escudo Larrabetzu

Larrabetzu played an important role in medieval Biscay.

The Lords would swear loyalty to the charters at Goikolexea Church.

The birth of Larrabetzu dates back to Olmedo in 1376.  It was founded by royal privilege granted by Infante Don Juan, Lord of Biscay, at the request of the Good Men of the Biscay Merindades (administrative territorial subdivision) to protect and defend against the misdeeds being committed by the leading lineages.

The charter town was in the centre of the jurisdiction of the Larrabetzu parish district, from which it subsequently took its name. The foundation was confirmed by John I of Castile in 1381 and subsequently by Henry III of Castile in 1393 and the Catholic Monarchs in 1481.

Some emblematic houses with coats of arms such as those of Adán de Yarza, Sarria and Zugasti, and the Basaraz and Goikolexea towers are to be found there.


The town is governed by a mayor, a trustee and an alderman. They have a seat and vote in 18 of the Gernika General Assemblies.

Two parishes

The charter town has two parishes. The first, San Emeterio y San Celedonio, one of the oldest of Bizkaia, was founded in the 9th century by the tithed workers of the Lordship and was one of oath churches of Biscay.   The other parish church dedicated to Santa María de la Asunción was built in the 15th century.

Alto de Aretxabalaga

The Alto de Aretxabalaga is home to the tree of the same name, where the residents of Bizkaia welcomed and greeted the new Lord, when he arrived to take office and swear loyalty to the charter. The Lord would then go down to Larrabetzu where he would take the oath of office in the Church of San Emeterio y San Celedonio (he would have done so before in Bilbao) and would then do so again under the Gernika Tree.