Bilbao Tourist Attractions
Bilbao, lying 14km/9mi from the sea on the Río Nervión, is chief town of the Basque province of Vizcaya. It is also Spain's leading port in terms of revenue from goods handled, and the center of a gigantic industrial conurbation.
From its foundation in 1300 by Don Diego López de Haro, feudal lord of Vizcaya, Bilbao played an important part in the maritime trade on the north coast of Spain. Iron ore was exported from here to England, and the town's pre-industrial iron and steel industry brought it prosperity. Its rise to become one of Spain's leading industrial centers began in the mid 19th century with the development of industrial smelting of iron ore from the mines in the hinterland. During this period, particularly in the sixties and seventies, large numbers of people came to Bilbao from the poorer country regions in search of work. Heavy rainfall in 1983 led to floods which caused severe damage in the industrial areas.