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Zaragoza: the Mudejar style of Aragon

Zaragoza has about 650,000 inhabitants and is one of the most important cities in Spain. The capital of Aragon, Zaragoza is located halfway between Madrid and Barcelona from which it is about 300 km away. The city is located 200 meters above sea level and is crossed by the Ebro river.

The name of the city derives from its ancient Roman origin, in fact the city was founded by the Romans with the name of Colonia Caesaraugusta in 15 AD. In the I and II centuries of the Christian era, Roman Zaragoza had its heyday, in this period important public works were built, some of which are still visible today, including the forum, the river port, the thermal baths, the theater and the amphitheater.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, in 714 the city was conquered by the Arabs, who called it Saraqusta. Initially it was part of the Caliphate of Córdoba, then, between 1018 and 1110, it became the capital of the independent kingdom known as Taifa de Saraqusta. Also this period was a period of splendor for the city. In 1110 it was conquered by the Almoravids and finally in 1118 it was reconquered by the Christian troops of King Alfonso I el Batallador and became the capital of the kingdom of Aragon, one of the most important kingdoms in Spanish history.

WHAT TO SEE: THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF ZARAGOZA (ZARAGOZA)

The area richest in historical monuments is the old city, which can be accessed by crossing the Ebro on the Ponte de Santiago. Rich in monuments of all styles and from all eras, there are buildings from the Roman, Arab and Aragonese periods. The three most important buildings in the city are: the Basilica of El Pilar, the Salvador Cathedral (La Seo) and the Palace of La Aljafería.

THE LARGEST BAROQUE CHURCH IN SPAIN IN ONE OF THE LARGEST SQUARES IN EUROPE

The Basilica of El Pilar, located in one of the largest squares in Europe, is the largest Baroque church in Spain. The works for its construction began in 1681, on a project by the royal architect Francisco de Herrera. Its dimensions are 130 meters long by 67 meters wide, the basilica is crowned with 11 domes, ten lanterns and four towers.

The church has three naves, the central one is divided by the main altar, located under the central dome. Below the other two elliptical domes of the central nave are the Santa Capilla de la Virgen del Pilar, the choir and the organ. The interior of many domes is frescoed with paintings by Goya and Francisco Bayeu. The basilica houses the Santa Columna and a small wooden image of the virgin.

THE CATHEDRAL OF SALVADOR

The Salvador Cathedral (La Seo), built in the XII century over the remains of the Mosque, was enlarged and modified in the following centuries, until it reached its present appearance. Today it presents an alternation of various styles, ranging in fact from Romanesque, to Gothic, to Mudejar up to Baroque. Among the Mudejar art to be mentioned part of the apse, the parroquieta de San Miguel and the cimborio. The altarpiece of the main altar is magnificent, in polychrome alabaster created by Pere Johan and Hans de Suabia, considered one of the most important works of European Gothic.

THE PALACE DE LA ALJAFERÍA: MASTERPIECE OF MUDAJAR ARCHITECTURE

The Palace of La Aljafería is an 11th century Arab construction which was the palace of the Taifa king of Saraqusta, Al-Muqtadir. The palace is the only preserved testimony of a large building of the Islamic architecture of the Taifas kingdoms (11th century). After the reconquista, it became the residence of the kings of Aragon, it was then the seat of the inquisition and today it is the seat of the Cortes of Aragon.

In 2001, in the context of the Mudejar architecture of Aragon, UNESCO declared World Heritage of Humanity in addition to the remains of the Palazzo de la Aljafería, also the apse, the cimborio and the parroquieta de San Miguel of La Seo ( Cathedral) and then the Tower and the parish church of San Pablo, all buildings located in Zaragoza.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS

Other attractions of the city are the ancient Roman Wall and the Roman Theater. Among the 14th century Mudejar-style churches we can mention the church of San Pablo, the church of San Gil Abad, the church of San Miguel de los Navarros and the parish church of Santa María Magdalena. Buildings of the medieval period are then the Torreón de la Zuda, the Arch and the house of the Deán, the Puente de Piedra, the Convent of the Holy Sepulcher, the Baños judíos, the Torreón de Fortea and the remains of the ancient medieval walls.

Among the Renaissance works not to be missed is a visit to Lonja, the ancient stock exchange built between 1541 and 1551. Are also Renaissance buildings the Palacio de los Condes de Morata, the Palacio de los Luna, the Casa palacio de los condes de Sástago, the Casa palacio de los marqueses de Montemuzo, the basilica de Santa Engracia, the Patio de la Infanta, the Palazzo Armijo and the Casa Aguilar, which houses a collection of the works of the Aragonese painter Goya. In the city there are also interesting baroque and neoclassical buildings.

The new city is the most vital and busiest part of the city. The main commercial activities flock between the Plaza de Espana, the Paseo de Indipendencia and the Plaza de Aragon, the heart of the modern city. Near the Plaza de Aragon is the Patio de la Infanta, which houses works by Goya. Not far away you reach one of the most beautiful places in Zaragoza, the Primo de Rivera Park.

MUSEUMS

Among the museums of Roman Zaragoza are the Museum of the forum, the Museum of the puerto fluvial and the Museo de las termas públicas. Not to be missed for lovers of the genre, the Museo de Tapices de La Seo, with an exceptional collection of tapestries from the XV-XVIII centuries, considered to be one of the most important collections of this kind in Europe. A historical university, founded in 1474, is also located in Zaragoza. In 2008 Zaragoza was the site of Expo Zaragoza 2008, the International Exposition.

Among the destinations around Zaragoza, we can mention the Cinco Villas, north of the city. Calatayud to the southwest. Huesca, the second city of Aragon. Fuendetodos, the birthplace of Goya, and the Monegros desert territory to the west.

HOW TO MOVE: URBAN TRANSPORT

The urban transport of Zaragoza relies on a network of urban buses, managed by TUZSA (Transportes Urbanos de Zaragoza S.A.). It includes 28 regular lines and 7 night lines. Zaragoza completed in 2013 a first tramway line that crosses the city from south to north, the length of this line is 12.8 km.

HOW TO GET THERE: FLIGHTS TO ZARAGOZA

Zaragoza airport (IATA: ZAZ) is a small airport which is located 16 km west of Zaragoza. There are few air connections to this airport. Zaragoza airport is one of the airports used by NASA as an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle in the case of a Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL).

The climate of Zaragoza.

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