SAN AGUSTÍN DE ETXEBARRIA
The outlying hamlet of San Agustín stands in a rural setting well
away from the main population centres. It dates back to 1053.
The first church on this site was built in 1053 on the orders of the Count and Countess of Tabira, Don Munio Sánchez and Doña Leguncia. It was subsequently rebuilt and enlarged in the 15th century. The current building is in the Basque Gothic style, and features a nave with no side aisles and cross-vaulted ceilings. Inside, it measures 40.8 m long, 10.85 m wide and 11.6 m high.
The altarpiece on the main altar is purely Plateresque in style and is perhaps the most valuable of its kind in Bizkaia. It comprises four horizontal sections: the bottom one shows the four gospel writers and the other three depict various passages from the life of Christ, with the last showing Christ crucified, flanked by the two Marys. In a niche at the centre there is a figure of St Augustine that dates from the 14th century.
On the exterior, a chapel with a lancet arch devoted to Saint Marina and St Martin of Tours houses the tombs that contain the mummified remains of the founders. The church is surrounded by a porch held up by 32 monolithic columns, and to the east stands a Baroque style bell tower completed in 1740. Next door to the church stands the parish house, first built in the 14th century and rebuilt in the 16th. The whole group of buildings has been declared a monument of historic and artistic interest.
The prevailing artistic style at the time of their construction was late Gothic, and that is the style that can be found in the cross of Kurutziaga and the early stages of work on the Basilica, as evidenced by its entrances. Most of the parish church of San Agustín dates from the same period, as indeed do some civil buildings that still survive.