Press Releases


The Cathedral was a huge hit at Fitur Tourist fair

30/01/2003 King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía visited Alava´s stand and expressed an interest in the cathedral restoration project.

30/01/2003 The restoration project centred around Vitoria-Gasteiz´s Santa María Cathedral won the approval of tour operators and professionals from all over the world during the first day of the Madrid International Tourist Fair - Fitur 2003. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain visited Alava´s stand and expressed an interest in the restoration of the gothic cathedral. The King and Queen were especially impressed by the recording of the guided tours and took with them a number of the Foundation´s pins, featuring a part of the cathedrals triforium.

The presence of the King and Queen of Spain was the icing on the cake of a day during which thousands of visitors came to Alava´s stand in the Basque Country pavilion in order to learn about the new features offered by this year´s Programme of Guided Tours around the restoration work being carried out in the Old Cathedral.

Tourism experts confessed themselves to be ´astounded´ by the way in which the restoration of this unique historic and artistic building has been opened up to the general public, underlining the fact that it is a ´unique experience´, since the guided tours take visitors inside a building currently undergoing a drastic restoration process and are ´extremely interesting from an educational point of view´. The praise received from the tourism sector reflected that received from other areas such as the cultural and scientific fields.

The platform that runs through the central nave, the archaeological excavations and the restoration of the portico were the main attractions presented by Santa María Cathedral during this year´s Fitur Fair. The project met with praise and acclaim from a wide range of professionals working in the sector, many of whom were already familiar with the Programme of Guided Tours and visited the stand in order to see for themselves the new developments.

The general opinion during the fair was that the open restoration project of the Old Cathedral was ´one of the most innovative products of Cultural Tourism today´ - a claim that has been corroborated by the fact that Santa María has received over 200,000 visitors since it was officially opened to the public.

The Santa María Cathedral Foundation took part in Fitur for the third year running, consolidating its position as a reference point for quality tourism in both Vitoria-Gasteiz and Alava in general. In addition to this year´s new features, the presentation of the Old Cathedral also included contents exhibited last year, such as the virtual tours and the web site (, which serves to enhance the visitor service through the online reservation system and was one of the aspects of the project which received most praise from professionals at the fair.

Interactive CD
As a continuation of the project and as part of its commitment to new technologies, the Foundation also presented an interactive CD covering all aspects of the project. This CD, which will be available to the public in the near future, includes a huge amount of information complete with animated features and voice recordings. It is designed as a dynamic and educational instrument for informing the general public about the history of the building, the Master Plan, the Foundation and the cultural activities carried out by this organisation. The CD also enables users to take a guided tour around the cathedral, accompanied by a voice recording which offers in-depth explanations of the different features and areas.