The Jentil, old Basque giants

The Basque Country is marked with ruins of ancient times. From castles to towers, going through mines, megalithic monuments or bridges that avoid rivers or abyss. Nowadays we know that the ones building these elements were neolithic cultures, the romans, the muslims and medieval christians. But for generations our ancestors attributed them to the “Gentiles” or “Jentilak” in Basque.

These were a race of pagan giants that ruled the mountains of the Basque Country in times before Christianity. These creatures lived in caves and mastered arts such as agriculture and mill building; they also had colossal strength that allowed them to throw gigantic stones from mountain to mountain.

Gentil levantando una piedra

And despite all their wisdom and energy they ended up disappearing when Christianity arrived in Euskadi. Terrified by Jesus’ arrival, who they called “kixmi” (that is, monkey), they understood that their age had come to an end. Some of them threw themselves down precipices, but the majority chose hiding underground, where they became separated.

But don’t get sad because of this loss, even today one of these giants still lives among us, the Olentzero.