Press Releases


The Santa María Cathedral Foundation organises popular walks along the Camino de la Piedra between Ajarte (Country of Treviño) and the Medieval Quarter

They will be taking place on the following Saturdays: 20th and 27th September and 4th and 18th October

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 15th September 2008.- For the second year running, the Santa María Cathedral Foundation and the Goiena Mountain Club have organised four walks along with Camino de la Piedra (Stone Way), a route that links Ajarte with the capital of Álava. The key interest of this route lies in the fact that the stone used to build Vitoria’s Cathedral comes from the Ajarte quarries, in the County of Treviño.
Ajarte is a small practically uninhabited village belonging to the County of Treviño. As well as its stunning views over the nearby Vitoria Mountains, the quarries outside the village yielded much of the stone used to build the churches of Álava as well as the Cathedral of Santa María.
For this reason, last year, the Santa María Cathedral Foundation organised a walking tour between the two locations to link the historic and artistic interest of the Cathedral with the nearby landscape, geography and in particular the historical routes used to transport stone to the Gasteiz hill.
This year, the walks will be held on the following Saturdays: 20th and 27th September, and the 4th and 18th October. On each of the days, there will be a bus to take participants to Ajarte, and from there they will set out on a 14 km walk during which, as well as enjoying the surroundings, they will also be provided with explanations about the different places they pass through.
The route starts in Ajarte, where participants will find out about the old stone quarries used as a mining resource in the restoration of monuments. As they pass through the Ajarte Hill and the Vitoria Mountains, they will see the old mining pits, considered archaeological and historical heritage. The unquestionable natural value of this area will be highlighted, pointing out the presence of shady beech trees to the north, and turkey, gall and holm oak trees to the south.
In the area of Olarizu, they will see the Iron Age settlement of Kutzemendi, one of the oldest settlements that bears witness to the ancient presence of humans in Álava, as well as the Casa de la Dehesa, with strong links to the nearby cattle grazing route, which has now been turned into a magnificent recreation area.

Towards the end of the route, in Mendiola, participants will discover the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, an interesting church built in the 16th and 17th centuries, late renaissance in style with a Latin cross design and a wonderful trabeated entrance. The walk reaches its conclusion by the Cathedral of Santa María in Vitoria and the city wall. Furthermore, those who finish the whole walk can visit the Cathedral free of charge.
All those interested in taking part in this activity should reserve their place at the Cathedral Visitors’ Centre, or by phoning 945 255 135. Tickets are €5 each except for members of the Cathedral’s Circle of Founders Association, for whom it is free. There will be 45 places available on each day. There will be two pick-up points in the city for participants, who will be accompanied by monitors from the Goiena Mountain Club: 8.30 p.m. at the Plaza de Lovaina and 8.45 a.m. by the Mendizorroza fronton courts. Arrival at the Cathedral of Santa María is expected at around 2 p.m.

Furthermore, and coinciding with the Medieval Market taking place in the Historic Quarter throughout the weekend, on Saturday 27th September there will be a special act to commemorate the way in which stone was originally brought from Ajarte. Starting at 12 midday, a cart pulled by two oxen will travel the distance between Mendiola and the Cathedral of Santa María, dragging several blocks of stone. Quite an attraction for the thousands of people visiting the medieval market that day.