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Boise’s Basque Block a place of celebration, and heritage in heart of downtown

This story is an excerpt from our new book Boise: City of Trees, available for purchase NOW! Order here.

Aside from the Basque County, a region on the border of Spain and France, Boise has the largest Basque population with more than 16,000 people. Starting in the 1800s through the end of the Franco era in Spain, many Basque emigres and immigrants came to Idaho.

When they arrived in Boise, they stayed at boarding houses in downtown Boise, some of which were located on what is today known as the Basque Block. Located downtown between Capitol Boulevard and 6th Street on Grove Street, the block is a place for the Basque community to gather and celebrate its heritage.

“Today, these transnational ties are stronger, which has profoundly influenced the creation of the Basque Block,”  Gretchen Louise Hill wrote in a 2012 academic article.  “The Basques strive to maintain their heritage landscapes to retain their cultural identity and educate present and future generations about their unique legacy.”

On the block, you’ll find the Basque Center, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Bar Gernika, Leku Ona restaurant, and the Basque Market. Also on the block is the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberruaga boarding house, which was built in 1864. It is Boise’s oldest surviving brick building. Another boarding house is the Anduiza which has a large indoor frontón court. 

Although there are celebrations held all year long on the block, the most attended event happens each summer, known as San Inazio Festival. Traditional Basque events, plus servings of kalimotxo (a drink of wine and cola) and chorizos, bring a lively vibe to a mid-summer weekend. And every five years, thousands of people come to Boise for one of the largest Basque festivals in the world called Jaialdi. Here families and friends gather to dance and sing, eat and celebrate the Basque culture.

Pre-order Boise: City of Trees here.

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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