The Hontza de Mañaria museum is the only Natural Science Museum in Bizkaia.
Mañaria is a beautiful town. Located in the shadow of the Mugarra and Untzillatx limestone peaks, it nestles in the Mañaria river valley, near the entrance to the Urkiola Nature Reserve.
The archaeological remains found in Mañaria suggest that its caves were inhabited by both animals and humans during prehistory. Neolithic remains have been found in the Askondo caves, along with cave bear remains.
The Mañaria farmhouses form part of the town’s civil heritage. Many farmhouses bearing coats of arms can be found in the various neighbourhoods. The most spectacular building is Santa María de la Asunción Church, which dates from the 16th century and contains a rococo wood organ.
Several chapels are located nearby. These almost magical neighbourhoods are the setting for many legends from Basque mythology. Many mythological creatures are believed to live or be seen in the mountains, forests and hidden corners of the Urkiola Nature Reserve. For example, there is a cave located next to San Martin Chapel, on the slopes of Mount Untzillatx. According to legend, the rocks lying next to the cave were placed there by creatures known as gentiles, or jentilak in Basque, and the cave itself was their dwelling place. The gentiles or jentilak were beings gifted with supernatural strength. According to Basque mythology, they built the cromlech and dolmens that can be found throughout the region.
Mañaria may be small, but it has a lot to offer. After visiting the town, why not stop to enjoy the wonderful food and drink on offer in the bars and restaurants of Durangaldea.
WHAT TO SEE IN MAÑARIA
More points of interest
Santa María de la Asunción Church
Mounts Mugarra and Untzillatx