Sights of Zaragoza, Spain
The northeastern Spanish city of Zaragoza belongs to the province of Zaragoza and is part of the autonomous region of Aragon. The northern border of the province is bordered by France, to the east by Catalonia, to the south by Valencia and to the west by Castile-La Mancha, Castile and León, La Rioja and Navarra. Around the fifteenth century, this area belonged to the core of the Spanish kingdom. That is now different. Zaragoza is now mainly a tourist destination where you can soak up a lot of culture and enjoy very beautiful architecture and other cultural heritage. This city, through which the Ebro river flows willingly, has a long history and many stories to tell. Unfortunately, the War of Independence has also left traces here, but it has not conquered the city. More than two thousand years of history is translated here in, among other things, the imposing cathedral of El Pilar, the El Salvador or La Seo cathedral, the beautiful Aljafería Palace and a number of interesting museums. And in between there is always a place close by where you can enjoy some Spanish tapas and a well-deserved drink.
Top 10 sights of Zaragoza
#1. Palacio de la Aljaferia
According to prozipcodes, the characteristic palace ‘Palacio de la Aljafería’ was built in the Islamic period when King Al-Muqtadir ruled the kingdom of Taifa. The palace was then named ‘Qasr al-Surur’ which means little more than ‘palace of happiness’. Although many renovations have taken place, well-known mudejar traces in the architecture are still visible in the Palacio de la Aljafería. Especially the inside of the palace is richly decorated. On the north side is a wedding hall and small mosque. And the courtyard is also an attraction. The oldest part of the palace is the Trovador tower. It was built in the ninth century as a watchtower. During a tour of the Palacios de la Aljafería you will hear all kinds of details from the eleventh century and different periods after. Since 2001, the Palacio de la Aljafería has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
#2. Plaza del Pillar
The main sights of the city of Zaragoza are located on and around the car-free square ‘Plaza del Pilar’. This makes it one of the most visited places in the center. Plaza del Pilar is also called ‘Plaza de las Catedrales’ due to the presence of no less than two cathedrals. You can visit ‘La Catedral-Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar’ and ‘Catedral del Salvador de Zaragoza’ here. Other fascinating and beautiful sights on the Plaza del Pilar are the monument to the painter Franciso de Goya, which was designed by Jose Beltran Navarro and Federico Marés. The Lonja de Zaragoza, built in Renaissance style, serves as the exhibition space of the town hall.
#3. Cathedral Basilica of Nuestra Senora del Pilar
The ‘El Pilar’ cathedral has taken a prominent place in the center of Zaragoza. This Baroque-style basilica has a long history that probably dates back to the twelfth century. Over the centuries, much has been refurbished, adapted and renovated. The current appearance was mainly realized in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This was done under the leadership of Juan José II of Austria who ruled Aragon at the time. Messrs Francisco de Herrera el Mozo, José Felipe de Busiñac and Felipe Sánchez were appointed by him as architects. The interior of the Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar is just as impressive as the exterior suggests. The often present religious art, wall and ceiling paintings as well as the domes and chapels show an abundance of richness and embellishment. The beautiful main altar from the sixteenth century is the work of the Spanish sculptor Damián Forment. For many Spaniards, the Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar is a popular place of pilgrimage.
#4. Museum of Teatro de Caesaraugusta
Several archaeological excavations have now uncovered a number of ruins in Zaragoza that are now eagerly visited by enthusiasts from all over the world. The Museo del Teatro de Caesaraugusta on Calle San Jorge has become one of the most sought-after sights in the city of Zaragoza. Enthusiasts can view parts of monumental buildings from Roman times here. In 1972, for example, a Roman Theater was discovered here with a capacity for six thousand spectators. The museum is housed in the home of Gabriel Zaporta, a wealthy businessman from the sixteenth century. Museo del Teatro de Caesaraugusta also has exhibition spaces that cover topics such as cultures, deal with the daily life of the Romans and found objects. Other parts of the Museo del Teatro de Caesaraugusta are: Forum Museum of Caesaraugusta, Museum of the Fluvial Port of Caesaraugusta and Museum of the Public Baths of Caesaraugusta.
#5. Cathedral of Salvador
At the Plaza de la Seo, the tall bell tower of ‘Catedral del Salvador’ towers high in the sky. Cathedra del Salvador, also known as ‘La Seo’, was built in the twelfth century. Since time immemorial, this place has typified Zaragoza as the religious center of the city. Earlier in history there was already a mosque here. In 1118 this came to an end and a Romanesque cathedral was built. The ninety meter high bell tower is a legacy from the seventeenth century. Around 1683, architect Giovanni Battista Contini was given the honor of replacing the old mudejar tower. Among the showpieces of ‘La Seo’ are the dome ‘Cimborrio de la Seo’.
#6. Lonja de Zaragoza
On the outside of Lonja de Zaragoza you can’t really see what you can expect inside. The interior of Lonja de Zaragoza is incredibly beautiful. Ribbed vaults are supported by Ionic columns and various decorative materials are used in the cladding of the rooms. The decoration is mainly due to sculptor and architect Gil Morlanes el Joven. What was once built as a trading center now serves as an exhibition space for the municipal office. In any case, it is still a space that the public can gratefully use.
#7. Coso de la Misericordia
Plaza de Toros de la Misericordia is one of the oldest squares in Spain. Around the eighteenth century the ‘La Misericordia’ arena was built here where bullfights could be attended. This deeply rooted cultural event still attracts many visitors to this part of Zaragoza. The initiative to build this size arena came from Ramon de Pignatelli, a director of the military hospital ‘Real Casa de la Misericordia’. Como de la Misericordia is therefore actually connected to the hospital. Translated, this also means ‘arena of mercy’. Unfortunately not for the animals. The entertainment in the Coso de la Misericordia arena is therefore not loved by everyone. Fortunately, the space is also increasingly being used for other entertainment.
#8. El Ebro
The El Ebro river flowing in Spain is almost a thousand kilometers long. From the Cantabrian Mountains in northwestern Spain, the Ebro River continues to the south-east before reaching Tortosa and the Mediterranean Sea. The city of Zaragoza is also on this route. El Ebro gives the city of Zaragoza its own character. A trip along or over the water takes you past places such as the Del Pilar Basilica, Balcón De San Lázaro, Ribera Izquierdo Del Ebro Mirando Al Puente De Hierro, Puente de Piedra, Mirador del Gállego and other sights. The water always has a special attraction for people, especially with a beautiful environment like this in the background.
#9. Museo Goya Coleccion Ibercaja
The Museum of Fine Arts ‘Museo Goya Coleccion Ibercaja’ is located in the palace of Pardo on Calle Espoz y Mina in Zaragoza. The museum includes many works by the artist Francisco de Goya and also takes a closer look at his life, interests and motivations. In the Museo Goya Coleccion Ibercaja you can also admire impressive work by celebrities such as Anton van Dyck, Francisco Zurbarán, Ramón Bayeu, Eugenio Lucas Velázquez, Cristobal Toral and Salvador Dalí.
#10. Church of San Pablo
In the twelfth century, not only the cathedrals La Seo and Del Pilar were built. The slightly less imposing Iglesia de San Pablo church also found a place in Zaragoza at the time. The small church of San Pablo was built between San Pablo and San Blas streets. The building structure shows influences from the Gothic and Moorish style that were more common in Spain around the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Due to the rapidly growing population, it was deemed necessary to also give the church more space. The work, adjustments and renovations went on for several centuries. In the twentieth century, the Iglesia de San Pablo acquired the size we can see today. The octagonal tower can be traced back to the nineteenth century. The dome of the chapel was beautifully decorated by the stonemason José Felipe Busiñac y Borbón. Guided tours can be booked daily for enthusiasts.