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Town Hall of Oiartzun

Standing in the Elizalde district of Oiartzun, Oiartzun Town Hall was built by Maese Nicolás de Zumeta in 1678. This is a Baroque construction in ashlar masonry, with the square ground plan and hip roof typical of Basque town halls. On the ground floor is a spacious atrium with five arches supporting the principal facade.

The principal north-facing facade with its magnificently carved ashlar blocks has a central balcony flanked by another two on either side. All three have forged iron railings, while on the upper part, on the two extremes of the facade, we can see the valley coat of arms by Laincera father and sons from the province of Cantabria.

San Esteban de Lartaun Parish Church

Standing in the Elizalde district of Oiartzun, San Esteban de Lartaun is an ancient church dedicated to Saint Steven Martyr. During the Middle Ages it was probably a Visigoth chapel, subsequently becoming an important Romanesque construction during the 10th and 12th Centuries. However, it no longer has any remains of that period.

It later became an early Gothic construction, a moment of which a few minor features remain, mainly on its middle stretch and south facade.

Following a number of fires resulting from several wars, subsequent reformations of the building have contributed to mixing a number of its features, hence complicating the task of their classification into a particular architectural style and precise age.

The church has a fortress-like aspect due to its tower with very few openings and strong buttresses. Worth a look inside is the main altarpiece by Juan de Huici.

In her book "El Renacimiento en Guipúzcoa", Mª Asunción Aráosla dedicates a chapter to late-Gothic churches. According to Mª Asunción, the Parish Churches of Zumaia, Ordizia, Lezo and Oiartzun correspond to this period.

The characteristics of these churches are:

  • A single nave.
  • They do not generally have a transept.
  • They have a roof system whereby the walls and their pilasters serve as the support, sometimes forming groups of columns.
  • The interior columns correspond on the exterior to strong prismatic buttresses giving the overall construction an aspect of weight and gravity.
  • The vaults are ogival, sometimes star-shaped and with cambered arches.

Every Wednesday and Saturday at 10 a.m. is offered a guided tour. You can sign up by calling 943 494 521 or sending an email to


Manuel Lekuona Library - Pilgrims' Hospital

This is a self-standing 16th Century Renaissance building consisting of two parts joined together, the chapel and the hospital, although both share the same roof.

The chapel with its rectangular ground plan has two visible fronts. Its bonding is in particularly well-made square ashlar masonry leaving very little space between the blocks of stone. The entire upper perimeter is decorated with triglyphs and metopes. The frieze has a moulded cornice supporting an eaveless deck. The facade opening out onto the Plaza de la Iglesia has a row of openings consisting of an entrance and a window with semicircular, simply made arches. The building is topped by a stone steeple with a window and bell.

The facade looking onto the Calle San Juan is asymmetrical, featuring an outstanding doorway with a semicircular arch flanked by two Doric columns plus a row of triglyphs and metopes. This doorway has an image of Saint John in a niche crowned with a pediment and flanked by volutes. Above this is a well-preserved 18th Century shield. On the right-hand side there is an entrance and two windows with ledges and dust-covers. Inside, the square ground plan is covered with a fairly complicated cross vault, the nerves of which are painted pink. Both the walls and the ribbing of the vault are whitewashed and there are entrances on all sides, except for the one at the far end. In addition to those already referred to on the side of the Evangelist, is another linteled door which is boarded up.

Looking straight ahead, we can see a 16th Century Renaissance altarpiece in polychromed wood, almost certainly attributable to Jerónimo de Larrea, given that the style of the San Sebastián statue corresponds to that of the "Suffering Christ" in Azpeitia, referred to by Larrea in his will. It seems that this altarpiece was made as from 1595. It is a classic altarpiece in the severe style typical of the period. It has a predella, two panels and three wings with niches housing six statues, plus an attic for the Calvary flanked by two figures: the Archangel Saint Michael and Saint John the Evangelist. The frieze separating the two panels has reliefs depicting the Burial and the Resurrection of Christ. The carved statues represent, on the centre panel, the saint to whom the church is devoted, Saint John the Baptist and the Virgin with Child; the others are statues of saints. There is also a crucified Christ of Gothic style, according to Lekuona from Andrearriaga Hermitage.

The Hospital is a complex construction backing onto the religious building. It has three floors with ashlar masonry window surrounds and corners, plus an attic added during the last renovation work. Both bodies are articulated by means of a stretch of brick wall and enclosed wooden balconies. On the rear facade is an enormous and impressive Baroque coat of arms corresponding to the Zuloaga and Oiartzabal lineages.

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