Local customs

In addition to the buildings of the monumental complex, the cultural heritage of Igartza also includes a variety of customs and traditions that have been preserved for centuries and which are a testimony of the beliefs and way of life of the local inhabitants. The Basque Cultural Heritage Law has declared these cultural activities intangible heritage.

St John’s eve


St John’s eve, on June 23, is a magical day in Igartza, with the old traditions recovered and given new importance. In the afternoon, just like in the olden days, the locals put up a poplar tree. Meanwhile, the young girls gather wild flowers in the nearby meadows which they later use to make the crowns that brighten up the dance around the tree. Later on, they dance to the bonfire that is lit in the Plaza Barrendain.



Day of the Sword Dance

In Igartza, the second Saturday of September is the day of the Ezpata Dantza, or sword dance.

The dances on the bridge have a long history: in the olden days, the dignitaries who crossed the Goierri (Basque Highlands) were honoured with the sword dance. These days, a group of dancers take the flag from the town hall and head towards Igartza. The main dance is usually performed in the centre of the bridge and ends when the captain of the sword dancers is raised up on a tower made by the swords and waves the flags of Igartza and Beasain. At the end, both flags are hung on the main balcony of the palace, reflecting the end of the conflicts between the lords of Igartza and the town hall of Beasain. It is a tradition that has re-emerged at the significant historical moment in which the people of Beasain have taken over the ownership of the property and the use of the buildings.

Dramatised guided tour

Outstanding among the guided tours that are offered throughout the year is the dramatised guided tour of the Igartza monumental complex. Millers, merchants, gentlemen, blacksmiths and other characters will take us back to the old way of life in Igartza. These dramatised guided tours are usually put on by the theatre group Hijos de Martín de Loinaz, Kantu-jira, the guides of the Igartza monumental complex and a number of local residents.

Other interesting activities and workshops, which do not have fixed dates, also take place in the Igartza complex and have the aim of allowing visitors to find out about Basque customs. The Igartza monumental complex is the reflection of a living community that has succeeded in revitalising its identity through work, celebrations and language.

Iñaki Erauskin 1
Iñaki Erauskin2
Iñaki Erauskin3