Until the last third of the XIX century Bizkaia had a precarious economy. It is easy to deduce therefore, that there are not many examples of rich religious architecture and sculpture.
Within the romanesque architecture the most important church is Andra Mari in Galdakao and the oldest hermitage is San Pedro de Abrisketa, in Arrigorriaga. The hermitage of San Miguel de Zumetxaga and the parish of San Pelayo in Bakio also deserve a special mention. Other facades in this style have been preserved to be used in later buildings (San Salvador in Frúniz, Andra Mari in Lemoiz, San Miguel de Linares in Arcentales, Andra Mari de Gautegiz in Arteaga, San Roque and San Sebastián Del Monte Kolitza in Balmaseda, San Bartholome de Olarte in Orozko and Santa Lucía in Igorre). Other surviving architectural features (baptismal piles, windows. etc) can also be found in more than a dozen churches and hermitages.
Among the Gothic Temples Santiago in Bilbao, Santa Maria in Lekeitio, San Antonio Abad in Bilbao, Santa Maria in Gernika and San Severino in Balmaseda should all be highlighted. Of those in which can be seen the transition from Gothic to Renaissance Santa Maria de Güeñes, Santa Eufemia in Bermeo, Santa Maria in Erandio and Santa Maria de Axpe in Busturia are all deserving of mention. At this time beautiful stone crosses were built, of which the cross of Krutziaga in Durango is the most important example.
During the Renaissance time, some temples, made in XVI century, still have gothic architectural styles and belong to the so called "Basque gothic ". Some examples of this style are: Santa Maria in Ondarroa, San Pedro in Mungia, San Agustín in Etxebarria, Purísima Concepción in Elorrio, San Pedro in Loiu, The " Colegiata" in Zenarruza, Santa Maria in Xemein, San Martín in Zamudio, San Pedro in Deusto, Santa Maria in Portugalete, Santa Maria in Begoña, Encarnacion in Atxuri and San Vicente Martir de Abando, in Bilbao.
Of the temples in Baroque style Los Santos Juanes and San Nicolas in Bilbao, Santa Maria in Lezama and Santecilla in Carranza are the most outstanding. We cannot ignore the innumerable and beautiful baroque towers, like Santa Maria in Otxandio, San Miguel in Iurreta, Purísima Concepcion de Elorrio and San Antonio Abad in Bilbao.
Of the Neoclassic temples Santa Maria in Bermeo, Santa Maria in Larrabetzu, San Bartholome de Aldeacueva-Carranza, San Miguel in Iurreta and Santa Maria de Gorostiza in Nabarniz all stand out. In contemporary times, at the end of the XIX century, the tower and the facade of Santiago in Bilbao, the Jesuits' church and residence and San Francisco in Bilbao are built.
A last reference regarding the most interesting altarpieces. Within the Hispanic-Flemish style the most important are the ones in Lekeitio, the San Emeterio one, the San Celedonio de Goikolegea one and Gizaburuaga, which is in the Archaeological Museum of Bilbao. From the Renaissance altarpieces Santa Maria in Portugalete, Andra Mari de Elexalde in Galdakao, San Agustín in Etxebarria, Santa Maria in Zenarruza, Santa Maria de Xemein, and the sides of San Pedro de Deusto can be mentioned; later on, Santa Maria in Durango, Zeberio, Elorrio, Trucíos, Carranza, Zeanuri etc. From the Baroque period there are more than sixty interesting altarpieces, particularly those in Ermua, Amorebieta and Elorrio. Of the neoclassic altarpieces, those in Rigoitia, Begoña and San Vicente Martyr of Abando must be remembered.
Santiago in Bilbao (1819), Santa Maria in Lekeitio (1884), Nuestra Señora de Begoña (1908), Santa Maria in Portugalete (1950) and Purísima Concepcion in Elorrio (1966) are Basilical churches. On the 5th December 2001 the title of Minor Basilica was granted to the Church of Santa Maria de Uríbarri in Durango by the Congregation for the Divine Cult and Discipline of the Sacraments.
Also, several religious buildings of the Diocese have been declared to be of "artistic or monumental interest" by the Basque Government and others are in the process of being declared as such.
In 2001, The Cultural Department of the Basque Government made public a list of the altarpieces catalogued as monuments. (Decree 273/2000, 19th of December)
|Aulestia:||San Juan Bautista de Murelaga's Parish Church|
|Areatza (Villaro):||San Bartolome's Parish Church|
|Bakio:||San Pelayo's Parish Hermitage|
|Balmaseda:||San Severino's Parish Church|
|San Juan del Moral's Church|
|Bermeo:||Santa Eufemia's Parish Church|
|Santa María's Church|
|San Francisco's Old Cloister / San Francisco's Convent|
|Los Santos Juanes's Parish Church|
|San Antón's Parish Church|
|San Nicolas's Parish Church|
|San Francisco de Asís's Parish Church|
|Busturia:||Santa María's Parish Church|
|Santo Cristo's Hermitage|
|Durango:||Santa María de Uríbarri's Parish Church|
|Santa Ana's Parish Church|
|Elorrio:||Purísima Concepción's Parish Church|
|Galdakao:||Andra Mari Church|
|Getxo:||San Ignacio's Parish Church|
|Nuestra Señora del Carmen Church|
|Güeñes:||Santa María's Parish Church|
|Larrabetzu:||La Asunción's Parish Church|
|San Emeterio and San Celedonio (Goikolexea)'s Parish Church|
|Lekeitio:||Santa María's Parish Church|
|San José's Church|
|Santo Domingo´s Convent|
|Markina:||Santa María's Parish Church and its cemetery|
|Carmen's Church and Convent|
|San José's Church and Convent|
|La Merced's Church and Convent|
|Santo Tomás de Bolivar's Parish Church|
|Otxandio:||Santa Marina's Parish Church|
|Plentzia:||Santa María Magdalena's Parish Church|
|Portugalete:||Santa María's Parish Church|
|Amorebieta:||La Asunción de Nuestra Señora||Major altarpiece|
|Arteaga:||Santa María de Gautegiz||Major Altarpiece|
|Bermeo:||La Asunción de Santa María||Altarpieces with S. Juan Bautista, Inmaculada|
Concepción, Ntra. Sra. del Rosario y S. José
|Concepción, Ntra. Sra. del Rosario y S. José|
|Bérriz:||San Juan Bautista||Major Altarpiece|
|Bilbao:||Santos Juanes||Major Altarpiece and side ones|
|San Nicolás de Bari||Major Altarpiece and La Piedad, S. Blas, S. José|
S. Crispín y Crispiniano
|S. Crispín y Crispiniano|
|Durango:||Santa María de Uríbarri||Major Altarpiece|
|Elorrio:||Purísima Concepción||Major Altarpiece|
|Galdakao:||Andra Mari de Elexalde||Major Altarpiece|
|Goikolexea:||Santos Emeterio y Celedonio||Major Altarpiece|
|Gordexola:||San Juan Degollado||Major Altarpiece|
|Güeñes:||Santa María||Major Altarpiece|
|Lekeitio:||La Asunción de Nuestra Señora||Major Altarpiece|
|Markina:||La Asunción de Nuestra Señora||Major Altarpiece|
|Convento de Nª. Sª. del Carmen||Major Altarpiece and co-lateral ones|
|Portugalete:||Santa María||Major Altarpiece|
|Zeanuri:||La Asunción de Nuestra Señora||Major Altarpiece|
|Zenarrutza:||La Asunción de Nuestra Señora||Major Altarpiece|
In Orduña, a Biscayan city belonging to the Diocese of Vitoria, the Cultural Department of the Basque Government has catalogued as monuments the temples of Santa Maria and San Juan (Holy Family) and the altarpieces in "Nuestra Señora de la Antigua" Church ( the biggest ones) and the sides of the Josefins School.