Bilbao

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Bilbao (pronounced /bɪlˈbaʊ/;[1] Basque: Bilbo) is a Spanish municipality, capital of the province of Biscay, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. With a population of 354,860 as of 2009,[2] it is the largest city of its autonomous community and the tenth in Spain. Bilbao lies within one of Spain's largest metropolitan areas; the comarca of Greater Bilbao has a estimated population of 875,552,[3] making it the fifth most populated conurbation in the country.

Bilbao is situated in the north-central part of Spain, some 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) south of the Bay of Biscay, where the estuary of Bilbao is formed. Its main urban core is surrounded by two small mountain ranges with an average elevation of 400 metres (1,300 ft).[4]

Since its foundation in the early 14th century, Bilbao was a commercial hub that enjoyed significant importance in the Green Spain, mainly thanks to its port activity based on the export of iron extracted from the Biscayan quarries. Throughout the nineteenth century and beginnings of the twentieth, Bilbao experimented heavy industrialization that made it the centre of the second industrialized region of Spain, behind Barcelona.[5][6] This was joined by an extraordinary population explosion that prompted the anexation of several adjacent municipalities. Nowadays, Bilbao is a vigorous service city that is experiencing an ongoing social, economic, and aesthetic revitalization process, started by the symbolic Bilbao Guggenheim Museum,[5][7][8][9] and continued by infrastructure investments, such as the airport terminal, the rapid transit system, the tram line, the Alhóndiga, or the currently under development Abandoibarra and Zorrozaurre renewal projects.[10]

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