Astelena fronton

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Astelena
Catedral de la pelota a mano (Hand-Pelota Cathedral)
Eibar Isasi Astelena.jpg
Full name Frontón Astelena
Location 11 Isasi Street, Eibar, Guipúzcoa province, Basque Country, Spain
Coordinates 43°11′02.04″N 2°28′31.66″W / 43.1839000°N 2.4754611°W / 43.1839000; -2.4754611Coordinates: 43°11′02.04″N 2°28′31.66″W / 43.1839000°N 2.4754611°W / 43.1839000; -2.4754611
Owner Eibar municipality
Capacity 1250
Field size 41m (Length); 11m (wide); 9m (height)
Construction
Broke ground 1903
Opened June 24, 1904
Renovated 1969-2006-2007
Architect José Gurruchaga (original), Cosme de Uriarte (1969),
General contractor Francisco Irusta
Main contractors Josefa Echeverría & sons

The Astelena fronton, nicknamed Cathedral of Basque Hand-pelota, is a fronton located in Eibar, Guipúzcoa province, Basque Country, Spain.

Astelena is a short 41 meter-long fronton where hand-pelota and pala modalities are played. The field has a width of 11 m, and the wall a height of 9 m.

It was inaugurated in 1904 and has been renovated on several occasions, most recently between 2006 and 2007,[1] to meet current needs. The finals of the 1st Hand-Pelota singles championship (1946, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1966, 1973 and 1999) and the Cuatro y Medio Euskadi Championship final of 1992 were played at the Astelena.

History[edit]

The fronton was inaugurated in 1904 on the Feast of St John, the patron saint of Eibar, with a game to 22 points between local players Tacolo and Cantabria. In October of the same year, Francisco Irusta, a local resident, presented a project to cover the open-air fronton, which was signed and approved by José Gurruchaga, the municipal architect.

Since the fronton was the only public closed space in Eibar, most important events of the town were celebrated there, including boxing matches, dances, cockfights, festivals, and dinners honouring specific people.

In 1906 it was purchased by C. Aguirre, F. Bascaran, I. Irusta, M. Echeverría, M. Gómez, I. Vildósola, A. Eguiguren and B. Gárate.

The fronton suffered several damage during the Civil War and was used as a barracks and dining place until 1940, when the 1st Hand-Pelota singles championship was established. On November 20, 1955, the 50th anniversary of the fronton was celebrated despite both the day and year being wrong.

On December 28, 1969, the fronton was closed for renovations supervised by Cosme de Uriarte. The exterior appearance of the building was not changed, but door gate 9, which gave spectators direct access to the field, was replaced by a new door, and the window in the left wall was replaced. The re-inauguration took place on October 8, 1972, in a game played between Retegi I and Tapia. Luciano Gastañagatorre and Alberto Vidarte were the facility owners. The renovated fronton had a capacity of 1300 spectators.

On December 28, 1997 the fronton was closed again for renovations, after two years of being owned by Asegarce.

In 1998 Aspe purchased the facilities, which were reopened with a game between Goñi I and Elkoro.

In 2004 a commemorative anniversary book was published.

On March 1, 2005, the fronton was again closed due to a disagreement among the owners (60% the Gaztañatorre family of Bilbao and 40% the Vidarte family of Eibar).

On 2006, it was purchased for 3 million by the municipality of Eibar and again closed for major renovations during 2006-2007, finally reopening on May 20, 2007.

Name[edit]

In a publicity move, the fronton was named Astelena, which means Monday in Euskara, because on Mondays, being the first day after the weekend, workers were inefficient and used to attend pelota games instead of working a full day.

Championships[edit]

1st Hand-Pelota singles championship[edit]

Year Champion Subchampion Score
1946 Atano III Akarregi 22-16
1950 Gallastegui Akarregi 22-15
1954 Soroa II Barberito I 22-04
1955 Arriaran II Soroa II 22-13
1956 Arriaran II Garcia Ariño I 22-13
1960 Azkarate Ogueta 22-19
1966 Atano X Azkarate 22-13
1973 Retegi I Tapia I 22-20
1999 Eugi Elkoro 22-11

Cuatro y Medio Euskadi Championship[edit]

Year Champion Subchampion Score
1992 Eugi Errasti 22-12

References[edit]