A walk amongst history in one of Spain’s oldest cities: Zaragoza
Originally constructed as a palace of pleasure for Zaragoza’s Islamic rulers in the 11th century the Aljaferia is renowned as Spain’s finest Islamic-era building outside of Andalucia. It had its first refurbishment in 1118 when the Christians took over the city. By the 15th century the Catholic Monarchs took it over but it wasn’t long before it fell into disrepair. Renovations started in the last century and nowadays it is home to Aragon’s- regional parliament.
Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar
The legend has it that it was here on the 2nd January AD 40 that Santiago saw the Virgin Mary descend onto a marble pillar and so a chapel was built around the remaining pillar which began this fascinating emblem of Catholicism. Plenty to see and if you pay 3€ a lift will take you almost to the top of the north tower of the Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar for an amazing view of the city.
Museum of the Teatro de Caesaraugusta
Although it may almost be in ruins this place is still a joy and once seated 6000 spectators. The city has worked hard to try to recreate the buildings former glory with evening shows projecting a virtual performance and audio-visual displays that help the visitor understand about this once beautiful edifice.
Now well below ground level Roman Caesaraugusta’s forum is a fascinating step back I time with the remains of porticoes, shops, and a sewer. There are lots of old items on display dating back almost 2,000 years, and a video show explains to listeners, in several languages, about life in Roman times and especially the goings on of the forum.
Museum of Zaragoza
Just 400m south of the Teatro Romano the city museum displays artefacts from prehistoric to Islamic times and is dedicated to archaeology and fine arts displaying many amazing mosaics from the Roman Caesaraugusta. Upstairs you’ll find some 15 paintings and at least 25 etchings by the famous artist Goya.
This beautifully built Renaissance-style building, just east of the basilica, was constructed in the 16th century as a trading exchange and is now used as an exhibition hall. Outside coloured medallions represent the kings of Aragon but it is inside where the stunning columns. Rising up to resemble giant palm fronds and blending into flowers that will have you saying ‘wow!’ Keep an eye out for regular exhibitions too.