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07. Muntsaratz House-Tower


The House-Tower

The Muntsaratz House-Tower is the most spectacular building in the valley. During the Middle Ages, the house-tower was home to one of the most important families in the history of Bizkaia: the Muntsaratz family.

Originally designed as a defensive tower, it became a stately home during the 16th century as the result of a new law forbidding the building of fort


Architecture of the building

The Muntsaratz House-Tower has four floors, each built to fulfil a specific function: the first floor housed the stables; the second the kitchen and bedrooms; the third the living areas; and the final one, known as the gallery, was used for drying and storing food.

The building has been inhabited by different families over the years. Up until the 17th century, it was a fort belonging to the Muntsaratz family; then came the Guisasa, Allende, Elespe and Zengotitabengoa families, and finally the Azkarates, who lived there until 1977.

Note: You can only see the building from outside. Visitors are not permitted inside.

Further information: www.abadiño.org

Interesting facts about the Muntsaratz House-Tower

Coat of arms

‘Estos biben y bibieron goardando la honra y fama que tuvieron’ (They live and lived protecting their honour and reputation)


The mother of Fray Juan de Zumarraga, first bishop of Mexico, was born in this house.

After the Muntsaratz family

The building was inhabited by the Guisasa, Allende, Elespe and Zengotitabengoa families, and finally, the Azkarates, who lived there until 1977.

Present day

Since the 1980s, the building has been the headquarters of the HAZI Foundation (Eusko Label).

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