Ubillos Palace: A Renaissance Treasure

Jul 05, 2024

Ubillos Palace, one of Zumaia's most emblematic landmarks, offers a unique glimpse into the historical transformation of architectural functionality in our town. Originally built as a defensive tower in the Middle Ages, the palace has evolved into the current headquarters of the Zumaia School of Music, maintaining its relevance within the community and preserving its historical legacy.

Historical Evolution of Ubillos Palace

The history of Ubillos Palace began long before the Renaissance splendor we admire today. Before the 16th century, the complex was primarily a defensive tower located on the left side of the current façade. This original structure served as a crucial point of defense and surveillance during medieval times.

It is known that since the 16th century, the palace belonged to the Ubillos lineage, originating from Ordizia. This family excelled in maritime trade and the Spanish colonial ventures, playing a key role in the development of shipbuilding, which was vital to Zumaia's economy at that time.

In the late 16th century, amidst a more peaceful and prosperous era, a significant renovation and expansion of the building took place. Francillo de Hubillus reconstructed the former house-tower, adding the main body of the palace, which features a square courtyard designed in the Renaissance style, a larger entrance, and several elegant balconies. These additions completely transformed the building's aesthetic, shifting from a military fortress to a residential palace that reflected the power and status of its occupants.

Transformation into the Headquarters of the School of Music

Today, Ubillos Palace has found new life as the headquarters of the Zumaia School of Music. The music now flowing through its ancient walls envelops the rich history of the palace with an aura of beauty and harmony. This transition from a defensive space to a cultural centre is a testament to the building's adaptability and continued relevance in community life.

Cultural Importance of the Palace

Beyond its architecture, Ubillos Palace is an essential component of Zumaia's cultural heritage. Located at 14 San José Street, within the historic centre, it is a must-visit stop on any tour of the town. Although the interior of the palace is not open to the general public due to its educational function, visitors can admire its impressive façade and the architectural details that punctuate its long history.

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