The Oma forest was created between 1982 and 1985. It is located in the Urdabai Biosphere Reserve, in the town of Cortézubi (Vizcaya.) This grove consists of a group of trees artistically modified by the sculptor and painter Agustín Ibarrola, whose house is located near the work.
The artist’s original intention was to create an animated forest that would allow the relationship between nature and human presence to be glimpsed. To do so, he captured this vision in the trees by creating an interactive work of art.
He played with the colors, the point of view, the depth and of course this natural support to reach the desired goal. The interpretation consists precisely in being part of this game that the author proposes to us and to cross the forest observing from different points of view. In this way you will be able to distinguish different forms and animals and that exchange depending on the perspective. These representations correspond to the Palaeolithic representations of the Cave of Santimamiñe, this one near the forest.
This work of art is part of the current of contemporary art Land Art or Earth Art. This artistic movement involves a close relationship between landscape and the work. Nature is the material, the artist an interventor. The work must remain in its natural environment and therefore deteriorate over time. It is for this reason that many works belonging to this style only remain in the memory or photographically.
However, the work of Agustín Ibarrola is being restored by the Diputación Foral de Vizcaya. The aim is to improve the treatment of cultural property located in natural environments. In order to do this, both the materials used in this work and the trees themselves are being studied. The latter are being censored and catalogued for later control.
The forest is located 3 kilometers from the Lezika-Basondo car park. You can park your car here and start the tour. It will take you approximately 40 minutes to get to the forest. From here you can decide to follow the path and reach the Oma Valley or walk back to Basondo. This circular route takes approximately 2 hours and consists of 7 kilometers. You can count on taking your entire family, including the youngest ones, as this is a minimal difficulty course. In addition the amplitude, tranquility and natural environment that compose this route are the ideal ones for the rest in company and of course, to do something of senderismo.
Cave of Satimamiñe
Declared a World Heritage Site in 2008, this site is one of the most important in the whole of Vizcaya. It is 14,000 years old, that is, it dates from the Magdalenian period of the Upper Palaeolithic. Here you will find almost 50 cave paintings of great variety. As is customary, the representations respond to animal and other abstract figures such as bison, horses, deer, goats and bears.
As if this wonderful antiquity were not enough, you will also see stalactites and stalagmites in the cavern. The cave faces south-east and is distributed as follows: It has an entrance that gives way to a hall with light from the outside, also a cave sanctuary, a room and a room where most of the figures were manifested. The cave has been closed since 2004 due to new investigations. They have a team of 20 people working on a new excavation. This is part of a revaluation project promoted by the Vizcaya Provincial Council. The aim of this research is to date precisely the evolution of the paintings.
Since November 12, 2018 the Oma Forest has been closed so that the restoration can be carried out successfully. In addition, access to the forest is being improved.