Throughout the 1800s, the Basque port city of Bilbao was frequently under attack. First it was sacked by French troops in the Peninsular War. Then it was besieged four times during the tumultuous Carlist Wars, a series of civil struggles for power in Spain. These efforts by others to take control of Bilbao forged a strong regional identity among its citizens. The city went on to become a hub of industry, which brought economic enrichment but obscured the city’s natural beauty and overshadowed its history of fine art. In 1997, Frank Gehry designed the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to revive arts in the area. The venue currently presents 27 paintings that depict Bilbaon cultural life and history during its most vulnerable period, a historical reminder of the city’s beleaguered past, artistic vitality, and resilient spirit. —C.J.F.
Guggenheim Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain Get Directions »