Stop n°6 - The lake

Evocation de la mythologie et des racines du peuple basque

VIDEO : Evocation of the mythology and roots of the Basque people

I brought you up to here to show you my house, or should I say our house. We are many living here, behind these rocks or this water mirror… in a world which is the reverse of yours.
We look at you, but you cannot see us because we are shaped by dreams: we are beings born from the imagination of the Basque mythology. The stories passed down for generations often say our refuges are located deep within the bowels of the Earth.
Among us you find "MARI" or " the lady ", but also "HERENSUGUE" the big snake-dragon or the "LAMINAK", small spring spirits with duck legs, and many others… In the Basque Country, one often says: “Izena duen guztia omen da”, “all that has a name exists”.

So, do we really exist?

In this country, every hidden recess is full of our mysterious presence. The outside world, which you are going to rediscover, is not only a living environment. The Basque people find there the imprints and scars left by their ancestors.
So the houses, the daily gestures, the rites and especially the language make up a mysterious but coherent whole, a true harmony, a way of being which reveals the soul of the Basque people and underlines its specificity.

Most linguists agree that the languages of Europe have Indo-European roots, except for the Basque language, the Euskera.
It is said to be the oldest language of our continent.

The sound of the words, the conjugation and the structure of the sentences are unique.
For example the names of today cutting instruments are still the same as they were in the past: aizkora (ax), aitzurra, (hoe, pickaxe), aihotza (billhook), aiztoa (knife), aixturrak (scissors). These words were pronounced in this cave eight thousand years ago, and even before.

All those words share the root "aitz" (rock, stone). That way of speaking sends us back to the Neolithic when, for the first time, stone became so important.
This suggests that the Basque language probably appeared during the Neolithic. Yet, it still exists and keeps evolving.

You are about to emerge from the shadows into the sunlight, to leave this mysterious cave to go back to familiar landscapes.
But this contrast is only an appearance.
Look at the traditional house: the "Etxe" in Basque, which is the expression of the people’s fundamental identity. The house also tells the attachment to their land and community.

Look at the mountains around. Many signs prove that they are "inhabited", that they have a soul.

Today, more than ever, it is necessary to protect this natural environment, so fragile, and its territory. That is why the Lezea cave is included in the Natura 2000 project in order to protect its biodiversity.

You too have a history and roots. Look deep inside yourself to find those values upon which your life is built.