Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne in the Gironde department in Southwestern France. The municipality of Bordeaux proper has a population of 252,040. Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Bordeaux is the centre of the Bordeaux Métropole. With 1,195,335 in the metropolitan area, it is the sixth-largest in France, after Paris, Lyon and Lille, it is the capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Its inhabitants are called "Bordelais" or "Bordelaises"; the term "Bordelais" may refer to the city and its surrounding region. Being at the center of a major wine-growing and wine-producing region, Bordeaux remains a prominent powerhouse and exercises significant influence on the world wine industry although no wine production is conducted within the city limits, it is home to the world's main wine fair and the wine economy in the metro area takes in 14.5 billion euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century.
The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century. After Paris, Bordeaux has the highest number of preserved historical buildings of any city in France. In historical times, around 567 BC it was the settlement of a Celtic tribe, the Bituriges Vivisci, who named the town Burdigala of Aquitanian origin; the name Bourde is still the name of a river south of the city. In 107 BC, the Battle of Burdigala was fought by the Romans who were defending the Allobroges, a Gallic tribe allied to Rome, the Tigurini led by Divico; the Romans were defeated and their commander, the consul Lucius Cassius Longinus, was killed in the action. The city fell under Roman rule around its importance lying in the commerce of tin and lead, it became capital of Roman Aquitaine, flourishing during the Severan dynasty. In 276 it was sacked by the Vandals. Further ravage was brought by the same Vandals in 409, the Visigoths in 414, the Franks in 498, beginning a period of obscurity for the city.
In the late 6th century, the city re-emerged as the seat of a county and an archdiocese within the Merovingian kingdom of the Franks, but royal Frankish power was never strong. The city started to play a regional role as a major urban center on the fringes of the newly founded Frankish Duchy of Vasconia. Around 585, Gallactorius is fighting the Basque people; the city was plundered by the troops of Abd er Rahman in 732 after they stormed the fortified city and overwhelmed the Aquitanian garrison. Duke Eudes mustered a force ready to engage the Umayyads outside Bordeaux taking them on in the Battle of the River Garonne somewhere near the river Dordogne; the battle had a high death toll. Although Eudes was defeated here, he saved part of his troops and kept his grip on Aquitaine after the Battle of Poitiers. In 735, the Aquitanian duke Hunald led a rebellion after his father Eudes's death, at which Charles responded by sending an expedition that captured and plundered Bordeaux again, but did not retain it for long.
The following year, the Frankish commander descended again to Aquitaine, but clashed in battle with the Aquitanians and left to take on hostile Burgundian authorities and magnates. In 745, Aquitaine faced yet another expedition by Charles's sons Pepin and Carloman, against Hunald, the Aquitanian princeps strong in Bordeaux. Hunald was defeated, his son Waifer replaced him, confirmed Bordeaux as the capital city. During the last stage of the war against Aquitaine, it was one of Waifer's last important strongholds to fall to King Pepin the Short's troops. Next to Bordeaux, Charlemagne built the fortress of Fronsac on a hill across the border with the Basques, where Basque commanders came over to vow loyalty to him. In 778, Seguin was appointed count of Bordeaux undermining the power of the Duke Lupo, leading to the Battle of Roncevaux Pass that year. In 814, Seguin was made Duke of Vasconia, but he was deposed in 816 for failing to suppress or sympathise with a Basque rebellion. Under the Carolingians, sometimes the Counts of Bordeaux held the title concomitantly with that of Duke of Vasconia.
They were meant to keep the Basques in check and defend the mouth of the Garonne from the Vikings when the latter appeared c. 844 in the region of Bordeaux. In Autumn 845, count Seguin II marched on the Vikings, who were assaulting Bordeaux and Saintes, but he was captured and executed. No bishops were mentioned during part of the 9th in Bordeaux. From the 12th to the 15th century, Bordeaux regained importance following the marriage of Duchess Eléonore of Aquitaine with the French-speaking Count Henri Plantagenet, born in Le Mans, who became, within months of their wedding, King Henry II of England; the city flourished due to the wine trade, the cathedral of St. André was built, it was the capital of an independent state under Edward, the Black Prince, but in the end, after the Battle of Castillon, it was annexed by France which extended its territory. The Château Trompette and the Fort du Hâ, built by Charles VII of France, were the symbols of the new domination, which however deprived the city of its wealth by halting the wine commerce with England.
In 1462, Bordeaux obtained a parliament, but regained importance only in the 16th century when it became the centre of the distribution of sugar and slaves from the West Indies along with the traditional wine. Bordeaux adhered to the Fronde
Tarbes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Occitanie region of southwestern France. It is the capital of Bigorre, it has been a commune since 1790. It was known as Tarba in Roman times. Tarbes is part of the historical region of Gascony. Of strong industrial tradition, Tarbes today tries to diversify its activities in aeronautics and high tech around the different zones of activities which are increasing; the recent development of Tarbais beans and other regional specialties shows a willingness to develop the agri-food industry thus justifying its nickname of "market town". Its 42,888 inhabitants are called the Tarbais, it is the seat of the diocese of Tarbes-et-Lourdes. The 1st Parachute Hussar Regiment and 35th Parachute Artillery Regiment are stationed in Tarbes. Tarbes is a Pre-Pyrenees town within the rich agricultural plain of the river Adour, 155 kilometres southwest of Toulouse, 144 kilometres to the east of Bayonne, 70 kilometres southwest of Auch and 20 kilometres northeast of Lourdes.
Tarbes is 1 hr 30 mins from the Atlantic Ocean, 2 hrs 50 mins from the Languedoc coast and 35 minutes from the nearest ski resorts. It is located at an average elevation of 304 metres. To the south of Tarbes, along with the pilgrimage town of Lourdes, is the border with Spain; the Pyrenees mountains, lying along the border between Spain, can be seen from the town. Tarbes is crossed to the east by the Adour river and to the west by the Échez and by the Gespe, a tributary which joins the Échez on the territory of the commune. Tarbes features an oceanic climate, with hot summers, mild winters and abundant rainfall. Tarbes benefits from its privileged location in the area of the Adour, a milder microclimate than at Lourdes, from a higher altitude, somewhat less rainy than in Pau, sunnier. Summers are warm and stormy, while spring is rainy and cool and autumn is mild and sunny. Winter, can still hold some surprises; the lowest temperature was recorded in January 1985 with a temperature under shelter of −17.9 °C.
Conversely, there was a maximum temperature of 39 °C in August 2003. The town was named for the first time in the 5th century as Civitas Turba ubi castrum Bigòrra, it was an important city of the Novempopulania. Gregory of Tours in the 6th century named Talvam vicum. In the Middle Ages it was called Tarbé, Tursa and Tarbia. Not to be confused with the Tarbelles, whose capital was Dax. Legend holds that the Queen of Ethiopia, proposed her love to Moses and that he refused. Inconsolable, she decided to hide her disappointment. After many wanderings, she arrived in Bigorre and built her home on the Adour to found the town of Tarbes, its sister, on the banks of the Gave de Pau, arose as Lourdes. In the 3rd century BC, the foundations of Tarbes began to emerge, based on the testimonies of the exhumed remains, buried. By need for salt trade, merchants who were Aquitanians travelled across the Pyrenean foothills. To continue their journey, they had to use a ford in order to cross the Adour which descended from the mountain.
It was more prudent to split the loads to cross the ford as a result. The bottom of the valley was dominated by a sandy emergence. Tarba experienced a Roman colonisation and acquired ancient villas and large agricultural estates, found in the Ormeau quarter; the existence of craft has been verified by the remains of the workshops of weavers. The urban core, assumed the administrative functions and would have had an early Christian church in the 4th century. In the 5th and 6th centuries, as a result of the barbarian invasions which swept in successive waves, the city shrank around the castrum, of which a remnant remains in the rear courtyard of the prefecture. In about 840 AD, the Vikings led a devastating raid following which the Bishop of Bigorre reported that the city Bigorre was beginning with the cathedral, named with originality, la Sède. At the end of the 12th century, the count of Bigorre settled in his castle of Tarbes, resulting with the court of justice being in his suite; the capital of Bigorre received a Royal Seneschal.
Two noble houses were founded in the 13th century, outside the walls, one the convent of the Cordeliers near Carrère Longue, the other being that of the Carmelites in the vicinity of the Bourg Crabé. At the end of the medieval centuries, the city was composed of six separate fortified towns and aligned on an east-west axis, where the original core was ordered around the cathedral. There were thus la Sède, Carrère, Maubourguet and Bourg Vieux flanked to the east of the Count's castle, with Bourg Neuf and Bourg Crabé each surrounded by their own walls. During the Wars of Religion, in 1569, the troops of Jeanne d'Albret burned the cathedral, the convents and other churches as well as the bishopric. Despite the strategic destruction to try to defend Bourg Vieux, the inhabitants were massacred. In the 17th century, after the plague and the problems of housing people of war, Tarbes ensured its revival with the reconstruction of the Episcopal Palace in 1652, the foundation of a third hospital in 1690 and two new convents.
Irrigation of the land and the water power used by the craftsmen were produced by the system of canals derived from the Adour. The 18th century announced a growth of the population, the development of agriculture and trade; the town expanded and new quarters appeared (such as the current Rue Ma
Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in south-western France. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is part of the Basque province of Labourd. Saint-Jean-de-Luz bay is a natural harbour in the south-east of the Bay of Biscay, it is the only sheltered bay between Spain. Thanks to its strong sea walls or dykes that protect the town from the full savagery of the Atlantic Ocean, it has become a favorite for bathers across the Basque Coast. Although the seaside resort itself is recent, the port itself is several centuries old, with the most prominent point in its history being the marriage in 1660 of Louis XIV and the Spanish princess Maria Teresa. Water from the area flows into the town from the Nivelle and its smaller tributaries, the Etxeberri and Xantako streams. There is the Basarun, its smaller tributary the Mendi, which passes directly through Saint-Jean-de-Luz; the river has been made accessible to boats and it joins the sea by the Erromardia beach. A branch of the Uhabia, an emblematic river in the neighbouring Bidart district, its smaller Amisola tributary pass to the sea through St Jean de Luz.
Saint-Jean-de-Luz straddles Route départementale D810, the old Route nationale 10. The town can be reached from the A63 motorway, Exit 3 and Exit 2; the Saint-Jean-de-Luz-Ciboure railway station is served by the SNCF Bordeaux–Irun railway. Biarritz Airport is the closest airport to Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is located on the Atlantic coast of France, just a few kilometres from the border with Spain, its wealth stems from its port and its past, with the town being associated with both fishing, with the capture of vessels by its own Basque corsaires, or pirates. This prosperity reached its height during the 17th Century, still considered as the town's "Golden Age." During this period, Saint-Jean-De-Luz became the second largest town in the Labourd region with a population or around 12,000, just behind Bayonne. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is known for its royal wedding connection. In 1659, Cardinal Mazarin spent several months in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, from where he would embark on daily trips to the island of Bidassoa for Franco-Spanish meetings that resulted in the Treaty of the Pyrenees, one clause of, the marriage of Louis XIV to Maria Theresa, the Infanta of Spain.
Saint-Jean-de-Luz and its church were chosen to host the royal wedding on 9 June 1660. The marriage is one of the most important political marriages in history that brought an end to a bitter war. Today, visitors of the cathedral can see. Two legends circulate this oddity: First, it has been said that the door the couple passed through was closed to represent the closing of the troubles between France and Spain. A more popular theory among the locals is that the king, Louis XIV, ordered the door to be closed off, so no other couple could walk into the church to be married in his footsteps; the Duke of Wellington set up his winter headquarters in the town during the Peninsular War, 1813–14. To the end of the nineteenth century, Saint-Jean-de-Luz became a popular beachside resort town for the surrounding high-society. Like Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz was appreciated by the French and Spanish aristocracy. By the early 1900s, it turned into the scene of Carlist conspiratorial activities; the composer Maurice Ravel, a native of the nearby town of Ciboure vacationed at Saint-Jean-de-Luz from Paris, where he was centered for his entire life.
Following Marshal Pétain's call for an armistice on the outset of World War II, a coastal fringe of the Basque Country fell in the German occupation area. Before the agreement was enforced, a retreating Polish Army was evacuated from the town in mid June 1940. After 1945, some of the traditional fishing-based industries of the Fargeot district disappeared by overfishing and competition from elsewhere; the change strengthened the transformation of the town towards more tourism industries. In Saint-Jean-de-Luz over 40% of dwellings of the town are second homes. In the 1960s, the town expanded northwards and southwards in the direction of. Since the 1970s, St Jean de Luz has been connected to Bordeaux to the north and Spain to the south by the motorway, more by the TGV railway. St-Jean-de-Luz boasts extensive and attractive land and scenery, as well as a well-preserved coastline which has so far escaped urbanisation. Indeed, some of the Basque coast has seen a degree of development, but the area between Fort Socoa and the Abbadia nature reserve and castle remains well protected.
Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a fishing port on the Basque coast and now a famous resort, known for its architecture, sandy bay, the quality of the light and the cuisine. The town is located south of Biarritz, on the right bank of the river Nivelle opposite to Ciboure; the port lies on the estuary. The summit of Larrun is about 8 km south-east of the town; the summit can be reached by the Petit train de la Rhune, which starts from the Col de Saint-Ignace, 10.5 km east of the town on the D4 road to Sare. It is in the traditional province of Lapurdi of the Basque Country; the town features a large number of residences built in the 17th and 18th centuries along the Quai de L'Infante, Rue Mazarin, Rue Gambetta and at the Place Louis XIV. In some respects this is testament to the families
Hendaye is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department and Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. The town, France's most southwesterly and a popular seaside tourist resort, stands on the right bank of the River Bidassoa – which marks the Franco-Spanish border – at the point where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean in the French Basque Country. Hendaye has three distinguishable parts: la ville, which stretches from Saint Vincent's church to the area around the SNCF railway station and the industrial zone. Hendaye acquired its independence from the Urrugne parish in 1598, when Saint Vincent's church was built. In the Franco-Spanish War, the town was occupied by the Spanish, in September 1636. On the fortified Île des Faisans in the river, the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed in 1659, ending decades of intermittent war between France and Spain. Authority over the island alternates between Spain every six months. All the same, the village kept being subject to destruction due to cross-border military activity.
In the War of the Pyrenees, or less in the run-up to the rise of Napoleon to prominence, the village was levelled to the ground, as described in 1799 by Wilhelm von Humboldt: "The settlement spreads over a rather wide area, seems to have looked clean and pleasant time ago. All the houses, but for a handful of them, lie destroyed; the empty walls can stand, while the ground before inhabited is covered with overgrown bush and hawthorn. Ivy creeps up the walls, out of crumbling windows. Shells can still be come across the street here and there, but hardly can one bump into a person. Most of the inhabitants either perished in the danger and helplessness of the runaway, or they scattered away to other places." The abolition of the French provinces, the War of the Pyrenees and the end of Basque home rule in the Spanish Basque districts—customs on the Ebro river moved to the Pyrenees —broke the fluent cross-border trade and natural coexistence of the Basque speaking communities around the lower Bidassoa and the Bay of Txingudi, divided as of by a restricted Spanish-French border.
On 22 October 1863, the railway arrived in Hendaye, as the track on the Spanish side approached the Bidassoa borderline. On 15 August 1864, the first Madrid-Paris train arrived in Hendaye, forever re-shaping the human and urban landscape of the village and prompting rapid development. Hendaye started to stand out as an international hub and a seaside resort for the elites after the model of Biarritz, halfway between Donostia and Biarritz. In 1913, the Spanish Basque railway serving the coastline all the way to Donostia arrived at Hendaye Gare. On 23 October 1940, Ramón Serrano Súñer, Francisco Franco, Adolf Hitler and Joachim von Ribbentrop met in the Hendaye railway station to discuss Spain's participation in World War II as part of the Axis; the town square, where there is a weekly open-air market on Wednesdays, is the location of the famous seventeenth century "Great Cross of Hendaye", a stone cross carved with alchemical symbols that occultists find to contain encrypted information on a future global catastrophe.
The church of Saint-Vincent was built in 1598, reconstructed over the centuries following fires and bombardments. Its most recent transformation was finished in 1968; the 13th-century crucifix is the principal treasure. The ruins of the early seventeenth century fortifications, which were reinforced by Vauban in 1685, the old cannons facing Hondarribia, are one of the features of the promenade along the Bay of Txingudi waterfront; the seafront Château of Antoine d'Abbadie, built by the architect and theorist Eugène Viollet-le-Duc is a monument of the Gothic Revival. The Casino building, of Neo-Moorish style, was built in 1885, it used to be occupied by a casino. The picturesque old fishing port of Caneta has views over the Bay of Txingudi to Hondarribia and the Jaizkibel, is the site of Pierre Loti's house and the old customs building; the Jumeaux rocks have become somewhat emblematic to Hendaye. These two high rock stacks, which have been carved out of the cliffs by wave action, are visible from the beach or from the domaine d'Abbadia, a nature park on the edge of the commune related to the Conservatoire du littoral project.
Hendaye doesn't have any specific music venues. The covered pelota fronton at Belcenia has a high capacity and the basque folk band Oskorri have played here on more than one occasion. In summer, bigger bands can play in open air at the Hendaye Plage Rugby pitch. Toure Kunda, among others, have played here. Concerts can be organised in the Cinéma les Variétés, which has a high capacity; the closed market is a good place for starting-out local bands to stage small concerts. Rather than a pub scene, local bands play in Hendaye's many campsites in the summer; the Lanetik Egina music club is the hub of Hendaye's music scene. It has a good reputation and organises regular concerts, it is a place where musicians of all ages can meet up and form bands. The most successful band to come from Hendaye is the basque ska-punk band Skunk, who have made many albums; the Cinéma les Variétés is a large classic theatre and cinema, a regular venue for theatre and performance arts. There is a cinema at Sokoburu, near
Biriatou is a village in the traditional Basque province of Labourd, now a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in southwestern France. The village lies on the edge of a hill rising east to the minor mount Xoldokogaina, the first noticeable prominence across the Spanish-French border at the lower Bidasoa; the hiking trail. European road carriers and travellers are acquainted with the name, Basque for'gate/pass of the way', on account of the border customs and toll at the AP-8 - A-63 motorway to the west of the actual village jammed with vehicles and long queues. Communes of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department INSEE commune file BIRIATU in the Bernardo Estornés Lasa - Auñamendi Encyclopedia
Europe is a continent located in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, it comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Since around 1850, Europe is most considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity; the division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary places two comparatively small countries and Georgia, in both continents.
Europe covers 2 % of the Earth's surface. Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million as of 2016; the European climate is affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast. Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization; the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic and social change in Western Europe and the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals, it includes all European states except for Belarus and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.
The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most used among Europeans. In classical Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess; the word Europe is derived from her name. The name contains the elements εὐρύς, "wide, broad" and ὤψ "eye, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it. There have been attempts to connect Eurṓpē to a Semitic term for "west", this being either Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" or Phoenician'ereb "evening, west", at the origin of Arabic Maghreb and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry, professor in Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, finds the mention of the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night, sunset", in opposition to Asu " sunrise", i.e. Asia.
The same naming motive according to "cartographic convention" appears in Greek Ἀνατολή. Martin Litchfield West stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is poor." Next to these hypotheses there is a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning "darkness", which produced Greek Erebus. Most major world languages use words derived from Europa to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu. In some Turkic languages the Persian name Frangistan is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa; the prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water
Basque Country (autonomous community)
The Basque Country the Basque Autonomous Community is an autonomous community in northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava and Gipuzkoa; the Basque Country or Basque Autonomous Community was granted the status of nationality within Spain, attributed by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The autonomous community is based on the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country, a foundational legal document providing the framework for the development of the Basque people on Spanish soil. Navarre, which had narrowly rejected a joint statue of autonomy with Gipuzkoa, Álava and Biscay in 1932, was granted a separate statute in 1982. There is no official capital in the autonomous community, but the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the province of Álava, is the de facto capital as the location of the Basque Parliament, the headquarters of the Basque Government, the residence of the President of the Basque Autonomous Community; the High Court of Justice of the Basque Country has its headquarters in the city of Bilbao.
Whilst Vitoria-Gasteiz is the largest municipality in area, with 277 km2, Bilbao is the largest in population, with 353,187 people, located in the province of Biscay within a conurbation of 875,552 people. The term Basque Country may refer to the larger cultural region, the home of the Basque people, which includes the autonomous community; the following provinces make up the autonomous community: Álava, capital Vitoria-Gasteiz Biscay, capital Bilbao-Bilbo Gipuzkoa, capital Donostia-San Sebastián The Basque Country borders Cantabria and the Burgos province to the west, the Bay of Biscay to the north and Navarre to the east and La Rioja to the south. The territory has three distinct areas, which are defined by the two parallel ranges of the Basque Mountains; the main range of mountains forms the watershed between the Mediterranean basins. The highest point of the range is in the Aizkorri massif; the three areas are: Formed by many valleys with short rivers that flow from the mountains to the Bay of Biscay, like the Nervión, Urola or Oria.
The coast is rough, with small inlets. The main features of the coast are the Bilbao Abra Bay and the Estuary of Bilbao, the Urdaibai estuary and the Bidasoa-Txingudi Bay that forms the border with France. Between the two mountain ranges, the area is occupied by a high plateau called Llanada Alavesa, where the capital Vitoria-Gasteiz is located; the rivers flow south from the mountains to the Ebro River. The main rivers are the Zadorra Bayas River. From the southern mountains to the Ebro is the so-called Rioja Alavesa, which shares the Mediterranean characteristics of other Ebro Valley zones; some of Spain's production of Rioja wine takes place here. The Basque Mountains form the watershed and mark the distinct climatic areas of the Basque Country: The northern valleys, in Biscay and Gipuzkoa and the valley of Ayala in Álava, are part of Green Spain, where the oceanic climate is predominant, with its wet weather all year round and moderate temperatures. Precipitation average is about 1200 mm; the middle section is influenced more by the continental climate, but with a varying degree of the northern oceanic climate.
This gives cold, snowy winters. The Ebro valley has a pure continental climate: winters are cold and dry and summers warm and dry, with precipitation peaking in spring and autumn. Precipitation is irregular, as low as 300 mm. Half of the 2,155,546 inhabitants of the Basque Autonomous Community live in Greater Bilbao, Bilbao's metropolitan area. Of the ten most populous cities, six form part of Bilbao's conurbation, known as Greater Bilbao. With 28.2% of the Basque population born outside this region, immigration is crucial to Basque demographics. Over the 20th century most of this immigration came from other parts of Spain from Galicia or Castile and León. Over recent years, sizeable numbers of this population have returned to their birthplaces and most immigration to the Basque country now comes from abroad, chiefly from South America. Roman Catholicism is, by far, the largest religion in the Basque Country. In 2012, the proportion of Basques that identified themselves as Roman Catholic was 58.6%, while it is one of the most secularised communities of Spain: 24.6% were non-religious and 12.3% of Basques were atheist.
Bilbao-Bilbo Vitoria-Gasteiz San Sebastián-Donostia Barakaldo Getxo Irun Portugalete Santurtzi Basauri Errenteria Spanish and Basque are co-official in all territories of the autonomous community. The Basque-speaking areas in the modern-day autonomous community are set against the wider context of the Basque language, spoken to the east in Navarre and the French Basque Country; the whole Basque speaking territory has experienced both expansion in its history. The Basque language experienced a gradual territorial contraction throughout the last nine centuries, severe deterioration of its sociolinguistic status for much of the 20th century due to heavy immigration from other parts of Spain, the virtual nonexistence of Basque language schooling, national policies implemented by the different Spanish régimes. After the advent of the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Countr