The fragile image of the multi-domed Basílica del Pilar flashed in the Río Ebro is a powerful symbol of Zaragoza, one of Europe’s most underrated regions. Located in Spain, there’s lots more fine construction here, including an ancient turreted castle with a center like a mini-Alhambra, and some very beautiful displayed underground Roman remains. Still, Zaragoza’s fascination goes well beyond its architecture. Spain’s fifth-largest town, it has one the best bar and tapas scenes in the nation and is well stocked with the famous epoch-defining art of local lad Francisco de Goya, the intellectual painter who was born a quick horse ride away in 1746 CE.
Zaragoza holds a large architectural and cultural heritage attesting to 2,000 years of importance and affluence. So, let’s explore this wonderful Spanish City in our today’s Travel Guide.
Top Attractions in Zaragoza
Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar
This magnificent baroque cavern of Catholicism stands on the location where the people believe the Virgin Mary met Santiago (St James the Apostle) atop a pilar (pillar) of jasper on the 2nd of January in 40 CE, leaving the pillar behind as proof of her visit. A church was erected around the pillar, followed by a range of ever more grandiose chapels, culminating in the gigantic basilica.
Alma Mater Museum
Smooth multimedia displays set an artsy tone as you follow a beautifully laid-out trajectory through the more traditional elements of the building (a former episcopal and royal palace), learning about Roman forums, Aragonese history (especially church history), and the revered Virgen del Pilar, before reaching the Renaissance celebration of the top floor, with paintings by the two local Franciscos: Bayeu and Goya.
The infamous Aljafería is Spain’s most exquisite Islamic-era edifice outside Andalucía. Constructed as a fortified palace for Zaragoza’s Islamic invaders in the 11th century CE, it passed into Christian hands in 1118 CE. In 1149 CE, the Catholic Monarchs ( Reyes Católicos), Isabel and Fernando, tacked on their own palace. Aragón’s local parliament has sat here since 1987 CE.
Overlooking the eastern end of Plaza del Pilar, La Seo is Zaragoza’s most elegant work of Christian architecture, constructed between the 12th and 17th centuries CE and presenting a wonderful spread of styles from baroque to Romanesque. It stands on Islamic Zaragoza’s central mosque (which itself stood on the Roman Empire’s temple site).
Museo del Teatro de Caesaraugusta
The daintiest in Zaragoza’s quartet of Roman museums was uncovered during the excavation of a building site in 1972 CE. Excellent efforts, including an impressive 15-minute audiovisual, have been made to help guests visualize the splendor of this theatre that held 6000 spectators on more than 25 rows of seating. The theatre is noticeable from the neighboring streets and is protected by a colossal polycarbonate roof, 25m above ground, set at the height of the top of the ancient building.
Top Things to do in Zaragoza
- Walk: The Parque Grande is great for a chill or a walk. Massive in size, you forget the town, and the many fountains add to the distraction.
- Swim: Summers can be scorching in Zaragoza. If you fancy relaxing by the swimming pool over a vacationing program, here is our suggestion. Public swimming pools in Zaragoza are well maintained and generally clean, and it is cost-effective. So go ahead and explore that.
What to eat in Zaragoza?
Some of the tastiest regional specialties are
- Huevos al Salmorejo, eggs with cold tomato cream,
- Bacalao al Ajoarriero, cod-fish with garlic and eggs,
- Ternasco Asado, roasted young lamb,
- Longanizas y Chorizos highly appreciated kinds of sausages,
- Cordero a la Pastora, lamb Shepherd’s style,
- Pollo al Chilindrón, chicken in a sauce of cured ham, tomatoes, onions, and paprika.
Zaragoza is famously recognized because of its numerous tapas bars. The best place to eat is the old town, commonly called “Casco Viejo,” a bunch of small streets similar to the Zoco.
Now You Know