If we have to highlight one of the most emblematic places in the capital of Gipuzkoa, the San Sebastian Town Hall is probably one of these places. It is located next to Alderdi Eder Park, the most beautiful part of the city, and La Concha beach.
It is one of our obligatory stops on our free tours in San Sebastian, which will guide you on your visit to the city and show you the most important places, their history and curiosities.
History of Donostia City Hall
The history of the Donostia City Hall was built several decades ago and has many details and peculiarities, we will tell you about them.
Let’s start with its beginnings, at the end of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century, the San Sebastian Town Hall was considered one of the biggest casinos in Spain. It brought together all kinds of personalities with the greatest power and wealth from both the Iberian peninsula and the rest of Europe. Here, mainly the oligarchs, gambled their estates or belongings with other people of the same hierarchical level.
But, this Gran Casino, as it was called, would cease to function as a gambling hall due to the illegalisation of gambling during the first years of the 1920s, prohibited by General Primo de Rivera.
Later, in 1947, this Gran Casino, inspired by the classic Monte Carlo casino for its construction, became the Town Hall of San Sebastián,
How the Belle Époque affected San Sebastian Town Hall
During the reign of Alfonso XII, his wife and queen, María Cristina, turned San Sebastián into a leading tourist destination in Spain.
During this period, the city converged with a French decoration reflected in its buildings.
During this period, all the city walls were demolished to make the city bigger and allow it to grow. This is why the town hall of San Sebastian was built in this style.
In addition to this building, during the Belle Époque other emblematic buildings of the city were built, such as the Hotel María Cristina, the Catedral del Buen Pastor or the Victoria Eugenia theatre, among others.
All these buildings attracted the attention of tourists who saw San Sebastian as a unique place, one of the most beautiful cities to visit, and it began to gain prestige, becoming known as “The Little Paris”.
The Town Hall of Donostia, also suffered the damages of the Spanish Civil War, that nowadays, if you look at the building, you can see some bullet holes.
Where to find the Donostia Town Hall
It is located next to the Real Club Náutico, with the old part of the city behind it and Alderdi Eder Park in front of it.
As it was used as a casino, many historical figures have passed through the Donostia Town Hall.
From Free Walking Tour San Sebastian, we invite you to come and see one of the most characteristic buildings in the city.