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Palace of Ajuria Enea
 
Front façade
Front façade

Those who decided that the Palace of Ajuria Enea should be the official residence of the Lehendakari of Euskadi did so on the basis of the architectural merits of the building, in line with the political function that it would serve. On 13 October 1980 the Basque Government formalized the purchase of the land from the former owner, the Provincial Council of Alava.

That same year Carlos Garaikoetxea, first President of the Basque Government after the restoration of democracy, officially occupied the building.


Architectural details
Architectural details

Situated on the Fray Francisco walk in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the Palace of Ajuria Enea was built in 1920 by the Swiss architect Alfredo Baeschlin and the contractor Hilarión San Vicente at the behest of Serafín Ajuria, a local industrialist, in one of the most prestigious residential areas.

On the exterior it displays all the architectural elements of neo-Basque art: double arches on the ground floor, three great central windows united with balconied spaces and heraldic elements on the first floor, windows under round arches next to the cylindrical corner-pieces topped by flying buttresses, and broad eaves finished off, on the roof, with beautiful pinnacles.

Round-arch windows


Rear façade and gardens
Rear façade and gardens

The Palace brings together all the heavy construction on its rectangular floor plan and an acute sense of architectural horizontality with its prismatic elevation, typical of the regionalist constructions of the first quarter of the 20th century. Removed from the reigning academicism at a time when new currents in architecture were in full effervescence in Europe, the Palace of Ajuria Enea did not renounce the palatial elements of the 16th century or the medieval pieces that were common in the house-towers of the 15th.

It is necessary only to pause in order to contemplate the harmony it enjoys with its environment, an urban enclave in the centre of Vitoria-Gasteiz, replete with aristocratic houses and gardens of great beauty for the visitor.

But the history of the Palace of Ajuria Enea, like that of the area in which it stands, is replete with charm. Having become the residence of the Ajuria family, it was handed over in 1966 to the religious order of the Madres Escolapias, who converted it into one of their schools. Six years later, in 1972, it was purchased by the Provincial Council of Alava for conversion into a museum of Basque art.

 


Interior stairway
Interior stairway and sitting rooms

The museum opened to the public in 1978. Over a period of two years, thousands of people had the good fortune to pass through its rooms contemplating the pictorial jewels that hung on its walls.

Once it had been decided to convert this building definitively into the Lehendakari's official residence, and into one of the most emblematic symbols of Basque self-government, refurbishment was undertaken in the interior. This involved converting the top floor into a dwelling and modifying the rest of the building in a manner consonant with the duties of a government president.


Sitting roomSitting room


Fecha de la última modificación: 15/02/2006