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In the gardens that surround this palace and that are part of the Lea-Artibai ikastetxea teaching center, there is the monument dedicated to Juan Antonio Moguel made by the sculptor Xiri Andonegi. Typographic forms in limestone reproduce a fragment of the work Peru Abarka written by Moguel that says: “The wolf prefers the wild life and the difficult search for the food to the pampering and the soft bread of the chained domestic dog.”

«Gurago dau otsuak
Baso bizitzia iatekua
Nekez billatu biarra
Etxe-txakur katiaz
Lotubaren eregu ta
Ogi biguna baino.»

Xemein Hiribidea (behind Patrokua Palace)
48270 Markina-Xemein

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The temple of Santa María de la Asunción de Xemein was created in the 10th century. In this century, Christianity was propagating and small monasteries were founded. Until the founding of the town of Markina (1355), the patrons of this monastery were the houses of Barroeta and Ugarte both from Xemein. These families occupied the main seats in the church and collected part of their tithes. In the 14th century (1355), when the town of Markina was founded, in its puebla letter or founding charter it is said that the Xemeingan monastery would be common to the town of Markina and the Xemein parish. With the entry of the town into the board of trustees, controversies began, as the houses of Barroeta and Ugarte claimed their entirety. These disputes forced the town to build the church of San Pedro de Elizabarria. The conflicts over the patronage happened later. In the seventeenth century, half of the patronage was benefitted from by the town of Markina and the other half by the houses of Ugarte and Barroeta. These patronages later would pass to the house of Peñaflorida. The Xemein church was developed in the 16th century and the masters Martín Albisua, Rodrigo Albiz, Miguel Elorriaga, Juan Emasabel and the carpenter Pedro Andrino participated in it. In the seventeenth century the complements of the temple were built: the choir, the sacristy and the tower. The choir has an organ (1910), work of the Amezua house. Below the choir there are images of the Sacred Heart and the Virgin of the Rosary. The Xemein church also has the stone tombs of the Mugartegui and Peñaflorida families and the Gaytán de Ayala chapel with a Virgen of Pilar and the family’s emblem on the grate. The primitive sacristy was behind the main altar but in the 17th century, due to space and humidity problems, the sacristy that we know today was built. The masters Gaspar Balzola, Martín Ibarluzea and Lucas Longa took part in its execution. As for the tower, Juan de Urizar Zabala began to build it in 1625. However, his project having failed to please, Urizar himself carried out the design presented by Juan de Aguirre. It has two bodies made of sandstone, topped by a spire and a cross. Declared a National Monument of the Basque Country, it belongs to the model of the hall church or hallenkirche as it is called in Germany. It has a rectangular floor with three halls separated by six limestone columns. The walls on the outside are made of limestone ashlar, while the inside ones appear to be plastered. The vault is starred ribbed with warps. It has two entrances: one with a semicircular voussoir arch on the west facade and the main entrance with a double arch preceded by a small atrium on the south. As far as furniture content is concerned, the main altarpiece stands out in the Renaissance style. It was made in the first half of the 16th century and is structured with a predella, four horizontal sections, three divisions and four quirks. Several authors must have intervened in its execution.
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Attached to the church of Santa María de Xemein, we find the cemetery. Built under the neoclassical label and following the renovating ideas of the Enlightenment, it was built on the outskirts of the town ensuring hygienic and sanitary precautions. In the place occupied by the current cemetery, at the beginning of the 19th century there were graves. However, the cemetery that we know today is from the mid-19th century. It was laid out by the architect Mariano Lascurain and built by José Sodupe and Pedro José Loyola. In 1849 the land was purchased and in the years 1850-1851 construction proceeded. It is rectangular in shape with a gallery of columns and a chapel at the end with a Romanesque Christ. The main access traces the dividing line of the cemetery in two equal parts. Likewise, the cemetery can be accessed from the church and from the municipal parking lot. The burial place, which must have been at first within the arcaded space, was later moved to the uncovered area in which the mausoleum of José María de Munibe, XI count of Peñaflorida stands out. The neoclassical expressions can be seen in the main entrance, in the Munibe mausoleum and in the hall that precedes the chapel. In them we can see Neo-Greek elements (triangular pediment, columns and ornamental edge tiles) and Neo-Egyptian (shapes that recall the facades of Egyptian temples, pylons). Likewise, the gallery of columns recalls the Roman dwelling model. It has been declared a National Monument of the Basque Country.
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Located next to the Camino de Santiago where the Artibai and Urko rivers converge. Next to the hermitage are the old town hall of the Xemein parish, at number 22, and the probadero (a sport ground where a traditional game is played dragging stones). Etymologically Arretxinaga means “place or site where the stones lie or are laid”. Arri, harria is “stone”. Etxi from etzin, etzan, is “to lie down, lay down” and the locative suffix -aga, “place of”. This interpretation would describe the geological phenomenon that the hermitage keeps and that attracts so much attention. This geological manifestation, called in Mineralogy hydrothermal process and which took place about 40 million years ago, welcomes the archangel saint Michael. The saint wields the spear against the demon at his feet in the form of a dragon or another fantastic animal. With a centralized floor in the shape of a hexagon and a single lintel entrance, it is topped by a belfry. The origin of this hermitage is linked to the spiritual trend that developed in the High Middle Ages. In the Late Middle Ages, when the town of Markina was founded in 1355, it was said that the Xemein church had been abandoned because its parishioners frequented another religious site, perhaps the Arretxinaga site. In 1451, in a lawsuit over jurisdiction that the Xemein parish church had with the town of Markina, the existence of the hermitage is mentioned. Likewise, in 1541, it was recorded that the foundation of the hermitage was immemorial and that it had had hermits and then, it had freilas (military nuns) who cared for it. On August 17, 1626, the altar of saint Michael was solemnly consecrated considering that the sanctuary of Arretxinaga had a great resemblance to that of Monte Gargano in Apulia (Italy) and it was dedicated to the archangel saint Michael. In 1631 there were no hermits or freilas, but the house dedicated to their habitation still existed. In 1734, the Xemein parish church decided to rebuild the hermitage because its structure threatened to get ruined. A project was presented by P. B. Villarreal de Bérriz (1669-1740), but another design was carried out and the hermitage was inaugurated in 1741. In 1893 the roof was completely retiled. In 1894, the architect Pedro José de Astarloa presented the approximate budget for the conservation and repair works. However, preference was given to image restoration. The images and altars, there were several, were painted in 1895 by a resident of the town, Ramón de Ubera, following the conditions established by the structure board. On September 29, the feast of the titular saint, at midnight the local dance group, Zerutxu Dantza Taldea, dances the traditional Mahai Ganeko (on the table). The current state of the Arretxinaga complex is due to the remodeling work carried out by the Markina-Xemein City Council and the Provincial Council of Bizkaia.
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