Gernika -The Assembly and The Tree

In the header, the replica in Gernika of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica –  reminding us all of the 1937 bombings. His masterpiece is hanging in the Reina Sofia museum, Madrid.

The Assembly House (built 1826) and the Tree of Gernika are the living symbols of the Basque People’s history.

The two of them became a meeting point of all the territories of the Basque Country – bringing together cultural and ethnographic traditions.

In this room are held all the plenary meetings of the General Assembly. It was conceived as a Church-Parliament that could bring together political and religious functions at the same time. The portrait gallery shows different dates when the Oaths were taken for The Old Law ( based on usage and custom) in a ceremony.

The Tree og Gernika is the best known symbol of the Basque People.

For centuries, under its shade the meetings of the General Assembly were held. This is the old trunk of the oldest remaining of the Assembly Oaks, planted around 1700. A new oak tree (a direct successor of the old one) is planted when the old venerable tree is gone.

Everywhere is the symbolic tree represented, in embroideries as well as wood carvings.

This is the Room of The Stained Glass Window. The space was originally designed as an open air patio, and is now currently employed for institutional uses.

The gigantic stained glass window – or in fact ceiling –  completed in 1985, has a special significance. It was crafted completely by hand by a company from Bilbao, Vidrieras de Arte S.A. It is a graphic representation of the Tree as a meeting point for the districts of Bizkaia.

8 comments on “Gernika -The Assembly and The Tree

    • It makes me sad too, Charlie, but it is one of my favourites as well. Photos are not allowed where the original hangs, but here I was happy to catch it. And that ceiling is – marvellous, I agree!

  1. A timely post A-C. I’ve seen that chilling piece of artwork by Picasso; it’s a sober reminder. Interesting to see the symbolism here with the oak trees and how they are revered and immortalised – the stained glass installation is an incredible piece of work. We need reminders of the traditional ways – in places to gather to uphold democratic means.

    • I agree – well said. We need the old traditions to link back and to hold on. Democracy and human rights are necessary to hold on to. So much in this world seem to fall apart…and many young people do not have the stability needed to move on comfortably with their lives.The Basque people are still sound and stable with both feet on the ground, connected through history and tradition. I love them and respect them.

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