EXPERIENCE BASQUE CULTURE IN THE U.S.
Many original Basque immigrants came to Idaho in the late 1800s from Basque Country (a region that straddles parts of northern Spain and southwestern France) to work as sheepherders. Now, Boise has one of the largest concentrations of Basque populations per capita in the U.S.
Visit the Basque Block.
In Downtown Boise’s historic district, the Basque Block is home to the rich history and heritage of the Basque people. This community is the largest in the country, preserving the traditions and flavors of the inhabitants from Europe’s Bay of Biscay.
The Block features the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, restaurants with an authentic taste of Basque culture, the Basque Market (full of wines and food from the Basque Country and Spain) and the Basque Center, which is home to community events and Basque dancing and gatherings.
Check out the Basque Museum
The Basque Museum and Cultural Center and the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga House, known to be the oldest surviving brick building in Boise, dating back to 1864, are open to tours for individuals and groups. Discover the stories and culture of the immigrants who traveled to Idaho in the 1800s.
Host an Event
Just one block from City Hall, the Basque Center can be reserved for private events throughout the year. The Basque Block can be reserved for events through the Basque Market. The Oinkari Basque Dancers—a traditional Basque folk dance troupe characterized by a flurry of flying feet, snapping fingers and lively cheers—frequently perform to ancient music and can be requested for educational performances as well. Visit their website for more information about performances.
Basque Events in Boise
Boise’s Basque Block is the backdrop for the celebration of the Basque culture. In July, there’s the San Inazio Festival, honoring the patron saint of the Basques. Thousands fill the Basque Block to watch athletes perform in Basque sporting events and see local musicians and dancers perform. Jaialdi, The World’s Largest Celebration of Basque Culture is also held in Boise every five years. Jaialdi translates to “Big Festival” and brings visitors from all over the world, with the next celebration taking place in 2025. Unconfirmed reports claim that it takes that long to recover from the celebratory dancing, musical performances, sporting events, and authentic food and drink.