Bilbao La Vieja

Urbanisation of docks

The docks of La Merced, Marzana and Urazurrutia were completely refurbished in stages to modernise their structure and make them pedestrianised.

The work carried out, with a project by Juan Sádaba and José Luis Burgos, aimed to recover a degraded area and facilitate its daily use as a promenade along the estuary.

The rehabilitation, which received funding from the Basque Government through the Izartu Programme, defines a pedestrian area that recovers the banks of the Nervión in the same way as in other areas of the estuary such as Abandoibarra or Barakaldo. In order to allow for a comfortable promenade, an overhanging wooden balcony was built in the narrowest area, reminiscent of a pontoon, which has become the most outstanding visual element of the work.

Considering the great historical value of the docks for the city, several literary texts alluding to Bilbao were placed along its length of 450 metres, selecting one for each century of the city’s existence.


  • Opening date of Phase 1: 17 December 2002
  • Opening date of Phase 2: 31 January 2005
  • Length of the refurbished docks: 450 linear metres
  • New promenades and overhang over the estuary
  • Historical literary texts placed on metal plates inserted in the pavement

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