Artzentales may very well be regarded as the quintessential Basque rural town – hundreds of scattered cottages gathered in a plurality of distinctive districts, within a valley surrounded by rocky hills. The place offers a worthy cultural experience as well as exuberant vegetation for those in search of tranquillity.

Even if small, Artzentales preserves a great many buildings of architectural value like the Horcasitas Palace, the Miranda tower and the Gothic Santa María church, to name a few. It’s worth mentioning the San Antolín complex, which includes a bullring next to a hermitage. This oddity is typical of the western part of the region and traces back to the amateur bullfights that used to be held right after mass amid summer “romerías” or festivals (a clambake, to be more precise).

On a more eclectic note, San Miguel de Linares church combines a Romanesque porch from the 13th century with two chapels added in the 16th.  Next to it there stands a Pyrenean oak tree around which representatives from every town in Enkarterri used to meet for centuries (starting in the Middle Ages) to legislate local matters. The original tree has certainly not survived these many years – but a still stunning 36-metre-high (118 ft) substitute of magnificent shape rises today from the very same spot and is protected by regional law.


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