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Fecha de publicación: 16/04/2008
A country of contrasts, a country of pluralism

Set in one of the world’s more temperate zones, the Basque Country has a wonderfully mild climate with few extremes of temperature or weather conditions when the seasons change. The climate, the influence of the sea, and an attractive mixture of villages, mountains, hills and abundant greenery, all make the Basque Country a place of natural surprises.

Plentiful rain waters a naturally fertile terrain spread out on either side of the western prolongation of the Pyrenees, which divides the Basque Country into two different microclimates and social areas..

The more northerly microclimate is a thin stretch of land overlooking the Bay of Biscay. This part of the Basque Country has long been witness to the arduous, fruitful and at times dangerous relationship between man and the sea. It has also helped to shape some major cities and towns, giving rise to much business, industrial and financial activity.

The southern half of the Basque Country, bordering on the Ebro basin, has a Mediterranean microclimate: the rains drain off into the Ebro after fertilising an area full of wide open spaces. The area as a whole, much less affected by urban development, is more agricultural than the northern part; smaller, more isolated villages abound.

In line with its traditions and rights, the Basque Country is a type of confederation in which each of the three Historic Territories, Araba ,Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa , has its own administration, known as the Diputación Foral , or Provincial Council, and its legislative body, the Juntas Generales , or General Assembly. Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of Araba (Alava in Spanish), Bilbao the capital of Bizkaia (Vizcaya) and Donostia-San Sebastián  the capital of Gipuzkoa (Guipúzcoa).

At present, more than 2 million people live in the Basque Country, giving a figure of around 300 inhabitants per square kilometre, higher than the EC average. Most people live in the larger urban areas in the northern zone.

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Source: Presidency of the Government - General Secretariat for Communication