This technical advance enabled the farmhouses to gain height without their stability being adversely affected. Timber, so widespread in the buildings of the Middle Ages and at the start of the Early Modern Period, gradually gave way to stone.
This made it possible to gradually occupy the upper floor as living quarters halfway through the 18th century onwards. As time passed, some of these arches were walled up to be able to extend the quarters.
Zumarraga is shaped as an urban centre
At the end of the 15th century, the inhabitants of Zumarraga began to occupy new spaces. The population had grown and new resources for living were sought. That way a new population centre, the urban one, was to take shape.
Zumarraga had four rural neighbourhoods: They were called Soraitz, Aranburu, Leturia and Elgarresta. Each of them was, in turn, made up of scattered farmhouses. La Antigua was in Soraitz.
The Eizaga neighbourhood was halfway between La Antigua and the river Urola. Unlike the other neighbourhoods, it consisted of a set of houses grouped together.
The urban centre was given the name of street, a name used for centres that were located around a road.
The urban centre was located between the neighbourhood of Eizaga and the Urola river and included today’s streets of Kalebarren, parallel with the river, Piedad, Bidezar and Elizkale.
According to a report made on 12 April 1543, the inhabitants of Zumarraga had 220 houses and caserías, the name given to the farmhouses.
Zumarraga rebuilt its bridges and roads
Various streams that flowed into the Urola river criss-crossed the town of Zumarraga. Bridges that were originally wooden ones were built so that the streams could be crossed.
These bridges fell into continual disrepair owing to the climate and the constant coming and going of people and goods. To ensure they could be crossed they were built of stone.
Documents of that time confirm the existence of six bridges: those of Zubiaurre, Bustinza, Huegón, Echeberria de Lizarazu, Zubiberria and Matxain.
As time passed the means of transport changed. The animals on which the goods were loaded were replaced by carts of increasing complexity.
Bridges and roads had to adapt to the changes in transport. In the 18th century, it was necessary to establish the so-called the Royal Coach Road, a road suited to four-wheeled carts and carriages that departed from Madrid and headed to Irun.
On its way through Zumarraga this road led to the levelling of land and the widening of the Thoroughfares, measures necessary to enable the new carriages to travel along them.