The city's rebirth resulted in modern buildings throughout the municipality. This modern building houses government health services.
We approached this old building on a sleepy, Sunday morning and were surprised at what we found therein. The Azkuna Zentroa was a wine warehouse until the 1970s but 30 years later, famed French designer, Phillip Starke, was hired to remake its interior.
Before entering the building we noticed this central fountain square nearby in Plaza Arriquibar.
Inside, designer Starke turned the building into multipurpose center, housing a cinema multiplex, fitness center, library, auditorium, shops, showrooms and a restaurant. A series of columns support the building inside but he remade each so that no two are alike.
Starke is known for his playful, whimsical style and it is evident from the columns.
At one point, our guide told us to look up and we could see swimmers in the pool at the fitness center above.
The 43 columns are made from a variety of materials supposedly to convey a mix of cultures, religions, wars and architectures throughout history.
Leaving Starke's building, we saw the offices of Ihobe, an Environmental Management Public Agency of the Basque Government
Soon, we arrived at the port area, not far from the Guggenheim Museum. This area is scheduled for massive redevelopment even though much has already occurred since the museum opened.
Throughout the city, there is construction everywhere. Bilbao is definitely a city on the remake and it brought back memories of the redevelopment of Liverpool.
A few minutes later, we were at Bilbao's San Mamés Stadium, seating 53,000 for soccer. Some members of our group were interested in attending an afternoon match here.
The Iberdrola building, designed by architect, César Pelli. It is the headquarters of Basque utility company, Iberdrola, and is the tallest building in Bilbao at 541 feet.
We headed back to the older part of the city where the original architecture is wonderfully preserved, typically with retail on the ground floor and offices or apartments above.
The city's Ribera Market, called by the Guinness Book of Records, the most complete municipal food market. Unfortunately, it was closed on Sundays.
Santiago Cathedral of Bilbao. Dedicated to St. James, it dates from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Although the building is called La Bolsa as if it once was a stock exchange, it has never performed that roll but instead seems to have been a center of commerce years ago. Today, it is a cultural center.
Our Lady of Begoña—she is considered especially helpful to seamen in distress. A Bilbao basilica is named after her.
The old part of Bilbao has some tempting restaurants—many specialize in Iberico Ham, a specialty of Spain obtained from pure, black pigs.
Tapas or small plates/snacks are very popular in Spain and have been introduced worldwide.
Look carefully at this caricature—the pig is doing the carving and the leg is human.
All these snacks were at this restaurant/bar and looked very tempting on this Sunday near lunchtime.
And after the tapas, there are the pastries—mmm.
Basque berets are very popular.
The Plaza Nueva, a charming square now composed mainly of shops and restaurants. The structures previously were government buildings. A flea market is held here each Sunday.
Kids abound trading cards of their favorite soccer players.
Now we moved back near the Guggenheim Museum and saw the Isozaki Atea residential buildings. They are the city's tallest residential buildings at 272 feet.
The White Bridge near the Guggenheim, a footbridge designed by famed Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava. Although praised for its aesthetics, it has been judged impractical because of its glass block floor that becomes very slippery when wet.
Puppy, a giant sculpture by Jeff Koons outside the Guggenheim. Plants therein are changed four times per year.
The undulating majesty of the Guggenheim Museum. Frank Gehry, the architect, had to employ a newly created computer program to ensure that the curving structure was structurally safe.
The Basque government guaranteed the Guggenheim Foundation a couple hundred million dollars to construct the building and acquire some artwork if the Foundation would run it and rotate part of their permanent collection periodically into the facility.
The curves and shapes defy any sort of pattern—at times, the building looks like a beautiful free-form structure and at other times like a collapsed heap of girders and other materials.
The soaring atrium inside that Gehry nicknamed "The Flower" is designed to capture the light.
This building has more exhibition space than the Guggenheim collections in New York and Venice combined.
An Andy Warhol exhibit at the Guggenheim. Photographs were permitted of some of the artwork—unusual for an art museum. Some in the group thought the building was much more impressive than the exhibits therein.
Tulips, again by Jeff Koons, on the atrium terrace outside the museum
Tall Tree and The Eye, a 2009 sculpture by Anish Kapoor
The La Salve Bridge outside the museum. The red arch was added later on the 10th anniversary of the museum. Built in the 1970s, the bridge links the heart of the city with the suburbs.
Maman by the French-American artist Louise Bourgeois. Meaning "mother" in French, some like to have a photo taken while leaning against one of the legs of the spider.