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Origins: Gernika and Lumo

Gernika - Lumo is the official name of our municipality, but not all that many people know where Gernika’s “surname” comes from.

What does Lumo mean? 

Lumo isn’t the name of another town, it’s part of the same municipality: Gernika- Lumo. Odd as it may seem, in the Middle Ages, Gernika was no more than a district in the elizate or parish of Lumo, or to be more precise, the port of Lumo


Several very important trade routes ran through Gernika (the port of Lumo) in the Middle Ages, such as, for example:

  • The Way of St. James, or to be more specific, its coastal route.
  • The Juradera Route or the Route of the Oath: the route taken by the Lord of Vizcaya in order to be accepted as such. He had to swear an oath to the ancient laws, practices and customs of the land, as stipulated by the Fuero Viejo (the Ancient Charter).
  • The Wine and Fish Route: this route stretched from Bermeo to Durango, passing through Gernika and from there to Castile. Fish was carried from Bermeo, wine from La Rioja, and wool from Castile.

Gernika’s strategic location, alongside other factors, led the then Lord of Vizcaya, Count Don Tello, to grant Gernika the title of Villa or Town, thus separating it from the parish of Lumo, which in one fell swoop lost one of its most important enclaves and a large part of its territory. Gernika received its charter as a town in 1366. One of the privileges that Don Tello granted Gernika in its Town Charter was the right to hold a weekly market.

Disputes between Gernika and Lumo

No sooner had Gernika been granted the title of town than disputes began to break out between it and Lumo. These disputes came to a head in the 16th century, more specifically in 1575. Lumo won one of the most important lawsuits and as a result, Gernika was forced to redefine its boundaries to such an extent that its town centre was reduced to just 5 streets: Artekale, Goenkale, Barrenkale, and Azokakale, and another that cut across these, Santa María. There were two chapels, the church of Santa María inside the walls and the church of San Juan outside the walls. The latter was destroyed in the bombing raid and was subsequently not included in the plans for the reconstruction of the town.

The union between the town and the parish

These disputes between the parish of Lumo and the town of Gernika finally came to an end on the 8th of January 1882, when Gernika and Lumo merged to form a single municipal unit. There is a street in the centre of Gernika named “8 de Enero” to commemorate this union. This date marked the beginning of Gernika-Lumo’s economic development: the railway line was extended to the municipality, arms factories and workshops for different trades were set up and the estuary was channelled - today it flows through an underground channel beneath one of the streets in the town centre.


The Church of San Pedro de Lumo is just 1 kilometre from the centre of Gernika. It can be reached on foot or by car:


2.6 km ( 40 min) 140 m gradient.


  • Tourist office
  • Head to the church of Santa María
  • Pass by the Gernika Assembly House
  • Continue along Calle Zearreta, skirting around the Allende Salazar Public School
  • Walk up Calle Fray Martín de Murua until you reach the old Calzada Real (Royal Road)
  • Follow the Calzada Real until you reach the church of San Pedro de Lumo


1,8 km ( 4 min)

Coordinates: 43°18'45.7"N 2°41'20.6"W

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What to see in Lumo

Lumo offers a beautiful bird’s eye view of the municipality of Gernika, and its sunsets are highly recommended.

The Church of San Pedro de Lumo:  Rebuilt and enlarged in the 16th century, documents attest to the existence of this ancient church as far back as 1051. Graced by a Renaissance façade, this sanctuary follows the traditional canons of the austere classical churches of rural Vizcaya.


  • St. Peter’s Day 29 June
  • St. Lorenzo’s Day 10 August