Zaragoza is one of Europe’s great cities, recognized for its stunning Basilica of El Pilar and for its festivities held every October. Highlights of a visit to the city include a Moorish palace, a Roman forum, avant-garde bridges, a museum dedicated to the great Spanish artist Francisco de Goya, and of course, tapas in the district of El Tubo.
POINTS OF INTEREST
A jewel of Baroque art. Built between the 17th and 18th centuries. Inside there is the Santa Capilla, work of Ventura Rodríguez where an image of the Virgen del Pilar can be found. Also of interest is the high altarpiece made out of alabaster and the Renaissance choir-stall. The basilica was declared a National Monument. Along with the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the Basílica del Pilar is one of the most important spiritual destinations in Spain. It is also a first-rate art center containing a collection of valuable objects from different periods. Particularly important are the frescos painted by Goya in the choir and the Regina Martyrum dome.
The Zaragoza Aquarium is the largest freshwater aquarium in Europ. Here, you’ll find aquatic species from the five most important rivers in the world: the Nile, the Mekong, the Amazon, the Darling Murray, and the Ebro. The aquarium offers multiple educational activities designed particularly for younger visitors, including interactive exhibits, educational workshops, and birthday celebrations. Some of the species children learn about include sturgeons, anacondas, piranhas, otters, crocodiles, and even some land mammals such as titi monkeys.
A visit to the ancient city of Caesaraugusta allows you to discover what life was like during the Roman period. The museum is located underneath what is now the square of La Seo (the cathedral) and displays archaeological remains from the old Roman Forum at the time of Emperor Tiberius. There are also the remains of a market, pipes, a sewer, and some shop walls from the time of the Emperor Augustus, when Zaragoza was founded. The exhibition is completed with a stunning audio-visual area.
This Arab palace in the heart of Zaragoza was constructed in the 11th century as a place of recreation and also served as a defensive building. Ruins of its fortified area are still preserved. The palace with its quadrangular plan and distinctive Troubadour’s Tower is a must-see if you visit the city. Rooms are arranged around the courtyard, which is open to the sky. Its roofs, coffered ceilings, and plasterwork decoration are some of its greatest charms. It is currently the headquarters of the Aragonese Parliament.
The Lonja de Zaragoza is one of the finest examples of Aragonese Renaissance-style architecture. A beautiful place for trading. The Exchange was built in the 16th century for Hernando de Aragón, based on a project by Juan de Sariñena. It was intended to provide a public place for the city where merchants could trade goods instead of using the Seo and other churches. The building now serves as a meeting place for the Zaragoza City Council.