Elko Basque Culture

Elko’s Basque culture stands as a shining example of a people who’ve kept the traditions of their homeland alive while assimilating into a new country. Learn about Elko’s Basque history here.

basque culture
Basque Culture

Elko is home to a rich diversity of cultures, including the Basque.

What is The Basque Culture?

With its roots in Northwestern Europe, the Basque culture of Elko and the West is well-preserved, thanks to festivals and community organizations dedicated to keeping it alive in the 21st Century.

Throughout the year, visitors to Elko can experience the sights, sounds — and perhaps most importantly — the flavors of Basque life at the National Basque Festival and Basque restaurants around town. Visitors can also spot Basque tree carvings, also known as arborglyphs, in wilderness areas around Elko County.

Learn more about the origins of the Basque people, how they came to Nevada and how they’ve made a significant cultural impact on the West.

Basque History

Originating in the landlocked parts of France and Spain formerly known as the Kingdom of Navarre, the Basque people may best be known for their recent history of sheep herding and ranching in the American West.

At the start of the 1840s Gold Rush, Basque settlers made their way to places like Nevada and Idaho, where they sought their fortunes in the many gold and silver mines that populated the region. Some arrived by traveling west across the land, others made their way north from Central America, where the promise of riches hadn’t quite panned out. Once here, the Basque quickly established themselves as vital parts of the community, tending to sheep and working the often-difficult land to eke out a living.

Over the years, Basque culture has become an integral part of the Western experience, with communities thriving around Elko, Reno, Boise and Salt Lake City. Today, visitors to Elko can get a real taste of Basque culture at any of the town’s Basque restaurants and at the National Basque Festival, held each summer in Elko.

National Basque Festival

Hosted by the Elko Euzkaldunak Club each Fourth of July weekend, the National Basque Festival is the West’s premier event for celebrating Basque culture. Athletic competitions, dances, music, traditional dress and plenty to eat help make this a popular event that draws Basque communities from across the West.

Basque Restaurants in Elko, NV

Basque culture is alive and well at these area Basque eateries featuring lamb stews, sweetbreads, chorizo and other pintxos (tapas). Try a Picon Punch cocktail or sparkling cider for the full experience.

elko star hotel

Basque family-style dining in a friendly environment. Features a bar and Basque-inspired dishes.

toki ona basque food

Basque restaurant with excellent table service and always fresh food.

ogi deli basque restaurant

Ogi Deli specializes in making fresh, homemade, Basque, and American sandwiches and more.