This museum in the middle of the historical basque city of Guernica it's a must to do experience for anyone that loves history. Well structured and organized , it represents a passioned plead against any war. We were brought to tears on the end of our visit.
We planned a quick stop in Gernika on our way to Bilbao, to pay respects. We didn't expect the extensive museum and commemorative experience. The Peace museum focusses on international events, violation of human rights etc etc- but there is a room set up to replicate the experience of getting ready to head off to market and being - well, bombed! The films and audio's are available in English. In the adjoining buildings there is explanation about how the Basque nation worked and why Gernika was so important. If in the North of Spain, and interested in Spanish history, this is a place you can't afford to miss
We stayed in Gernika having read of its significance in the civil war and was impressed by the museum probably because of my interest in its history.I found the layout confusing and almost missed one segment of the sequence you are supposed to follow. Also multi lingual audio would be helpful rather than the hand outs.Gernika is a small working class town which was brightened up when we were there as there was a festival on. Sorry if this sounds a bit negative as I enjoyed my visit and encourage you to go.
Although Gernika itself isn't that much of a scenery. The peace museum is a Goto when you're in the neighborhood.The desciptions are not in English in the museum itself but you get an English book that helps you through the museum. It's a thrilling and gripping experience who allows you to see the conflict in multiple ways.
Many years ago, my wife and saw Picasso's famous painting, Guernica, in Madrid. Although we know it was a criticism of war, we weren't aware of the details behind it. This museum provided an informative overview of this horrific act. We visited this museum, the "Peace Tree" and legislative offices (with short film on the region). One criticism: the signage for all three attractions is very poor. We even stopped by the Tourist Office and received very misleading directions.Worth a visit.
We were received at the front desk of the museum by a very helpful woman with intense blue eyes, who oriented us extremely well to the museum contents. While I knew that the city had been bombed by Franco before the 2nd WW, I was not particularly knowledgeable about the event, and this museum really brings home the reality of the bombing, in both static exhibits, and multimedia presentations. While it would be easy to move to anger about the bombing, the museum seems to stress the need for peace, and even forgiveness, not just about the 1937 bombing of the city, but in relation to all conflict.Visiting this museum was a powerful experience for me.
If you really want to understand the basque identity and conflicts, you should visit this museum. The recreation of the bombing of 1937, in a small room (I'm not going to say more, to not spoil your experience) is creative and moving. The past and the present are there together, and their lessons too. You just have to open you soul and mind. Really recommended.
I've visited the Peace Museum 5 times now and every year it is a highlight of our trip. The guides are fantastic and every year I learn something new. The children (aged 14-15) enjoy the tour and more importantly leave with a thorough understanding of the concepts of peace and reconciliation. Thank you very much, see you next year!
I learned so much about Basque history and WWII. Today Guernica is a lovely town with a wonderful museum dedicated to peace and reconciliation. Most people support peace, but reconciliation is a trickier concept. Unlike in South Africa, which had a Truth and Reconciliation commission, Spain is divided about how to respond to the crimes committed under Franco. It has both the Pact of Forgetting (let's not think about it!) and the Historical Memory Law (let's actually find out where the bodies are buried).
Wasn't sure what to expect as Guernica (Gernika) is such a small town. Unexpectedly moving mainly because of the personal account and vivid experience of that fateful day (I won't spoil it by saying any more). Tremendously knowledgable and enthusiastic staff with excellent English. Well worth a trip if you're in Bilbao or the general area. The Assembly House and the Euskal Herria museum and Moore / Chillado sculptures can be added to your itinerary. The original painting of Guernica should be given to the town to display, it would mean so much to them and attract more tourism to the area.
We bought a ticket for all 3 attractions in town and visited the Peace Museum first. The staff were very helpful and enthusiastic, and one spoke good English. We visited a temporary exhibition about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, expecting it to be a little dull or telling us nothing new, but we found it quite an eye-opener with great first-hand accounts by people on both sides and some tremendous details. Good parallels drawn with the basque struggles under Franco, too.Upstairs there was a good explanation of Gernika's stuggles against Franco and the roots of Basque Nationalism, as well as a moving presentation of the bombing.However, it was the account of the struggle under ETA and the local Peace Movement's attempt to stop the killing that was most moving....especially where parallels were drawn to the similar movement in Ireland.Rounding it off was a fabulous Peace Chapel....circular like a Quaker Meeting Room...where they show a brilliant film explanation of the importance of the Peace Movement...accompanied by some great quotes such as ' 'The horizon of conflict should always be reconciliation' which made it a moving and thought-provoking experience; several visitors were clearly moved to tears and I'm not afraid to say I was one of them.Can't recommend it highly enough.....ps...for lunch, go to Etxarte Cafe Bar for brilliant Pintxos and beer in white china mugs
Wonderful museum giving a great incite into the events of 1938. Staff were very friendly and delighted to hear that we had travelled so far to visit their little town.
The exhibition is well put together and leads on to seriously question men's 'need,' to wage war on each other.The young woman working at the front counter was most helpful, providing, in good English, the suggested viewing order, as well as a well-written booklet in English. I am really glad I sought out Gernika, having first learned of it through my aviation interests.I wouldn't draw the same parallel with Gernika and the Australian aboriginal peoples that I saw in an audio-visual presentation, however.If one is in the region, I'd certainly recommend visiting the Peace Museum.
I cannot express in words adequately the affect the basque room had on me. I wish everybody had a chance to visit this museum and reflect on the message being sent out. When our grandchildren are a little older I will be taking them to help them understand better the word of peace. I wish every politician could be made to visit prior to taking up their post.
excellent and very infomative, the basque room was very good and and had a twist at the end, sad history, so glad that is in the past