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Guide to Zaragoza

Guide to Zaragoza

The province of Zaragoza is part of the Aragonese AutonomousCommunity. It has borders with Huesca to the north, Teruel to the south, Cataloniato the east and Pamplona and La Rioja to the west. It is located in the northof Spain 200 metres above sea level. The landscape here is flat and quite aridexcept for the river valleys.

Traditionally an agricultural province,the main produce grown here are: cereals such as wheat and corn, beetroot andfruit. There are lots of vineyards too. In fact most industry in this provinceis related in some way or other to agriculture.

Zaragoza has both amediterranean and continental climate. It is very hot in the summer and very coldin winter. One notable feature is the 'cierzo' wind that blows principallyin the Ebro valley.

The Iberos, the Romans, the Arabs and Christiansall occupied these territories at some point in history, influencing and shapingthis province's architectural, cultural and artistic heritage. Above all the Mudejarculture had a great influence on this province. There are several routes to follow:

The Camino de Santiago Route: This is the part of the Camino whichgoes through Aragon. It is not a well used route because of it is quite difficultto follow. It passes through the northern part of the province from Huesca toNavarra. It passes through: Sangüesa, Castillo de Javier, Urdués deLerda, SOS del Rey Católico, Uncastillo, Recuesta, Artieda, Mianos, Martés,Puente La Reina.

The Mudéjar Route: This begins in Zaragoza, the capital of the province, (the Mudejar wall, the Alfajería Palace,San Pablo, Santa María Magdalena, San Miguel de los Navarros and San Gilchurches all have Mudejar towers ); Muel (Muwala árabe); Longares(church tower); Paniza (Nuestra Señorade los Angeles church tower); Daroca (Arabic castle); Calatayud ( Ayyub castle the Santa María Collegiate cloisters, San Pedrode los Franceses, San Andrés, Nuestra Señora de la Peña,Collegiate tomb); Magallón (church); Borja (Casa de las Conchas); Alberite de San Juan (various monuments)and Tarazona (episcopal city, episcopal palace, the ancient Cintoneighbourhood - the former Jewish quarter, la Magdalena church).

The Romanesque Route: This covers the whole province, you can visit castles,monasteries, convents and churches all in a Romanesque style built in the middleages.

The City of Zaragoza

Zaragoza was founded bythe Romans in 24 B.C. upon the ancient city of Salduie, which used to bean Ibero village. The Romans baptized it Caesaraugusta, in honourof César Augusto and this is where the name Zaragoza comes from. It usedto be a fortified city under the Romans.


Laterin 714, the city was taken over by the Muslims and was converted into the capitalof the high area of Al-Andalus.

In 1018 it became the capital of the first Kingdomof Taifas. In 1118 it was conquered by King Alfonso I of Aragon and convertedto Christianity. From that moment onwards Zaragoza became the capital of the Kingdomof Aragon.

Today Zaragoza has a population of 660,895 inhabitants. Itis a touristic city and also a business centre with many conferences taking placethere (University, Environmental, Educative, Technological...). It also has avery attractive cultural life which includes theatres, auditoriums and childrens'theatre...among other things.

The city's infrastructure and facilities increaseyear on year. The Official Tourism Office organizes visits to the city there isa 'Megabus' especially for children, the Talking Tours, guided tours in English,French and Italian, there is a nightbus tour as well as a tour which dramatizesmany important historical events. There are 7 Tourist Information Offices dottedthroughout the city. For further information call: 902 20 12 12.

Churchesin Zaragoza:

  • Nuestra Señora del PilarBasilica : Plaza del Pilar. This imposing building is a place of pilgrimage.It was built in the 16th century in a Baroque style. It has undergone alterationsin the 17th and 20th centuries. Things to look out for are: the altarpiece byDamiá Forment; frescos and paintings by Goya and Bayeu; the ornate stonepillar surrounded by flowers and silver with a statue of the virgin Mary on topin the Santa chapel; 11 tiled domes; the San Antonio de Padua chapel. Over thecenturies various architects contributed to the design of the building: FelipeSanchez, Herrera del Mozo and Ventura Rodríguez.
  • Salvador(La Seo) Cathedral : Plaza de la Seo. This is a mixture of Romanesque, Gothic,Mudejar, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassic styles. 12th century but later modifiedin the 18th century. It was built upon what used to be the Roman forum and animportant ancient mosque. It was the 1st Catholic Cathedral in the city. Thingsto look out for: the 15th century Gothic altarpiece by Pere Johan and Ans Pietd'Anso.
  • Santa Maria Magdalena: Plaza de la Magdalena. Tel:976 39 97 45. 14th century Mudejar, modified in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thingsto look out for: the tower and the apse; the altarpiece and works by JoséRamírez de Arellano and Damiá Forment.
  • The SantaEngracia Crypt: The entrance is on Calle Castellanos. It is locatedwithin the Santa Engracia church. It dates back to the 4th century A.D. duringthe Roman occupation of the city. The crypt and sarcophagus are early Christian.
  • Santa Engracia Monastery: Plaza Santa Engracia, 15th -16thcenturies Renaissance. It was built upon a former Christian - Roman cemetery.This is where the 2 marble sarcophagus which are now in show in the crypt werediscovered. All that remains of the cemetery is the entrance which was built byJuan II de Aragón and his son Fernando el Católico.
  • SanPablo: c/ San Pablo, 42. Mudejar, 14th, 15th and 19th centuries. Things tolook out for: the tower from both inside the church and outside; the central nave,the Tramontana door, the Santo Cristo in which the image of the Virgen del SantoPopulo is painted; the 1515 altarpiece by Damiá Forment.
  • SantaIsabel de Portugal or San Cayetano: Plaza de la Justicia, 1. Baroque, builtin the 17th century in memory of Isabel de Portugal. It has been declared a culturalmonument. Things to look out for: the altarpiece by Ramírez de Arellano;the interior is decorated in a churrigueresco style, the only one in this stylein the city.
  • San Gil Abad: c/ Don Jaime, 15. Mudejar Aragonese,14th century but altered in the 18th century. Things to look out for: the Mudejartower, the vestry (1776) decorated with paintings and frescos by Ramónand Manuel Bayeu.
  • San Miguel de los Navarros; c/ San Miguel,52. Romanesque with Mudejar alterations, 14th - 17th centuries. Things to lookout for the tower and apse; the Renaissance altarpiece by Damiá Forment.

Important Buildings in Zaragoza:

  • Roman Walls: Avenida Cesar Augusto. 2nd -3rd centuries A.D. Thereis a fortified tower followed by walls and a statue of César Augusto. Thesewere used a lot to defend the city during the Middle Ages.
  • TheJewish Baths: c/ Coso, 126-132. Mudejar, 13th century. They were located oppositethe 'Castillo de los Judíos' (The Jewish Castle) and the Jewish Quarter,now only a rectangular room remains with a simple arched roof.
  • TheDéan Arch: c/ del Déan, 5. This is a mixture of Gothic,Mudejar and Renaissance styles. It is an arched passage that links the Cathedralto the Dean's house.
  • The Post Office: Paseo de la Independencia,33. This was built in 1915 by Antonio Rubio, in a Neomudejar style.
  • TheTown Hall: Plaza del Pilar, 18, Tel: 976 72 11 00. Built in 1965 in a Renaissancestyle, it is decorated with sculptures by Pablo Serrano.
  • The Market:Plaza del Pilar, Tel: 976 39 72 39. It dates back to 1551 when the building, byJuan de Sariñena, was finished. It is a mixture of Gothic and Plateresquestyles. Things to look out for: the facade with its leaded glass windows and theinterior with its Aragonese columns and arched roof. The building is a culturalmonument. Nowadays it is used as an exhibition centre by the town hall.
  • The Episcopal Palace: Plaza de la Seo, 5. Neoclassic, completedin 1807.
  • The Aljafería Palace: c/ Diputados. Mudejar, Hispanomuslimdating back to the 11th and 12th centuries (although it has undergone multiplealterations since then). It was once used as a residence by the 'Reyes Católicos'(the Catholic Kings and Queens) and also as a prison during the Inquisition. Thingsto look out for: the walls, the San Martín patio, the Trovador fortifiedtower, the Santa Isabel patio, the Oratory, the Golden Room and the 'ReyesCatólicos' palace.
  • Lanuza Market: It has interestingArt Nouveau forged steel patterns.
  • The Fortea Fortified Tower:c/ Torrenueva, 25. Mudejar with a mixture of other styles. 15th century. It nowbelongs to the town hall.
  • La Zuda Fortified Tower: c/ GlorietaPío XII, Mudejar a mixture of other styles, 10th - 20th centuries (it hasbeen continuously altered). It is now used as a Tourist Information Centre.
  • Tarín House: Plaza de Santa Cruz, 19. Neoclassic, 18thcentury. This is the former headquarters of the Imperial Aragon Canal. Today itis used by the 'Cachirulo' Aragonese Society.
  • The Auditoriumand Congress Centre: c/ Eduardo Ibarra, Tel: 976 72 13 00. This was builtin 1994 by Manuel Perez Latorre. It is a contemporary building with modern facilities.Concerts, conferences, conventions, exhibitions and other cultural events alltake place here.
  • The Central Market: Avenida CésarAugusto. Built by Felix Navarro and modernized by Felix Magdalena in 1903. Itis located in the same place as the market place dating back to the 13th century.

Museums in Zaragoza:

  • TheCaesaraugusta Public Baths Museum: c/ San Juan and San Pedro, 1st centuryA.D. You can see pools with an arched ceilings, a hot spring and various statues...
  • The Caesaraugusta Forum Museum: Plaza de la Seo, 2. 1stcentury A.D. It consisted of the Augusto Market and the Tiberió Forum.It used to be the central meeting point in the city. You can see the Basilica,the temple, the Roman Parliament, shops, statues and triumphal arches.
  • TheCaesaraugusta Theatre Museum: c/San Jorge, 12 Roman. 1st century A.D. Columns,sculptures, paving stones and cornices have been preserved.
  • CamónAznar Museum: c/ Espoz y Mina, 23, Tel: 976 39 73 28. It holds a collectionof drawings by Goya, as well as other works by eminent artists from differentperiods.
  • Zaragoza Museum: Plaza de los Sitios, 5,Tel: 976 22 21 81. It houses paintings and archeological finds.
  • PabloGargallo Museum: Plaza San Felipe, 3, Tel: 976 399 20 58. It housespaintings by this well known Galician artist.

Art Nouveau in Zaragoza - there are 4 buildings which stand out, all of which are cultural monuments.:

  • Juncosa House: Paseo de Sagasta, 11. Designed and built byJosé de Yarza Echenique. This house has been perfectly perserved, includingall the original furniture and interior decorations. In 1983 it became a nationalmonument.
  • Molins House: c/ Alfonso, 2. By FernandoAyaza, built in 1902. Perfectly preserved.
  • Retuerta House: Paseo de Sagasti 13. By Juan Francisco Gómez Pulido built in 1904. Perfectlypreserved. It also became a national monument in 1983.
  • Mercantil House: c/ Coso 9. Built in 1912 by Francisco Albiña. Perfectly preserved.In the 1st half of the 20th century it used to be a place where artists, intellectuals,writers and journalists met up for discussions.
  • The Band Stand:This is located in the Primo de Rivera Park. Built in 1908 by the MartínezUbago brothers.
Travelling to Lanzarote?The following links may also be useful
Guides provinces borderingwith Zaragoza and beautifulplaces in Spain nearby
  • Tarragona
  • Teruel
  • Guipúzcoa
  • LaRioja

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