Ready to explore one of Spain’s best kept secrets? Of course, you are! Look no further than booking your next Spanish trip to Zaragoza. The capital of Aragon, it is the fifth-largest city in Spain located within 3 hours drive of Barcelona and within an hour and half train ride of Madrid. This charming city is bursting with all types of historical and cultural sites just waiting to be discovered. Come along as we explore this fascinating city together!
Zaragoza is filled with ruins dating from its founding as a Roman city in 14 BC named for the Emperor at the time, Caesar Augustus. Explore four sites along the designated Caesaraugusta Route: The Roman Forum, the River Port, the Roman Theater and the Public Baths. First stop, is the Caesaraugusta Forum Museum. It houses archeological remains of the Roman city center including shop walls, remains of a market place, drinking water pipes and sewers. In Roman times, the city’s importance was amplified due to its accessibility along the Ebro River serving as a port of call for the valley as our second stop, the Caesarugusta River Port Museum demonstrates. Thirdly, the Public Bath Museum houses remains of a large outdoor pool along with thermic baths, changing rooms and a gym. It served as an important meeting place for residents of Caesaraugusta. Last but certainly not least, is the Caesaraugusta Theater Museum. Enclosed within a special exhibition space, visitors can explore the remains of the original theater and gain a sense of life during Roman rule.
Not only can you explore Roman ruins in Zaragoza, you can step inside one of Spain’s finest Moorish monuments. Built in the 11th century along the Ebro, the Aljafería Palace is a fortified Islamic castle that is stunning. Step inside the Portico and walk beneath Moorish arches as you enter the palace’s inner rooms which house various works of art and are adorned with ornate ceiling carvings and decorations. Once home to royals throughout the centuries, the palace was surrounded by a moat and featured a drawbridge. Today, it serves as headquarters of the Aragonese Parliament and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Possibly one of the city’s most iconic landmarks is the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar also located along the Ebro. Built between the 17th and 18th centuries, the shrine commemorates the Virgin Mary’s appearance to St. James the Apostle where she left behind a pillar of jasper stone to mark the spot. Consequently, pilgrims travel from all over the world to kiss the pillar and receive her blessings. The church also features beautiful frescos painted by Francisco Goya on the ceilings and cupola.
Speaking of fine art, be sure to visit the Zaragoza Museum which features works by Goya amongst other masterpieces dating from the 12th century to modern day. The museum also features archaeological remains from Aljafería Palace and a bust of Caesar Augustus himself.
Zaragoza is a jewel of a city full of history and charm. Take time to stroll its streets, savor its tapas and explore its hidden treasures.
Contact the team at the Tourist Office of Spain for more information on Spain.
For more information on the city of Zaragoza, visit http://blog.zaragozaturismo.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Zaragoza Turismo