Historic Old Town (Medieval Town)
It is a rectangle that remains identifiable even today in the old part of the town, despite the changes and urban transformations.
The old town centre is made up of two parallel streets: Upper street / Goikokale (now Calle Jauregi) and Lower street / Bekokale (now Calle Iparragirre), with a smaller central street (Kaletxiki) towards which none of the façades face.
Everything indicates that the town’s main street, in the first 200 years of its existence, was Upper Street. Nowadays, on the other hand, the main street is Calle Iparragirre. The Eastern and Western limits were marked by the then “Barbican” (better known today as the “gully“) in the space corresponding to the current Avenue and back of the House of Culture, respectively.
The southern part is a stretch that has undergone major transformations, as it has become the main route connecting the town to Zumarraga. This section, on a hill, where it crosses the old highway, today coincides with Areizaga and Nekolalde streets, which were previously called Retén and Arrabal respectively (indicating the presence of a neighbourhood outside the walls, the suburb, separated from the old town).
On Upper street, many houses still occupy the original parcel or lot, but the remains of the oldest building appear to correspond to the seventeenth century and are highly modified. Thus, the buildings of most artistic interest that have survived are located, not in the Upper Street, but in the Lower Street, the current transport axis in Urretxu. Here there are XVI century manor houses, which are defined by common features in terms of their height (ground floor and two floors), materials (ashlar stone) and their austere composition. There are two types of houses, depending on the size of the plot:
Houses built on the old narrow gothic plots. Examples of these are BIKARIOKOA (Iparragirre No. 14), GALDOSENEA (Iparragirre # 22) and BARRENETXEA (Iparragirre n º 38). The arrangement of their spans is based on an early model: a side door, an adjacent window and scarce decoration, all topped by wooden eaves or ledges made of grooved stone.
Houses that incorporate an adjacent plot to extend the space on which the new building was built. Among them is the house called FACTOREKOA (Iparragirre no. 16), which is one of the most beautiful buildings in our town. Of the beautiful palace that it once was, only the facade remains, and it is in very bad condition. The large arched entrance is framed by thin pilasters that, on the top floor, give way to graceful columns. The building is topped with a stone eave and leonine gargoyles. The whole of the interior has undergone an incredible amount of renovation, and the great hall that must have existed is now a grocery store.