Press Releases


Record number of visitors in summer

30/09/2003 Nearly 25.000 people, 30% more than in 2002, participated in the guided tours from June to September.

30/09/2003 Visitors during the summer months to the restoration work in the Old Cathedral of Vitoria-Gasteiz reached record levels since it reopened in 1999. Nearly 25,000 people (24,755) from more than 40 countries participated from June to September in the guided tours. This figure represents an increase of 30% over the same period last year.

The interest which the restoration of Santa Maria Cathedral is generating among the public is on the increase. This is possible thanks to the developmental nature of the project itself and to the constant innovations that are being introduced in the visits. April 2003 saw the inauguration of a new route, which included unknown spaces or great historic value that had been closed to the public for decades.

Visitors are able to contemplate the consolidation work on the pillars of the Cathedral, the sentry wall-walk, research and restoration work on the portal polychromy, as well as significant novelties such as the Chapel of Santiago (Saint James) to which access is gained through a winding staircase dating from the 14th Century and which has been closed for decades.

These and other aspects have contributed to this record number of visitors. Such proliferation led to an increase in the number of groups allowed entry. In July and August six groups more than the usual were set up and for several weeks nearly 400 people a day visited the Old Cathedral, a figure very much above the recommended number for this type of work.

Two out of every three from outside Alava
Of the total number of visitors, 66% came from outside Alava and 14% from abroad. Visits were undertaken in 6 languages: Spanish, Basque, English, French, Italian and German. There are nearly 5,000 reservations for up to the 31 December. This means that by the end of the year there will have been nearly 300,000 visitors since its reopening to the public in 1999. Those interested may request a time by telephone on: 945 255 135 or on the website

According to statements by those responsible for tourism in Vitoria-Gasteiz and Alava, the proliferation of visitors to the Old Cathedral has had a notable impact on the increase of tourism. During the summer months Alava registered an increase of 11% in this sector, according to figures from the Basque Government, with Alava having particularly outstanding results in comparison with the rest of the Basque Country.