threatened by the military actions of the Carlist troops, its City Council asked the Government to build various defense works. By Order of April 8, 1873, the execution of the defense works of Irún was authorized, on the condition that they had to be carried out in accordance with the instructions of the Corps of Military Engineers.

The plan of all of them is hexagonal between 3, 3 m and 3.5 m on each side, except the one located closest to Guadalupe, whose plan is square. They were all two storeys high and had a terrace; only the perimeter walls raised in sandstone are preserved, the interior is completely empty. On the ground floor some small rectangular holes were opened that served as ventilation and for observation.

Jaizk torreoia

Outside you can see a plinth of variable height, slightly wider than the tower and whose height above ground depended on its irregularities. Access was not made through the ground floor, but was opened on the first floor, which was accessed by a retractable staircase, in order to make access to the building more difficult. On this same floor two or three loopholes were opened on each side. The terrace is slightly advanced on the façade supported by three modillions on each side of the polygon and one at each vertex, opening an approximately circular hole between each of them that was used for the evacuation of rainwater.

Town Hall of Lezo

Construction of the Lezo Town Hall or Casa Concejil ended in 1742. This said there had previously been another building on the site. In the mid-18th Century, this building had a prison, archive, infirmary, meeting room, bar (rented) and armoury (containing at least 25 guns with their bayonets).

To pay for the work, the council took out a number of loans: one for 450 silver ducats in favour of the ecclesiastical chapter in Errenteria, and the same year another 200 in favour of the Augustinian Convent in Errenteria. These loans were not redeemed until the 19th Century.

San Juan Bautista Parish Church

San Juan Bautista Parish Church stands on a little hill in the centre of Lezo.

It was shared for many years with the municipality of Pasai Donibane (San Juan). Immediately the inhabitants of Pasaia were granted the authorisation to create their own parish church, around the mid-16th Century, they wanted to go ahead with construction, but didn't have enough money to do so, so that work wasn't started until the early 17th Century.

Construction work started on the church towards the north. It has two chapels with slightly pointed arches. In keeping with the Deed of Covenant, there are another two chapels to the south, one of which, closed in by a semicircular arch, serves as the entrance to the temple. We don't know if the door was built according to the proposed model -Usurbil Church- given that the latter no longer exists today; the version found in Lezo is a very small "chapelette" with a simple cross vault.

The church is spacious, with a single nave. The large exterior buttresses have interior prismatic pilasters with triangular bases as a result of joining the reed-like moulding supporting the different nerves of the vault; this is covered with a 15th Century style cross vault with undulating nerves and a pendant keystone. Some of the cross vaults have special decoration, the only ones of their kind in Gipuzkoa.

The Church is split into four parts, the first of which is the presbytery, reached by a large stairway. The main altarpiece has four levels and is crowned with a Calvary.

The building still has its Gothic gargoyles and, on the western doorway, the starting point of the older pointed arch over the modern door. Over the door is a splendid large Gothic window with tracery and two dividing mullions. Over the window on the south side we can see a double inflected arched moulding. A moulding featuring ball-like shapes decorates part of the south facade.

The pronounced exterior buttresses on the apse give the Church the appearance of a large fortress.

Emblazoned houses of Lezo

(Kale Nagusia, 4)

This is a building of rectangular ground plan with a gable roof. It has four stories, ashlar walls and a well-made coat of arms on the 4th floor, a windbreak and linteled entrance door.

(Kale Nagusia, 16)

This is a building with a rectangular ground plan and a gable roof, the ridge of which runs parallel to the facade. It has three floors, set around the openings on the facade, all in ashlar.

The ground floor has been greatly transformed with highly uncultured "rustic" criteria.
On the first floor we can se a parapeted centred balcony with two windows on either side; the shape and repairs of the stonework and the (concrete) window ledges point towards some kind of transformation, although of little importance. On the top floor there are three windows (original this time) with stone ledges.

Between the two upper parts is a 16th Century oval shield. The house stands on one of the plots formerly allotted within the Old Part of town. The cornice is in very poor condition. The interior is totally reformed and split into flats.

(Gurutze Santuaren Plaza, 4)

This building has a rectangular ground plan and gable roof. It has four floors and rough ashlar masonry on the principal facade, while the rest have been plastered and painted.

The building has continuous balconies with iron railings. The balconies on the 1st and 2nd floors are supported by craft-made ashlar masonry. Also craft-made are the ornaments on the 1st and 2nd floors. The 3rd floor (modern, made around 1930) has a coat of arms.

(CASA ZABALA, Kale Nagusia, 5)

This is a building of irregular ground plan with a gable roof. It has four floors and ashlar walls on the principal facade, on which we can observe a well-made coat of arms between floors 1 and 2, a continuous wooden balcony with ashlar mouldings, and eaves supported by carved wooden corbels.


This is a self-standing building with a rectangular ground plan and gable roof. It has been greatly restored, with three floors and ashlar walls, although the ground floor is original.

On the second floor of the main facade we can see a well-made 18th Century coat of arms reading "Soy de Zavala" (I belong to Zavala).

On the ground floor lintels we can see a crafted cross over one of the doors and the anagram "JHS" (Jesús Hombre Salvador-Jesus Savior Man) over the other one. There are also continuous balconies on the first and second floors with forged iron railings.

The interior has been completely transformed and has a side entrance.


This is a palatial, self-standing mansion with a rectangular ground plan and hip roof decorated with pinnacles (imitation of those formerly found on tower houses).
All of the walls are in ashlar masonry with flat roofs on the row of imposts.

The openings on the principal facade are distributed symmetrically. On the ground floor there is a large central linteled entrance door with small openings on either side.

On the first floor we can see two simple forged iron balconies supported by slightly projecting stone modillions. The top floor has a balcony supported by stone brackets stretching across the entire facade and two doors coinciding with those below with a large 18th century shield between them.

Broad eaves with carved corbels run round all four sides. This is a well preserved building now housing the Municipal Library.

Santo Cristo Baroque Basilica

In the Plaza del Pueblo we will find the Santo Cristo Basilica, initially no more than a little Hermitage with its wood-framed doorway. Inside the basilica is a very peculiar 10th Century Crucified Christ given that he does not and never did have a beard.

In the late 16th Century, however, due to presumed miracles, devotion to the image spread throughout the Basque Country, and the currently standing Renaissance Basilica was erected on the site of the former hermitage.

According to the experts, the sculpture of the Holy Christ in Lezo has great artistic value. However, what doubtlessly attract hordes of visitors every year are the legends that have taken shape around the image over the years.

We can quite safely say that the Holy Christ in Lezo is one of the most famous religious images in the Basque Country.

According to the legend, it appeared floating in a box in the waters of Pasaia Bay somewhere around the 15th Century. Considered to be a divine signal at the time of its finding, it is not surprising that the inhabitants of Lezo, Pasaia and Errenteria fought over who would keep the image. However, still according to legend, on returning to the box in which the Christ had been forgotten while the arguing went on, the statue had disappeared.

It was found shortly afterwards on the site of the little temple, an undisputed fact, hence the decision was taken to install the image in that place. However, a local from Pasaia, not happy with the presumed divine decision and convinced that the people of Lezo had usurped the image, decided to remove it in the middle of the night and take it to the nearby Pasai Donibane. However, immediately upon arrival, another presumed divine miracle occurred in the shape of a tremendous storm, highly unusual for the place and date. Given that the neighbour was obliged to stay where he was, right in the middle of the storm, he saw how the box opened and the Christ headed back towards Lezo. It was therefore returned to its place of origin, putting an end to the storm.

It became so famous from that moment on that, before going out to fish, ships would make their way to the ancient hermitage (now the basilica) for luck. A variety of cures have also been attributed to the statue by devotees who have prayed to it for years, meaning that it is not unusual to find a variety of ex-voto offerings in the church. The most faithful have always been those suffering from some kind of illness and seamen.

An ex-voto (from the Latin expression "ex voto", related to the making of a vow) is an offering made to a divinity by way of gratitude for a prayer come true. The popular tradition of making offerings to divinities as a sign of gratitude is a universal practice and they come in all shapes and sizes: clay figurines, vessels, etc.

One of the ex-voto offerings still existing in the Basilica of the Santo Cristo in Lezo is a model ship. It was typical in coastal villages to make this kind of offering as a sign of gratitude for having been saved from danger.

In Gipuzkoa ex-voto offerings in the shape of model ships can be seen hanging in churches in Arrasate, Deba, Eibar, Eskoriatza, Hernani, Irun, Mutriku, Tolosa, Pasai Donibane (San Juan), Pasai Antxo and Lezo.

The Santo Cristo Basilica also contains an 18th Century altarpiece.

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