For those of you who may be lucky enough to get to visit the Basque Country sometime, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite places with you.

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Chateau-Observatory Abbadia, Hendaia. Photo by Bouba, via Wikimedia Commons

The Chateau-Observatory Abbadia is an enchanting castle-like building just outside the town of Hendaia (Hendaye). It was built between 1864 and 1884 for Antoine Abbadie Thompson (1810-1897), a half-Basque, half-Irish ethnologist, geographer, astronomer, traveler, polymath, Basque cultural activist, and all round Renaissance man.  While his global trekking through Asia and Africa constitutes a whole story in itself, with many souvenirs of these wanderings adorning the building, in the world of Basque Studies he is mostly known as a patron of the Basque language and culture in the mid and late nineteenth century.

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Antoine Abbadie Thompson (1810-1897), via Wikimedia Commons

For a short biography of Abbadie and a sample text of his writing, see Juan Madariaga Orbea’s epic study, spanning several centuries, of all those people who either raged against or rallied to the cause of the Basque language and its culture: Anthology of Apologists and Detractors of the Basque Language.