Peru-Harri is the museum that Iñaki Perurena
has dedicated to stone in a mountain setting. Located 2 kilometres from the town of Leitza
on the NA-1700 road to Uitzi, a large 'thumb' indicates the crossroads to the museum. It is a place in the Pyrenees
where stones, myths, challenges and history come together; access is through a limestone arch.
It is a different type of museum, in which Iñaki and his son Inaxio relate history and culture through stone. On one hand, there are large outdoor sculptures such as the giant harrijasotzaile
(stone lifter), 8 metres high and weighing 40 tonnes. Then there is a three-storey stone and wood farmhouse containing photographs, clothes worn in stone lifting competitions, memorabilia and - above all - stones. Many stones
of different shapes, sizes and weights - and each one tells its own story.
The best way to visit is with a guide, but not any old guide... in this museum the Perurena
family, its owners and creators, will also be your hosts.
is a versatile sportsman who has dedicated most of his life to stones. The famous harrijasotzaile
has revolutionised this rural sport, giving it a high profile in the media, innovating and breaking records. Now he has created this singular place combining stones and Man: when he works it, moulds it, throws it, turns it into a sport...A taste of the visit
Ground floor of the Gorrittenea family farmhouse. Stone and wood make up an open space, as it if it were a village square. In the centre, stones of different shapes and weights for rural sports exhibitions. On the walls, photos of how the project started and two plasma screens showing images of stone lifting competitions to the sound of music by the well-known Basque singer-songwriter Benito Lertxundi.
Exterior. A variety of utensils show what is involved in large stone throwing from the perspective of physics. There is a pulley, so anyone can lift a stone of more than 100 kilos; a 4,600-kilo stone that Iñaki moves without any effort, and even a catapult capable of throwing a stone at a distance of more than 100 metres. The practical examples will amaze you.
Then, there is a walk through this wooded area, full of legends and paths, where striking sculptures are on display. Chiselled by Iñaki and Inaxio, they are of different sizes; some look like they are made of tin due to the paint that covers them, but they are made of concrete, iron and blocks of stone. Megalithic monuments: a raised arm throwing a stone, recalling Roland of the legend; a big hand, because everything is artisanal here; the giant harrijasotzaile with a stone around his neck (a movement characteristic of Iñaki) that represents physical strength; Marshal Pedro I between the devil and the deep blue sea, representing mental strength, and a gaint txapela (beret). This typical dress item is awarded to the txapeldunak (champions) in competitions. It is also a tribute to Iñaki's father.
Back in the caserío, on the First Floor: Greek mythology even had references to stone lifting; the quarrymen competed to see who could lift most stones in a certain time. It became a sport with rules in the 19th century, and has evolved a lot since then. From the first irregular stone until 1976, the year in which Iñaki revolutionised the technique. On this floor you can see this evolution: family photos, events, competitions, Iñaki as an actor bertsolari (verse reciter), memorabilia, snips of history, curiosities and stones... above all, many stones.
A striking thing among all the artefacts is an axe tip from the Neolithic age thousands of years ago. They found it while making the outdoor sculptures, and it now occupies the centre of the room and looks upwards (which frightens evil spirits away). Another protective stone - according to the tradition in Nepal - prays for people who pass in front of it "on pani padme jun".
Another of the treasures you will find on this floor are Inaxio's clothes when he made his debut at the age of 5; aggregate stones that are heavy despite their size; a sign that says "Palabra de Basco" (a Basque's word) that recalls the fact that this expression is still used in South America to describe someone who keeps his word.
In the attic or ganbara a tribute is paid to rural sports that emerged from the fields; day sports such as aizkolaris (stone lifters) and nocturnal sports devised by smugglers. Their sport is a race with sacks on the back. This floor is also full of sound: cowbells, scythes being sharpened, pulleys working...
Coloured stone high up on a mountain that answers with an echo, an old limestone quarry and a cave frequented by heathens complete the route through this magic park of stone.