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Bilbao & its Guggenheim Museum

Bilbao, the Basque country, northern Spain. Not so long ago a sleeping port and industrial town, allegedly with little charm. But the mayor and the citizens had visions - and put them to work. Many couldn't believe their ears when they heard that the new Guggenheim Museum would be built in their town, partly under a bridge. And there it is, beyond doubt one of the most amazing buildings in the world. Says TFF co-founder Christina Spannar, upon visiting it:

"The memory of the museum, especially seen from the hill in moonlight when it looks like a silvery boat from a fairy tale, is something to cherish and be inspired by. The surface is covered by thin titan plates that look a bit like fish scales. As a small boy, Frank Gehry its architect, often went with his grandmother to the fish market; upon returning he played with the carps she let live in her bathtub until they had to be prepared for dinner. The shiny scales obviously fascinated him - as the building clearly shows.


The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao © 2005 Jan Oberg, TFF


Many in Bilbao were upset about the costly museum project. In the short perspective it seemed like madness. In the long run it has proved to be fortunate for the once rather polluted industrial town where the ship-building industry had closed down and moved eastwards together with other industries on the hunt for cheap labour.
But destructive globalisation can turn into good things, too. With the museum and what came with it, the whole town has gone through a revival. The air is clear and the atmosphere friendly. Fish have come back to the river and visitors - rather than mass tourism - come from all over the world.
To me the museum represents vision, creativity and long-term thinking, necessary for a decent future for our grandchildren and generations to come."
We spent days just walking around it, changing like a jewel depending on the light, time of the day and the weather. You are not allowed to take pictures inside the building. I found that very annoying so...took a few shots in the men's room (and changed them a bit)!

We hope this Series - impressions from the town in general and the Museum in particular - inspires you to go to Bilbao.


The city of Bilbao

 Mirror images

Facades # 1

Facades # 2

Hill & stairs

Three Single Shots

Come rain

The Guggenheim Museum

Walk clockwise around the
museum - shifting
perspectives and light

# 1

# 2

# 3

It's a sculpture # 1

It's a sculpture # 2

Forbidden pictures inside:
The men's room

Mirrors of Guggenheim


© 2005 Jan Oberg

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