Euskal Itsas Museoa

Elkano. La Primera Vuelta al Mundo


From November 27, 2019 to May 31, 2020

The merit of having made the first round the world has been attributed to different historical figures. There are three main candidates: Francis Drake, Fernando de Magallanes and Juan Sebastián de Elcano. For the first time, this exhibition reveals the transcendental role of Elcano and the Basque contribution to the First Tour of the World (1519-1522), one of the great events in the history of mankind.

500 years ago Juan Sebastián de Elcano's expedition was the first to go around the world. Nao Victoria, commanded by the Guipuzcoan, was the only survivor of the 5 who left in search of a new route to the Moluccas, source of the most precious spices. This great feat was made possible thanks to the confluence of nautical knowledge and naval technology of the Basque Country that, from a century earlier, dominated the main sea routes of western Europe. The exhibition “Elkano. The First Voyage Around the World” claims that the first circumnavigation was possible thanks to Elcano's initiative and its nautical knowledge.

The exhibition makes a review of this important event from a different perspective, thanks to the research carried out by the director of the Xabier Alberdi museum and the resources used and created for this exhibition (interactive audiovisuals, among others).

"Elkano. The First Voyage Around the World” pays special attention to the following aspects:

  • the historical context and the story of the trip.
  • the organization of the expedition highlighting the wide participation of Basques with their own names: administrators, shipowners, merchants and navigators.
  • Elcano's legacy, both scientific and heritage.

These themes are illustrated by works and pieces from Gordailua, which belong to the collections of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the San Telmo Museum: the oils of Ignacio de Zuloaga, Elías Salaverría and Pablo Uranga commissioned 100 years ago by the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa on the occasion of the IV Centenary. Elías Salaverría's painting "The Elcano Offering" is shown to the public in all its splendor after the restoration process undertaken for this exhibition recently by specialists at the Gordailua facilities.

In addition to works of art, in the sample you can see various objects such as those that 500 years ago embarked on the expedition: weapons, work tools, kitchen utensils, musical instruments, fishing gear ...

Another of the outstanding pieces is the votive table of 1475 from the Parish of Zumaia and that constitutes a first order work to know how the naos of that time were. Other lending institutions are Getariako Udala, the Historical Archive of Euskadi and the General Archive of Gipuzkoa.

A live exhibition

The exhibition goes beyond the objects and works exhibited, it is a living exhibition that is accompanied by a varied program in very different formats to spread different topics that have evoked us to study the figure of Elcano: astrology, gastronomy, adventure and, in turn, open the museum to all kinds of audiences.

The exhibition program will host different initiatives every month: guided, themed and theatrical visits; open meetings with specialists to promote reflection on various issues related to the expedition (astronomy, cartography, navigation, music ...); family workshops; talks and dialogues with "Elkanos of the 21st century" ... In the latter, people will talk with people who have gone around the world, who have managed to open new routes or achieve goals so far never achieved as the traveler, writer and mountaineer Spanish Julio Villar, climbers and climbers Brothers Pou or navigator Ane Miren Miralles.

Family Museum

With the aim of bringing families closer to the museum, around the exhibition “Elkano. The First Voyage Around the World” will be organized from December to May, various family workshops to be held on certain Saturday afternoons.

In addition, the free visit adapts to the little ones, visitors from 6 to 12 years old will have at their disposal a free notebook to complete during the visit to the exhibition.



Tuesday to Saturday:
10:00 - 14:00 and 16:00 - 19:00

Sundays and public holidays:
11:00 - 14:00
16.00 - 19.00 (from 15th of june to 15th of september)

December 24 and 31:
10:00 - 14:00

Closed on Mondays. Closed January 1, 6 and 20, and December 25.

Ticket prices, groups, how to arrive...