At 102 km2, Zigoitia has the second largest surface area of any municipality in the district or "Cuadrilla". It has also been one of the fastest growing area over the last ten years. Much of its territory lies within the Gorbeia massif, with the highest peaks being Arroriano (1343 m) and Pagazuri (1181 m) on the border with the municipality of Zuia, and Oketa (1031 m), which is separated from the rest of Gorbeia by the ravine carved out by the river Zubialde. At the headwaters of this river lies one of the spectacular beauty spots in the area, and indeed anywhere in the Basque Country: the caves of Mairuelegorreta, in which the chalky substrate has been sculpted by erosion into curious forms (lapiazes, caves, craters, etc.) which extend from the foothills of Gorbeia to the Arrato hills.
In this latter area, the slopes leading up to the 888 m peak of Armikelo are populated by a magnificent holm-oak wood which evidences the transition towards a Mediterranean style climate which takes place towards the south of this area. This transition is further confirmed by large expanses of junipers and gall oaks in the areas leading down to the plains of Araba.
In the north of the area large plantations of beech trees predominate around Oketa, Arroriano and Pagazuri. There are clear signs of forestry and cattle-farming in the heather downs and conifer woods of Oketa, and a large area of meadow land stretches from the Legutiano dam to Ondategi in the lower reaches of the Undebe and Zubialde river valleys (where it reaches the plains the Zubialde changes its name and is known as the river Zaya).
As in the municipality of Zuia, the cattle farming which was once so widespread in the area has declined considerably in recent years. Migration from countryside to towns, population growth and the upturn in the general economy as a result of greater demand for leisure, recreation, housing and industrial land made the service sector the mainstay of the present local economy.
Industrial companies are located on the Etxabarri-Ibiña industrial estate by the N-622 Vitoria-Bilbao dual carriageway. Just as services have come to dominate the economy of the municipality, so the boom in tourism and the increase in land made available for industrial and residential development (in Apodaka, Etxabarri-Ibiña, Murua, etc.) have led to a big increase in the local population and the appearance of new economic activities in the hotel, restaurant and leisure trades, etc., changing the socio-economic profile of the population.
Unlike the surrounding municipalities, Zigoitia has no single chief town where services are concentrated; rather they are scattered throughout all the villages in the municipality, with restaurants in Apodaka, Acosta, Gopegi and Etxabarri-Ibiña, rural guest-houses in Acosta, Murua, Gopegi and Zaitegi. The municipality's convenient location and easy access have allowed a scheme to be passed to build a major shopping and leisure mall with cinemas, parks, etc. in Etxabarri-Ibiña by 2001. This is further confirmation of the service-oriented economy of these municipalities.
*Bordering on the municipalities of Zuia, Legutiano, Arrazua-Ubarrundia and Vitoria-Gasteiz in Araba, and on Ubide and Zeanuri in Bizkaia.
*By road: N-622 Vitoria-Altube dual carriageway; N-240 trunk road (Vitoria-Bilbao via Barazar)
Population (2006): 1417 people
*Acosta/Okizta, Apodaka, Berrikano, Buruaga, Eribe, Etxabarri-Ibiña, Etxaguen, Gopegi, Larrinoa, Letona, Manurga, Mendarózqueta, Murua, Olano, Ondategi (head of the municipality), Zaitegi, Zestafe.
*Basque speakers -24%; quasi-Basque speakers -22%; Spanish speakers -54%
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