If there is one thing that characterises Alava's museums, it is their quality and, above all, their thematic variety. Fine Arts, Archaeology, Natural Sciences, the Armoury and the world-famous Fournier playing cards are just some of the museums that can be visited at this time of year in the Basque capital.
Alava Fine Arts Museum
Located in the Augustín Zulueta Palace, this museum is dedicated to Spanish art from the 18th and 19th centuries and, more specifically, to Basque art from the period 1850-1950, with names such as Aurelio Arteta, Ignacio Zuloaga, Juan de Echevarría and Francisco Iturrino. Two local painters stand out, Ignacio Díaz Olano and Fernando de Amárica, an author who, through a Foundation, has the bulk of his production deposited for exhibition in this museum.
Alava Armoury Museum
It shows the history and evolution of weapons from the origins of mankind to the beginning of the 20th century. Most of the collection is made up of European weapons, but there are also other African and Oriental weapons, as well as uniforms, decorations, medals and coins. The section dedicated to the Battle of Vitoria deserves special attention.
Museum of Natural Sciences of Álava
This museum is a fundamental reference for the knowledge of the ecosystems of the Atlantic-Mediterranean transition and the lithological records that support them, and holds the most extensive natural history collections existing in the Basque Country and areas of influence. The exhibition of fossils and amber deposits from the Lower Cretaceous at Peñacerrada is particularly noteworthy. The first floor exhibits 20th century Iberian mineralogy and the second floor displays the elements that make up the natural spaces of our region, both from a botanical and zoological point of view.
Alava Archaeology Museum
The museum's permanent exhibition is divided into three floors, where more than 1,500 archaeological objects and various audiovisual resources narrate the history of Alava from the most remote prehistoric times to the end of the Middle Ages. Located in the BIBAT.
Fournier Playing Card Museum of Alava
The Palacio de Bendaña, in the heart of the medieval quarter of Vitoria-Gasteiz, was built in the 16th century on the site of a medieval tower and was originally conceived as a family home. Since 1994 it has housed the headquarters of the Fournier Playing Card Museum of Alava, one of the very few museums in the world devoted exclusively to playing cards, and admission to which is free.
Its collection includes more than 20,000 decks of playing cards, as well as other objects related to playing card printing techniques. It was started by Félix Alfaro Fournier in 1916, when his grandfather Heraclio Fournier, the founder of the Vitoria card factory, died.
In its rooms you can see decks of cards from the five continents and from all periods, from the Middle Ages to the present day. They have a wide variety of themes, as in addition to playing cards, they have also been used to learn the first letters, geography, history, etc. There are cards with curious and colourful designs, such as the round cards from India or the exotic ones from Japan. Or hand-painted decks, card by card, and with gold and silver leaf. Others even contain music, and with others, you could do magic.
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