Bilbao La Vieja

Plaza del Corazón de María

The Plaza del Corazón de María is the nerve centre of the Bilbao La Vieja district due to its size and the multipurpose nature of its different areas. BILBAO Ría 2000’s intervention in relation to this square began with the construction of the Miribilla public school, inaugurated in 2005, replacing the San Francisco school, which was located on one side of Plaza del Corazón de María.

However, the development of this square was slowed down due to the discovery of important archaeological remains of a Franciscan convent built in the 16th century on the same site. The archaeological work lasted three years and basically consisted of excavating the perimeter of the old convent, cataloguing and restoring the remains and preserving them.

Subsequently, the square was urbanised and completely pedestrianised, and the project, executed by “5+1 Arkitektura Taldea” and Juan Antonio Sádaba, included modifications to introduce improvements and suggestions gathered during the public participation process held.

The main objective of the action is to turn the square into the heart of community life in the neighbourhood and one of the premises was to avoid hidden areas that favour the development of activities that are not compatible with citizen coexistence. In this sense, a lighting system was installed guaranteeing a visual control of the whole square avoiding dark areas.


  • Opening date: 17 June 2011
  • Surface area of the action: 7,130 square metres
  • Recreation areas: 1,150 square metres
  • Green areas: 550 square metres
  • Area associated with the Civic Centre: 500 square metres
  • Multipurpose central area: 1,000 square metres
  • Enhancement of the archaeological remains of an ancient Franciscan convent

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