Did you know that Lea Artibai has a large number of legends that will leave you speechless? Not only that, but the stories have been passed down from generation to generation, and have been preserved intact and ready to be passed on in the future. As if that were not enough, it is also a territory with a lot of history, which has allowed us to know several curiosities, beyond the legends, that really happened.
Lea Artibai is a territory with a very diverse landscape, but with very ancient traditions. The Basque language survives strongly, and is the language used by almost the entire population. At the same time, these traditions are mixed with Basque mythology, and we can observe different physical remains of these legends and learn more about these curiosities in many different parts of the region.
Some examples that we would like to share and that you can see on your visit to the region:
Hermitage of San Miguel de Arretxinaga: The name of the hermitage comes from the Basque language, and the meaning is arre=harria=stone, etxi=etzin=etzan=drawn, aga=localising suffix. Thanks to this interpretation, we can understand the geological phenomenon that we find inside the hermitage, and that is that there are three large boulders there, which tell different legends that will leave you hallucinating. One of these legends says that if a young man or girl wants to get married in less than a year, he or she has to pass three times under the rocks without touching them. Another legend says that if you suffer from toothache, if you take a piece of the boulders and sleep with it under your pillow, it will make you pain-free the next day….. It is better not to do this and leave the stones as they are… it would be better to visit the dentist, don’t you think?
The mermaids of Gizaburuaga: On the banks of the river Lea, the Bengolea mill was one of the most important factories in pre-industrial times. It is said that if you close your eyes in front of the mill, you can hear the sound of the river and the songs of mermaids. Next to it, we find the Oibar cave, where a stream rises and, according to legend, this was the place where the “lamias”, as we call the mermaids here, lived.
Aixeder windmill: In the past, the mills used to move their machinery with water, but when there were droughts, they could not work. That is why Pedro Bernardo Villarreal de Berriz, an enlightened local man with a great deal of engineering knowledge, built this mill so that it could produce flour using only the power of the wind. Today there is no trace of the machinery he used, as the mill is now a house.
Hermitage of Santa Eufemia: If you want to see the whole region and the coast, here you have the best panoramic view, over Mount Urregarai, in Aulesti. The way to the hermitage is a little complicated, thanks to the 223 steep steps that you have to climb to get to the hermitage, do you dare? It is said that the gentiles once owned a grotto here, and that the pendulums found in the surrounding area date back to that time. It is also said that when the parish church of Markina-Xemein was being built, the gentiles threw stones from Santa Eufemia to the parish church, which is why the chapel has so many stones around it.