Bilbao (San Mames) Stadium or ‘la cathedral’ for football believers

Today the importance of sport, especially football, is growing significantly. Along with the other famous teams, Athletic Bilbao has its own particularities and power place. According to the last point, Sam Mames stadium is the home and the real home front for Basque FC. Many locals call it not just ‘the stadium’, but ‘la cathedral’ (‘the church’), but why? Let’s try to figure it out together.

Bilbao Stadium – the saint place for football fans

Actually, there are many versions, why inhabitants of Bilbao call the arena this way. Some of them explain that football is not just a leisure time occupation or hobby for them, but a real religion, that’s why they prefer considering the home of their favorite football club exactly ‘la cathedral’. The others insist that nothing special can be found in such a byname – not far from the place where San Mames is placed the so-called church takes place. So that the locals simplify the state of things.

However, if you will try to dig into the case more deeply, the real and even intriguing truth will be found. Indeed, the legend says that the stadium is named after the saint Mames, who was born around 259 in Caesarea Cappadocia, in a family imprisoned for being Christian. The saint was orphaned from an early age, but then, luckily, was cared for by a wealthy noblewoman. After her death all the estate and possessions was ownershipped by the saint. From then on, Mames became known for his charity, as he gave goods to the poor and devoted his life to shepherding and loneliness. Several rulers tried to force him to renounce his faith, subjecting him to all kinds of torture. It’s believed that he was even freed by an angel and was respected by a group of lions that he managed to tame. Since then, the Cappadocians encouraged devotion to their compatriot, and the places dedicated to him began to spread all over the world.

The municipality of Bilbao became one of these hotspots. In 1447 a chapel of Saint Mames appeared on a hill near the mouth of the Bilbao River. Then a Franciscan monastery and the current asylum Santa Casa Misericordia or San Mames, where his remains lie till today, were built. In 1913, the symbolic Bilbao football stadium was opened next to the orphanage, so that it started to be called after him.

Will this particularity help Athletic Bilbao FC to win?

Nobody can know for sure, but the main thing is to believe. Did you like the story? Was it useful for you? As a fan website, we would like to broaden your horizons and astonish with new interesting articles.