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Hondarribia ("sand ford" in Basque, also known by its Spanish name Fuenterrabía or the French one, Fontarrabie) is a town situated on the west shore of Bidasoa river's mouth, in Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain. The border town is sited on a little promontory facing Hendaye (France) over the Txingudi bay. A service boat makes the trip between the two cities. The town holds an ancient old quarter with walls and a castle. In addition, Hondarribia features a beach across the Bidasoa from the touristy housing estate Sokoburu in Hendaye, alongside a mountain called Jaizkibel providing a hilly backdrop to the town. A road leads north-east from the beach area to the Cape Higuer, located in this municipality.

The town harbours the San Sebastian Airport, which serves domestic flights. Population As of 2005: 15,700 inhabitants.


The battles fought for possession of this fortified stronghold are generally known by the Spanish name for the place (Fuenterrabía).

  • Battle of Fuenterrabía (1521), in which Claude, Duke of Guise distinguished himself, was instigated by Guillaume Gouffier, seigneur de Bonnivet, in command of the army of Navarre; he occupied Fuenterrabía and was probably responsible for the renewal of hostilities resulting from its not being restored. The city was finally returned to Spain in 1524.
  • Siege of Fuenterrabía (1638) was the outcome of a siege by the invading forces of Louis XIII, led by Condé. 27,000 French soldiers besieged the city for two months, firing 16,000 shells into the walled city, leaving only 300 survivors, most of them women and children. The city was virtually destroyed, but nevertheless did not surrender.[1] The Spanish soldiers were successful, and the raising of the siege is celebrated annually on 8 September in a parade, known as Alarde.
  • Battle of Fuenterrabía (1719), during the War of the Quadruple Alliance.
  • Battle of Fuenterrabía (1792), in which the French Revolutionary Army took the city by breaching the walls. After they took over the city, they blew up the section of walling facing France, with the help of German engineers. A remainder of the walls escaped destruction thanks to the signing the Peace of Basel.

Notable residents

  • Josune Amunarriz, prominent female avant-garde artist whose large-scale installations can be seen in San Sebastián, China, and New York.
  • José María Olazábal famous Spanish golfer, winner of two U.S. Masters titles and regular member of the European Ryder Cup team.
  • Unai Emery, former manager of Spanish football club, Valencia CF and Russian football club Spartak Moscow. Now the current manager of Sevilla FC.


External links

  • English.
  • Spanish
  • Página oficial de Turismo Fuenterrabía
  • Página oficial del Campeonato de Pintxos de Euskadi que se celebra en Fuenterrabía
  • Santiago Sanchez, et al., "CAAD and historical buildings: the importance of the simulation of the historical process": restoring the walls of Hondarribia
  • Personal Web site about Hondarribia

Coordinates: 43°21.75′N 1°47.48′W / 43.36250°N 1.79133°W / 43.36250; -1.79133

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