Modern Zaragoza is a major industrial and cultural center of Spain, ranks 5th among the cities of Spain. The sights of Zaragoza annually attract a large number of tourists.
The amazing city of Moorish palaces and medieval monasteries is nestled by the Ebro River, surrounded by picturesque landscapes. It lacks the outward glitz and mad rush of Madrid, the livelyness of Barcelona, the waltzy indulgence of Valencia. Zaragoza captivates with the unhurried flow of time, thoroughness, commitment to tradition. Tourists are given a wide range of excursions for all tastes.
The city is located in a band of cold semi-arid climate. Many residents joke that they can survive anywhere in the world, as winters are cold with frequent frosts and summers are very hot and arid. The Gallego and Huerva rivers flow through the area, but their waters do not bring the expected coolness, and rain is very rarely seen here.
In summer, the city streets become sparsely populated, residents tend to escape the heat to the sea or the mountains, the cultural life is almost at a standstill.
For travel is best suited to the off-season, which falls between April and June and early fall to mid-October. At this time is relatively warm weather without stifling heat, the winds almost subside and do not interfere with the enjoyment of walks through the ancient streets and squares of the city.
History of Zaragoza
The city with a history of 2000 years keeps the memory of past centuries and events in the form of Roman ruins, austere medieval churches and monasteries, luxurious palaces, magnificent paintings of famous painters.
The first mention of the city dates back to 24 BC. It was a colony of Emperor Augustus, hence the name of the settlement. It quickly developed and became the cultural center of the valley. Later part of the Caliphate of Cordoba, by the 12th century it had become the capital of Aragon and gained considerable political influence. By the 15th century the city had become part of Spain and lost its leading role in the political arena.
Historically, the city was ruled by caliphs and kings. This has left a noticeable imprint on the architecture, the layout of the historic part of town. All the main tourist sites are located in and around Plaza del Pilar. This is where most of the field trips and sightseeing tours of the city start.
For convenience, it is worth taking a booklet on the road, which contains photos with descriptions and names of the sights of Zaragoza in several languages. Russian tourists are increasingly choosing Spain as a vacation destination, so the Russian language is becoming important for excursions, service at hotels and restaurants.
Top 5 attractions in Zaragoza
The list of things to see in Zaragoza includes the most interesting architectural, historical monuments, museums, art galleries. And the Eastern and Western art and architecture are equally represented.
It is becoming a major point of tourist visits. There are 2 cathedrals along its perimeter and the Fuente de la Hispanidad fountain. It is known that there was a cemetery on the modern square in the Middle Ages, then the city began to grow, absorbing the suburbs, and the former suburbs became the center.
Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar
When you look at its domes and impetuous towers, you get the impression that it floats above the ground, so weightless and openwork construction of the buildings. The site was successively replaced by a modest church, a Romanesque cathedral, and a Gothic temple. The modern complex consists of 4 towers, 12 domes, crowning the walls. The interior painting is by the artist Francisco Goya.
La Seo Cathedral
It was erected in the 12th century to replace the Muslim mosque. The cathedral has become an important part of the city’s history. It was here that all the important events were held: coronations, wedding ceremonies and burials of members of the ruling dynasty. Its facades are strikingly different from one another. The main one, facing Pilar Square, is austere and proportionate. A few statues of saints and columns on the sides of the entrance dilute the asceticism. The second is decorated with carved stone lace, in the upper part there is a set of miniature pinnacles – towers.
The bell tower and clock on it are decorated in a completely different style, the dial is literally hugged by 3 sculptures in a looser style, in their movements you can see the impulse and desire for action. The cathedral was built for 5 centuries, so in its appearance you can find features of Romanesque, Gothic and Moorish styles with elements of Baroque.
Entrance to the cathedral is paid, the ticket costs 4 euros, it includes a visit to the museum of ancient tapestry located here. These are stunning paintings of enormous size, where the smallest details like a curl on a child’s temple or the folds of a girl’s clothing in the background are woven.
It is forbidden to take pictures of the interior of the cathedral and the tapestries. To keep something to remember your visit to this Zaragoza attraction, it is worth buying a brochure with descriptions and photos of the interior.
The fortress was erected in the 11th century. Originally the Moorish style prevailed, but later, when the residence of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile was arranged here, the structure was rebuilt in the Mudahar style with characteristic colored inclusions to the wall lining.
The walls of the fortress successively housed the Inquisition service, barracks, and after the restoration the museum, the legislative assembly, and the court.
Each historical period has left a lot of evidence of its time, archaeologists continue to retrieve new artifacts from the bowels. Several prominent artists were born or worked in the city, and there are separate exhibitions and even museums devoted to them. So in Zaragoza there is something to see for art lovers and history buffs.
There are museums in the city:
- Roman Forum;
- Pablo Gargallo;
- Francisco Goya.
If time permits, it is worth a look at the aquariums of Zaragoza, the Central Market, the cultural center “CaixaForum”, the shopping and entertainment complex “Puerto Venice”. And also admire the waterfall fountain in Pilar Square and wander the alleys of Zaragoza’s oldest park.