Between 1220 and 1370 Counts of Toulouse and the English King Edward I ordered the construction of 300 fortified cities (bastide) in southwestern France.
Built according to one plan, they concentrated the entire local population at one point, allowing you to maximize yields from cultivated land. A mutually beneficial agreement between the founder of the fortress city and the owner of the surrounding lands protected the rights of each of them. The fortress city was ruled by a bailiff who represented the king.
Unlike most medieval towns with narrow winding streets, the fortified cities of astides) were built according to a rigid scheme and look like twin brothers. Depending on the landscape, they are based on a rectangular or square plan; they are divided into straight Streets, which intersect at right angles, forming a kind of chessboard. The houses, built on roughly equal plots of land, were long and narrow; behind or in front of them were patios or small gardens.
The Basques are extremely proud of their cultural heritage and ancient language, the origin of which remains obscure. You can experience the uniqueness of the Basque traditions by visiting the many local festivals, such as Bayonne, with dances, songs, music and parades, the participants of which are dressed in traditional red and white costumes. Tournaments and other sporting events are held in the Basque Country, including games of pelota, or the Basque ball, and racing in courts that look like ancient whaleboats.
The Basque flag (ikurrina) was created at the end of the 19th century. in Euskadi (Basque Country). On its red field, symbolizing the Basque people, there is a white cross (a symbol of Christianity) superimposed on the green cross of St. Andrew (symbol of the law). Along with the Basque language (euskara), the flag testifies to the national pride of the Basques.