Church of Saint Anthony the Great

Bilbao, Spain

The Church of San Antón is dedicated to Anthony the Great. It is featured, along with the San Antón Bridge, in the city's coat of arms. The estuary of Bilbao flows next to it.

The church was built at the end of the 15th century on a plot where there had been a years a warehouse for three hundred years. 

In 1300 Diego López de Haro gave the municipal charter. The river and the plot were incorporated to the new village called Bilbao. Some claim that in 1334 Alfonso XI of Castile ordered to build a fortress and wall that were used like a dike against the flood. A wall was discovered in 2002 by an archaeological excavation but the claim is still inconclusive.

Some time later this two buildings were replaced by one church dedicated to Saint Anton Abbot. This church was consecrated in 1433. In that moment the church only has one nave with a rectangular floor and a vaulted roof. 

In 1478 they start a new project to increase the church, because it was very small and the congregation of faithful people was increasing. This enlargement, in Gothic style, was finished in the first part of the 16th century.

Throughout history this church has suffered a lot of damages and was closed two times. The main source of damage was the Nervión river because the church is very close to it. A lot of flooding happened during the history and a part of the furniture inside was affected by it. The last flood was in 1983 and it affected the church; it destroyed furniture, drag doors and railings.

During the war the bombing and fire the church suffer a lot of damages. Especially during the Carlist war. Caused by this war the church had to close because it was used like warehouse of management. The second time when Saint Anton had to close was in 1881. This was caused by the tumbledown state of the church. This restoration done by Sabino Goikoetxea was very polemic because he change a lot of original things.



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Founded: 15th century
Category: Religious sites in Spain

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Maeve Richardson (6 months ago)
Nice little Church- entrance was beside the sacristy and not clearly signed so slightly confusing. English audio guide was available. Worth a stop!
Jica Coronel (8 months ago)
Beautiful church! Free entrance when you visit Bilbao cathedral
Mo Salehan (8 months ago)
A church worth a visit if you are in Bilbao, some impressive arts, beautiful stained glasses and interesting architecture. I particularly loved the chandelier in one of the chappals. The staff were polite, helpful, friendly and pleasant. One thing I really liked was how the tour of the church is set up. You're given a device which explains details about different part of the church, each point has a number and you can do the tour in your pace, repeat or escape a particular part etc. You can buy combined ticket to visit the church and bilbao cathedrals
Charyfe's vlog (2 years ago)
Very simple church but with very rich history. The ticket is 6euros but this includes the Santiago Church.
Karol Karolkiewicz (3 years ago)
The San Antonio Abad Parish Church is the site of the greatest tradition and importance in Bilbao's history as, according to recent excavations carried out inside the temple, the site may have been occupied even a hundred years before the city was founded. In addition to the Church of San Antón, its facade stands out on the north side and is located under a peculiar stand designed by Juan de Láriz from 1559. From this privileged balcony, members of the municipal corporation, whose headquarters was directly in the temple, participated in the shows taking place in Plaza Vieja.
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