Cruces, more than a hospital

Seen from the sky its layout may resemble that of a large almond. The neighbourhood Cruces (Gurutzeta) is like that, at least the part that is enclosed within the lines that mark the route of the A8 dual carriageway and the road (CN-634) that, coming from Burtzeña, bypass it in its opposite face. And the thing is that its same name -Cruces- shows very well the evolution of this area that, since ancient times, was distinguished as an important crossroads as the two ramifications of the road called Camino Real pass through here.

The chronicles also tell us that back in 1920 Cruces (Gurutzeta) had just a little over nine buildings within a bucolic rural environment. The arrival of large numbers of immigrants to Barakaldo in the fifties and especially in the sixties marked the beginning of an evolution that has radically changed the landscape of this neighbourhood.

Second neighbourhood of Barakaldo
The opening in July 1955 of the health residence Residencia Sanitaria Enrique Sotomayor (better known today as Hospital de Cruces) changed the evolution of this neighbourhood that has become the second in terms of population, currently hosting about 18,000, a number that continues rising. Since that time, Gurutzeta has undergone a great transformation in line with the changes that the entire city of Barakaldo has taken.

Rational urbanism
The visit to this neighbourhood has as starting point the area that begins with the bridge that separates this neighbourhood from the one of Bilbao named Zorrotza (N. 1). To the left we see the school Colegio San Juan Bosco, as well as a whole residential area that combines houses of the sixties with more recent buildings. A little further on, in front of the historic estate of the palace Palacio de Munoa (N. 2), blocks of houses of the Euskalduna company rise, a series of buildings separated by small landscaped spaces that make it a good example of rational urbanism and adapted to the human being. The excavation, already working, of a long stretch of the CN-634 that passes through this area, helps to make of it, in the short-term, a perfect place to enjoy the free time of its inhabitants.

Spectacular views
Our tour continues along the street Balejo (N. 3) where, after reaching the top of the parking Bolera, we can enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the neighbourhood, with the whole plain land of Ansio and Zuloko-Ibarreta under us.

The square of the hospital
Not far from there, following the same street, we find in its left side, the civic centre (N. 4) and the library of Cruces and, a few meters further on, we arrive at the square where the different constructions of the hospital are placed (N. 5), a building that was designed by architect Martín José Marcide, with a sketch looking like a fishbone that takes the form of a curved line, which is concentric to the round square, and in which out stands a core with stairs making a circular spiral. Under the square, turned into a traffic interchange, we can find a small shopping centre, which is complemented by the increasingly developed services sector that has been installed in recent times around the Hospital.

Telletxe park
From here, and through the covered bridge over the motorway A-8, we go to La Paz, a whole residential area of landscaped areas that houses much of the population of the neighbourhood in an environment of calm and serenity, which in its furthest part borders the park Tellaetxe (N. 6).

From here, the neighbourhood connects again with the areas less modified by the human action: Basatxu, the mount Arroletza and, finally, the chapel of Santa Águeda.


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