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A visit to the Lili Palace

Andre Madalen opened up the doors of this jewel of Basque Gothic architecture to us

At the entrance you will knock three times on the door and hand over some vintage coins, which you will be given at the tourist office, to Andre Madalen.
The visit to this jewel of Basque architecture, the Lili Palace, will start in this original way. However, the mistress will ask you to interact, play the role of servants, set the table, keep the accounts of the house... because, in short, you are going to enter the Palace to work.


The significant history of Zestoa revolved around the life of the Lili family. As the owners of farmland and woods, the nearby farmhouses provided them with a lot of income. Their wealth was based on the production of iron and wood, as can be seen in the beautiful wrought iron windows.

In 1680 Sebastián Lili and his wife Magdalena de Amilibia, were the last members of the family to live in the Palace. At that time, construction began in the Urola valley of the Basilica of Loyola, as well as of various public buildings in Zestoa. In the place called Gesalaga there were some hot springs that the Lili family began to operate, as the woods were depleted and the traditional ironworks were in decline.

The hot springs passed into the hands of the Marquis de San Millán while the men in the Lili family pursued military careers. They lived far away from Zestoa and spent the income generated by the ironworks, the mill and the nearby farmhouses.

The Palace was rented out and could hardly be kept up. It was in 1760 when Vicente de Lili, in a dispute over rights of primogeniture with his elder brother, forged various historical documents and took the name of Count of Alacha for himself and the Lili family.

Andre Madalen will tell you stories like these, and many others, such as the reason why in 1678 the windows hardly opened, and sadness and shame were all around...


Andre Madalen is a Basque woman from the 17th century and by the Middle Ages, Basque women already had certain rights and powers that they would gradually lose as time went by. She provides us with the image of a working woman fighting for her rights.

All the furniture is from that period and fits in perfectly with the setting for the historical enactment. The company, Arazi IKT S.L. has taken charge of the production, interpretation, management, creation and exhibition, with illustrations by Josu Maroto.


The route begins at the tourist office in Zestoa, where you will be given some vintage coins. If you walk 500 metres you’ll come to the Palace just after passing the lovely Zubiaurre bridge, the wash house and a four-pipe fountain.

A bit further on, you’ll come to the Ekain Berri cave, which is also worth a visit. And don’t forget to go into Zestoa, as it is worth a leisurely visit.

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