Alava and its surroundings
Alava is a province and a historical area in the Autonomous Basque Country Region. Its capital city is Vitoria, which is also the capital of the autonomous region. With a surface area of 2,963 km² and 315,525 inhabitants, it is the largest and least-densely populated out of the three Basque provinces.
The area is divided into seven cuadrillas (districts into which the province is divided. These are historical institutions with the main task of attending to and managing inhabitants' needs, especially in rural areas): Cuadrilla de Añana, Cuadrilla de Ayala, Cuadrilla de Campezo-Montaña Alavesa, Cuadrilla de Laguardia-Rioja Alavesa, Cuadrilla de Salvatierra, Cuadrilla de Vitoria (shares duties with Vitoria Town Hall),Cuadrilla de Zuya.
Alava province, excluding its capital city, Vitoria, has a total population of around 80,000 inhabitants. There is a clear case of macrocefalia (concentration of economic, political and administration powers) because more than 70% of the province's total population live in Vitoria capital city. The macrocefalia phenomenon in Alava is due to few towns of a substantial size, with the exception of Ayala Valley which has cities like Llodio and Amurrio both with more than 10,000 inhabitants. The majority of the population lives in the central region of Alava, due to the fact that Vitoria is in this area of the province, which is surrounded by more or less large towns with around 250,000 inhabitants. The municipalities of Zuya, Cigoitia, Legutiano and Arrazua-Ubarrundia border the capital city to the north and the towns of Salvatierra, Alegría de Alava and Iruña de Oca, on the Madrid-Irún railway line, which link it with the central area of Vitoria, are the most important in this central area.