ZARAGOZA

Spain

Zaragoza is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It lies by the Ebro river and its tributaries, the Huerva and the Gállego, roughly in the center of both Aragon and the Ebro basin.

Info Zaragoza

introduction

Zaragoza is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It lies by the Ebro river and its tributaries, the Huerva and the Gállego, roughly in the center of both Aragon and the Ebro basin.

On 1 September 2010 the population of the city of Zaragoza was 701,090, within its administrative limits on a land area of 1,062.64 square kilometres (410.29 square miles), ranking fifth in Spain. It is the 32nd most populous municipality in the European Union. The population of the metropolitan area was estimated in 2006 at 783,763 inhabitants. The municipality is home to more than 50 percent of the Aragonese population. The city lies at an elevation of 199 metres (653 feet) above sea level.

Zaragoza hosted Expo 2008 in the summer of 2008, a world's fair on water and sustainable development. It was also a candidate for the European Capital of Culture in 2012.

The city is famous for its folklore, local gastronomy, and landmarks such as the Basílica del Pilar, La Seo Cathedral and the Aljafería Palace. Together with La Seo and the Aljafería, several other buildings form part of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fiestas del Pilar are among the most celebrated festivals in Spain.

info
POPULATION : 666,058
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (GMT +1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (GMT +2) (UTC)
LANGUAGE :
RELIGION :
AREA : 973.78 km2 (375.98 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 243 m (797 ft)
COORDINATES : 41°39′N 0°53′W
SEX RATIO : Male: 49.5%
 Female: 50.5%
ETHNIC : composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types
AREA CODE : 976
POSTAL CODE : 50001 – 50020
DIALING CODE : +34 976
WEBSITE :www.zaragoza.es

Tourism

Zaragoza is a warm and inviting city located between Madrid,Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia and Toulouse. In people's haste to see the big cities, this gem is often passed without so much as a second look. The city welcomes visitors with its rich culture, shopping, eating and sightseeing. Its more than 2,000 years of history makes the city one of the greatest historical and artistic legacies in Spain. It is situated in Aragon, one of the previous kingdoms of Spain.

Zaragoza has much to offer in the way of shopping, with most central streets being lined with shopping opportunities.

Shopping area stretches from Residencial Paraiso in Sagasta to the Plaza de España. The most exclusive shops are on Francisco de Vitoria, San Ignacio de Loyola, Cadiz, Isaac Peral and the streets crossing them.

Craft and souvenir shops are located at Anticuarios de la Plaza de San Brun.


Swimming pools for hot days

Summer days can be very hot in Zaragoza. If you prefer relaxing by the swimming pool over a sightseeing program, here are a few suggestions. Public swimming pools in Zaragoza are generally clean and well maintained. The entrance fee is some €3 for an adult. Open-air pools are open until 9 or 10PM in the evening.

  • Centro Deportivo Municipal ActurC/ Pablo Ruiz Picasso s/n(near Avenida de los Pirineos). Multiple swimming pools, large lawn area. Few trees, hard to find a place in the shadow.
  • Centro Deportivo Municipal SaldubaPaseo de Mairano Renovales s/n (Part of Parque Primo de Rivera between Calle de Manuel Lasala and Paseo de San Sebastián). 50m pool, the right place for serious swimming.
  • Palacio Municipal de DeportesCalle de Luis Bermejo. Small pool, plenty of trees for shadow.

Zaragoza Card

Zaragoza Card provides:

  • Free entry to all museums and monuments.
  • 24 hour unlimited use of the Saragossa Tourist Bus.
  • Free public transport (depending on the type of card).
  • Including guided tours and the services of the “roaming” tourist guides.
  • A free tapas and drink at one of our tapas bars.
  • Discounts in more than 50 establishments (hotels, car hire, cafés and bars, restaurants…)

History

Roman Caesaraugusta

 The Sedetani, a tribe of ancient Iberians, populated a village called Salduie (Salduba in Roman sources). Later on, Augustus founded a city calledCaesaraugusta  at the same location to settle army veterans from the Cantabrian wars. The foundation date of Caesaraugusta has not been set with exact precision, though it is known to lie between 25 BC and 12 BC. The city did not suffer any decline during the last centuries of the Roman empire and was captured peacefully by the Goths in the fifth century AD.

Taifa of Zaragoza

From 1018 to 1118, Zaragoza was one of the taifa kingdoms, independent Muslim states which emerged in the eleventh century following the destruction of the Caliphate of Córdoba. During the first three decades of this period, 1018–1038, the city was ruled by the Banu Tujibi. In 1038 they were replaced by the Banu Hud, who had to deal with a complicated alliance with El Cid of Valencia and his Castilian masters against the Almoravids, who managed to bring the Taifas Emirates under their control. After the death of El Cid his kingdom was overrun by the Almoravids, who, by 1100, had managed to cross the Ebro intoBarbastro, which brought Aragon into direct contact with them. The Banu Hud stubbornly resisted the Almoravids and ruled until they were eventually defeated by them in May 1110.


Aragonese era

On 18 December 1118, the Aragonese led by Alfonso I conquered the city from the Almoravids, and made it the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon. After Alfonso's death without heirs in 1134, Zaragoza was swiftly occupied by Alfonso VII of León and Castile. The city control was held by García Ramirez, king of Navarra, until 1136 when it was given to Ramiro II the Monk in the treaty signed at the betrothal of Ramiro's daughter Petronila and Alfonso's son Sancho. The wedding never happened, as Petronila ended up marrying Ramón Berenguer IV, count of Barcelona. The marriage union was the origin of the Crown of Aragón.

13th century Zaragoza was the scene of two controversial martyrdoms related with the Spanish Inquisition: those of Saint Dominguito del Val, a choirboy in the basilica, and Pedro de Arbués, head official of the inquisition. While the reality of the existence of Saint Dominguito del Val is questioned, his "murder" at the hands of "jealous Jews" was used as an excuse to murder or convert the Jewish population of Zaragoza.

Zaragoza suffered two famous sieges during the Peninsular War against the Napoleonic army: a first from June to August 1808; and a second from December 1808 to February 1809, surrendering only after some 50,000 defenders had died.


Modern history

Despite a decline in the outlying rural economy, Zaragoza has continued to grow. The General Military Academy, a higher training center of the Spanish Army, was re-established on September 27, 1940 by Minister of the Army José Enrique Varela Iglesias. During the second half of the 20th century, Zaragoza's population boomed as a number of factories opened in the region.

In 1979, the Hotel Corona de Aragón fire killed at least 80. The armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization ETA from northern Spain has been blamed, but officially the fire is still regarded as accidental. ETA carried out the 1987 Zaragoza Barracks bombing in the city which killed eleven people, including a number of children, leading to 250,000 people taking part in demonstrations in the city.

Climate

Zaragoza has a Continental Mediterranean climate, very dry, with cold winters and hot summers. With an average of 318 mm per year, rainfall is a rarity mostly occurring in spring. There is drought in summer with only a few storms in the late afternoon. In July and August temperatures are typically above 30°C (86°F), reaching up to 40°C (104°F) a few days per year. On those days you will quickly pick the idea of siesta: hiding away after lunch, during the hottest part of the day, to enjoy later the evenings and nights at a delightful 18-22°C.

In winter the temperatures are low, usually between 0 and 10°C (32-50°F), with some frosts during the night. Snow only shows up once every couple of years but fog is not uncommon (about 20 days from November to January). However, the only bad part is the Cierzo, a cold and dry wind blowing from the NW that is quite common on clear days, and can make your stay really unpleasant. Beware also of sunny days in spring and autumn, if the Cierzo blows, you will regret not having warm clothes with you.

Detailed weather forecasts including wind speed can be found in [www]


When to visit

The best time to visit Zaragoza is during spring (April to mid-June) and autumn (Sept-Oct). In late June and July the days can be quite hot but in the evenings the city is bustling with people going out for dinner or having a beer with friends in a terrace. In August the city is almost deserted, with most people being on holidays at the mountains or the coast, and more that half the bars, restaurants and small business closed.

The major city festival is El Pilar that takes place every year the week of the 12th of October, with lots of concerts, performances and street animations. It is also the best time to see a bullfight in Zaragoza.

The Easter week, although not in the same league that the Andalucia or Calanda counterparts, is very scenic, with several processions going over the city centre every day with their dramatic sculptures, black-dressed praying women and hundreds of hooded people playing drums.

Climate data for Zaragoza

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)20.6
(69.1)
22.5
(72.5)
28.3
(82.9)
32.4
(90.3)
36.5
(97.7)
41.0
(105.8)
44.5
(112.1)
42.8
(109)
39.2
(102.6)
32.0
(89.6)
28.4
(83.1)
22.0
(71.6)
44.5
(112.1)
Average high °C (°F)10.5
(50.9)
13.1
(55.6)
17.3
(63.1)
19.6
(67.3)
24.1
(75.4)
29.3
(84.7)
32.4
(90.3)
31.7
(89.1)
27.1
(80.8)
21.4
(70.5)
14.8
(58.6)
10.8
(51.4)
21.0
(69.8)
Daily mean °C (°F)6.6
(43.9)
8.2
(46.8)
11.6
(52.9)
13.8
(56.8)
18.0
(64.4)
22.6
(72.7)
25.3
(77.5)
25.0
(77)
21.2
(70.2)
16.2
(61.2)
10.6
(51.1)
7.0
(44.6)
15.5
(59.9)
Average low °C (°F)2.7
(36.9)
3.3
(37.9)
5.8
(42.4)
7.9
(46.2)
11.8
(53.2)
15.8
(60.4)
18.3
(64.9)
18.3
(64.9)
15.2
(59.4)
11.0
(51.8)
6.3
(43.3)
3.2
(37.8)
10.0
(50)
Record low °C (°F)−10.4
(13.3)
−11.4
(11.5)
−6.3
(20.7)
−2.4
(27.7)
0.5
(32.9)
1.6
(34.9)
8.0
(46.4)
8.4
(47.1)
4.8
(40.6)
0.6
(33.1)
−5.6
(21.9)
−9.5
(14.9)
−11.4
(11.5)
              
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología

Economy

In addition to the advantageous geographic situation, an Opel factory was opened in 1982 in Figueruelas, a small village nearby. The progressive decline of the agrarian economy turned Opel into one of the main pillars of the regional economy , along with Balay, which manufactures household appliances; CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A.), which builds railway engines for both the national and international markets; SAICA and Torraspapel in the stationery sector; and various other local companies, such as Pikolin, Lacasa, and Imaginarium SA.

The city's economy benefited from projects like the Expo 2008, the official World's Fair, whose theme was water and sustainable development, held between 14 June and 14 September 2008, Plataforma Logística de Zaragoza (PLAZA), and the Parque Tecnológico de Reciclado (PTR). Furthermore, since December 2003, it has been a city through which the AVE high-speed rail travels. Currently, Zaragoza Airport is a major cargo hub in the Iberian Peninsula, behind only Madrid, Barcelona, and Lisbon.

Zaragoza is home to a Spanish Air Force base, which was shared with the U.S. Air Force until 1994. In English, the base was known as Zaragoza Air Base. The Spanish Air Force maintained an F/A-18 Hornet wing at the base. No American flying wings (with the exception of a few KC-135's) were permanently based there, but it served as a training base for American fighter squadrons across Europe. It is also the main headquarters for the Spanish Land Army, hosting the Academia General Militar, a number of brigades at San Gregorio, and other garrisons.

Subdivisions

Actur, Casco Antiguo, Centro, Delicias, Universidad, San José, Las Fuentes, La Almozara, Oliver-Valdefierro, Torrero-La Paz, Margen Izquierda, Barrios Rurales Norte, Barrios Rurales Oeste, Valdespartera, Arcosur

Prices in Zaragoza

PRICES LIST - EUR

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€1.07
Tomatoes1 kg€1.70
Cheese0.5 kg€6.00
Apples1 kg€1.90
Oranges1 kg€1.35
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.05
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€7.00
Coca-Cola2 liters€1.37
Bread1 piece€0.65
Water1.5 l€0.95

PRICES LIST - EUR

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€22.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€35.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2€52.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€7.00
Water0.33 l€1.10
Cappuccino1 cup€1.40
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€3.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€2.10
Coca-Cola0.33 l€1.75
Coctail drink1 drink€6.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€14.00
Gym1 month€50.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€10.00
Theatar2 tickets€50.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.24
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€5.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack€3.70
Tampons32 pieces€5.50
Deodorant50 ml.€2.30
Shampoo400 ml.€3.05
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.45
Toothpaste1 tube€1.97

PRICES LIST - EUR

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€88.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€26.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€68.00
Leather shoes1€78.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.21
TaxiStart€2.40
Taxi1 km€1.50
Local Transport1 ticket€1.35

Tourist (Backpacker)  

57 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

152 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Zaragoza Airport (IATA: ZAZ), is located 10 km from the city centre. In March 2008 the new terminal building was completed.

The main carriers are Ryanair with flights from Alicante,Brussels-Charleroi, Milan-Orio al Serio, London-Stansted, and Rome-Ciampino, Iberia/Air Nostrum with flights from Madrid, Paris-Orly,Frankfurt, A Coruña and Vigo, and Air Europe with flights from Palma de Mallorca, Lanzarote and Tenerife. For most of these destinations there is a daily flight, while others are served 3 or 4 times a week.

There is also a web blog with more information concerning arrivals and departures, Zaragoza Airport Blog [www].

Transfer to/from the airport: The cheapest option is the airport bus 501 [www] stopping at Los Enlaces, Delicias train station, Avenida de Navarra, and Paseo de María Agustín 7, in the city centre (45 minutes ride). The bus costs €1.85 and runs every 30 minutes Mo-Sa and every hour on Sundays and holidays. Alternatively a taxi will cost around €25-30 and take around 20 minutes to the city centre.


Nearby airports

As most flights to Zaragoza only run once a day, it is sometimes more convenient to fly to Madrid or Barcelona airports, from where you can reach Zaragoza in less than 3 hours.

From Madrid Barajas Airport:go to Atocha RENFE train station either by taxi (30 minutes, around €25) or by metro (45 minutes, €2) and then take the high speed train AVE to Zaragoza (1h30, around €50). A cheaper but not so comfortable alternative is taking a coach from company ALSA that runs between Barajas terminal T4 and Zaragoza every 2–3 hours (3h45 trip, single/return: €15/€26). If you are in terminals T1 T2 or T3, take the free airport bus shuttle to terminal T4. The bus to Zaragoza stops in the same place as the airport shuttle. Yes, there are no ticket counters, information posts, or timetables, but place yourself with your back towards the T4 terminal exit, look at your right and you will see the ticket vending machine of ALSA.

From Barcelona Airport: The easiest way is to take the half-hourly RENFE C-10 suburban train to Barcelona Sants (20 minutes, €2.20), and then take the high speed train AVE to Zaragoza (1h45, around €60). If you already have your AVE ticket, you can get the suburban train ticket for free in the automatic vending machines, by typing the code for “cercanías” that appears in your AVE ticket.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Zaragoza is served by the high speed train AVE that reaches Madrid in approximately 1 hour 30 minutes and Barcelona in approx. 1 hour 45 minutes. There are up to 19 trains a day in each direction for Madrid and 12 for Barcelona. Regular rates start at about €50 to Madrid and €60 to Barcelona, but you can get up to a 60% discount if you book through the web 15 days in advance.

A cheaper way to get to Zaragoza from Barcelona is using the "Regional Express" - a slow train going on an ancient track, stopping at every small village and some those post-industrial ghost towns, and really astonishing landscapes. The ride takes 5 hours, costs €22.

Other neighbouring cities like Huesca, Teruel, Pamplona, Logroño, Bilbao or Valencia are connected by a few daily conventional trains.

For more information on train schedules and prices, visit the website of RENFE. Note, there isn't a single cafe/bar with wifi in the station.

All trains and buses arrive to Delicias station. The city centre is some 2 km away from, and can be reached using urban buses 34 and 51 or by taxi (10 minutes, around €10)

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

You can reach Zaragoza either from Madrid or Barcelona in 3:45 hours. The coach company is ALSA and the single/return ticket costs around €15/€26. Zaragoza is also well communicated with other main capital cities, such as Valencia and Bilbao. There is possibility of getting to Zaragoza from France by bus. The main lines travel from Lourdes, Tarbes, Pau and Oloron.

For bus schedules from Barcelona, also try Barcelona Nord.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

Zaragoza is very well connected by free speedways with Huesca (1h),Teruel (2h), Madrid (3h), and by toll highways with Barcelona (3h, €30),Pamplona and Bilbao. Traffic around the city is relatively light except on some weekends and holidays.

Free parking in the city centre is very scarce. Most streets have metered parking limited to 1 or 2 hours. Underground paying parkings are scattered in the entire city and usually have free places.

Distances to/from Zaragoza: Madrid 312 km, Barcelona 307 km, Bilbao 305 km, Lleida/Lerida 150 km


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Public bus

If you plan on busing around, a card costs €7 at any tobacco kiosk (initial card fee of €2, so when charging it next time will just cost €5). With the card you can change lines within an hour without being charged again. Single tickets are €1.35.

Tourist bus

Sightseeing bus is another option. They provide more than just a great way to travel around the city, available to all pockets. It costs €7 (free if you have the Zaragoza card) and the ticket can be used the entire day.

Transportation - Get Around

By Taxi

The taxi drivers are plentiful and mostly honest.

 

Transportation - Get Around

By Bicycle

There is a shared bicycle system called Bizi. It has a fairly good website in English which allows you to get a temporary subscription online beforehand. This subscription is valid of three days and costs €5,28. As with most shared bicycle system, the first 30 minutes are free after which you'll pay €0,52 per additional 30 minutes. This is up until 2 hours, after which you'll have to pay a penalty of €3,16 per hour. The deposit is €200. After getting a temporary subscription online, you receive a subscription number which, together with your pin code of choice, enables you to take a bike immediately upon arrival in Zaragoza. Bike availability is usually good, and there are plenty of stations in the city centre, as well as near the Delicias train station and the expo area. However, be aware that in January 2015, the screens of many bicycle stations were not properly working (broken, unreadable text, flickering...). Since this makes it impossible to enter the subscription number and pin code and therefore also impossible to borrow a bike (though it probably still works for annual subscribers who have a contactless card), the system becomes somewhat unreliable.

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping


Shopping streets

Zaragoza has much to offer in the way of shopping, with most central streets being lined with shopping opportunities. Shopping area stretches from Residencial Paraisoin Sagasta to the Plaza de España. The most exclusive shops are on Francisco de Vitoria, San Ignacio de Loyola, Cadiz, Isaac Peral and the streets crossing them. Craft and souvenir shops are located at Anticuarios de la Plaza de San Brun.


Department stores and shopping centres

  • El Corte Inglés. The iconic Spanish department store chain has its outlet in Zaragoza on Paseo de la Independencia close to Plaza de España
  • Aragonia. A modern multi-functional centre in the southern district of Romareda.
  • Centro Comercial AugustaAvenida De Navarra 180 (next to Delicias train station). Shops, restaurants, cinema and free WIFI access in a centre behind the Delicias station.
  • GranCasaCalle de la Poetisa María Zambrano, 35. Shopping mall where you can find everything including shops, restaurants a bowling alley and cinemas.

Markets

  • Mercado Central (Launza Market). On a site which has been a market place since the Middle Ages. It is the perfect place to buy Zaragozan products as well as observe the atmosphere of a traditional Spanish market. Go there if you are looking for food and fresh produce
  • Plaza de Toros de la Misericordia (Misericordia Bullring), Calle Vicente Gómez Salvo, 58. The place to go on Sunday as it is the venue for the traditional flea market
  • Mercadillo La Romareda. The largest open-air market

Restaurants


What to order

Some of the best known regional specialities are:

  • Bacalao al Ajoarriero, cod-fish with garlic and eggs,
  • Huevos al Salmorejo, eggs with cold tomato cream,
  • Longanizas y Chorizos, highly appreciated kinds of sausages,
  • Ternasco Asado, roasted young lamb,
  • Pollo al Chilindrón, chicken in a sauce of cured ham, tomatoes, onions and paprika,
  • Cordero a la Pastora, lamb Shepherd's style,
  • Lomo de Cerdo a la Zaragozana, cutlet,
  • Migas a la Aragonesa, a dish made of crumbs scrambled with an egg and chorizo,
  • Huevos rotos con foie, scrambled eggs with foie gras, often served with roasted potatoes and slices of smoked ham (jamon)
  • Borrajas is a vegetable which can only be found in Aragon. It is usually eaten with olive oil,
  • Melocotón con vino, peaches in wine, is a good option for dessert, though sometimes it is hard to find a restaurant serving this.

Tapas

Zaragoza is well known because of its many tapas bars. A "Tabla" is a wooden plate in which different tapas like cheese and sausages are served, often with a bottle of wine in the price. The best place to get tapas is the old tapas, commonly calledCasco viejo with is a bunch of small streets overflowing with restaurants.

  • Casa LacCalle de los mártires 12. 1:00AM-4:00PM, 8:00PM-12:00AM; Sundays - 12:30AM-5:00PM. An excellent choice for higher-end tapas
  • Casa de MarCalle San Andrés, 9. A four person meal with two bottles of wine costs less than €12 each..
  • Los VictorinosC/José de la Hera, 6 (alley off Calle Don Jaime I).Probably the best tapas bar in town (although surely not the cheapest!). Try the Boletus Edulis tapa.
  • PalomequeC/. Palomeque,  +34 976 214082. A classier, unusual take on a tapas bar, but not overpriced compared to some of the other "high-end tapas".It is advisable to call ahead, as this is a very popular restaurant. €10-€20 per person.

Other restaurants

  • Taberna La PiedraCortes de Aragon, 64. Delicious if a bit pricey. The Piedras and Solomillos are highly recommended. Great for beef lovers or lovers of very traditional Spanish food. €50 per person.
  • La Tertulia TaurinaC/ Pignatelli 122. Traditional Castilian-Aragonese cuisine restaurant in the old part of the city. Slow Food with great selection of meats. Menu of the day €12 (local wine and desserts included) or à la carte for around €36.
  • AmorinoPaseo Independencia, 25 (Near Plaza España, down the stret from El Corte Ingles). High quality Italian style ice cream. Somewhat pricey. One scoop €3.

Sights & Landmarks


Churches

  • Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora del Pilar). Zaragoza actually has two cathedrals, the arguably more famous one is the one on the bank of the river Ebro. Holding an additional rank of basilica, this cathedral venerates the Virgin Mary who reportedly appeared to Saint James the Apostle on said riverbank during his travels in Iberia. Mary appeared on a pillar, which led to her being venerated under this particular name and also gave origin to the unusual Spanish female given name Pilar.
    Saint James is believed to have had a small shrine constructed by the pillar, of which nothing remains, but subsequently a large basilica was built on the site in the 3rd century under the rule of the Roman Emperor Constantine. This basilica has seen many reconstructions over the years finally becoming a Gothic church in the 15th century. The present-day version of the church superseded it and was constructed on the orders of King Charles II of Spain between 1681 and 1872. The protracted construction has been caused by frequent redesigns, including a reorientation, additions of towers and cupolas. It also allowed for the domes to be painted by Francisco Goya a century after the construction started, and the vault paintings are now one of the main attractions on the inside of the cathedral.
     
  • Cathedral of the Savior of Zaragoza (La Seo de Zaragoza).summer: 10:00-21:00, winter: 10:00-18:30. Located on the Plaza de la Seo, the cathedral is referred to as la seo ("the see") to distinguish it from the other cathedral, el pilar. La Seo has originally been constructed one the site one of the first mosques during the Moorish domination of Aragon, built perhaps as early as the 8th century, and destroyed to make way for a romanesque church in the 12th century. Zaragoza became an independent diocese in the 14th century and the church became its cathedral, immediately being afforded renovations in the gothic and moorish (mudéjar) styles. Many other reconstructions followed, due to both changing tastes and architectural necessities, as parts of the cheaply-built cathedral began to fail over time, including the collapse of the its in the 15th century.
    In the 17th century, the church has been involved in a canon law battle with the newly-reconstructed Basilica of Our Lady on the Pillar over which should be the seat of the diocese and thus the cathedral, which finally saw Pope Clement X declare them joint cathedrals with special provisions to make sure both enjoy equal status. La Seo is now a mixture of styles spanning between 12th and 19th centuries, and features an exquisite collection of tapestries. Entrance closes sometimes during the day when there's mass.
    €4
  • Iglesias Mudejares (Moorish churches). Mudejar is a style that mixes Christian and Muslim tradition. Good examples of that are a part of La Seo cathedral, Magdalena church, San Miguel church and San Pablo church.
    • Iglesia de Santa María Magdalena. Distinctive for its square tower and polygonal apse, la Magdalena stands out within the old town of Zaragoza as one of the few relatively intact examples ofMudéjar architecture of the 14th century. That said, its interior was renovated in the baroque period. 
    • Iglesia de San Miguel de los Navarros. Another example of Mudéjar architecture, with a square tower and polygonal apse reminiscent of that of la Magdalena. It retained a richly-gilded Renaissance high altar by Damian Forment, but its tower did not escape a baroque intervention in the form of a spire. 
    • Iglesia de San PabloCalle de San Pablo 42. The third Mudéjarchurch features a gothic portal and another altar by Damián Forment, as well as an pyramid-spired octogonal tower, whose shape is echoed by two lanters flanking the portal. 
  • Basílica of Santa Engracia.

Moorish remains

  • Las Murallas. Parts of the ancient wall that surrounded the city are still standing.

Expo

  • Expo 2008. In 2008 Zaragoza hosted an international expo for which a new areal was opened with many new buildings designed by famous architects such as Zaha Hadid. It is now possible to stroll around the areal. The only facility open to tourists is the aquarium.

Parks

  • Parque Grande José Antonio Labordeta (Parque Grande Primo do Riveira). A vast city park from 1929 with impressive features, arrangements and a monumental staircase. Originally named after the dictator Miguel Primo de Riveira, it was renamed in 2008 following the death of the prominent Aragonese singer-songwriter, activist and politican José Antonio Labordeta. The city's Botanical Gardens are included within the park's grounds.
  • Puerta del Carmen (Carmen Gate). A surviving example of what once were 12 entry gates to the walled city of Zaragoza. The gate looks ancient, but was actually built in 1789 in neoclassical style, hence its resemblance to Roman ruins. The gate's dishevelled appearance documents its role in several sieges of the city and this is why the gate was not restored to its original glory - although minor repairs were carried out in 1997, when a bus collided with it
  • Puente de Piedra (Stone Bridge). The central bridge of Zaragoza built in the 15th century and reconstructed many times afterwards to repair flood damage and reinforce the construction. Today it is restricted almost entirely to pedestrian traffic and features four pillars at its ends with lions, symbols of Zaragoza, atop each of them

Zaragoza Card

You can buy a Zaragoza Card, a prepaid product for tourists visting Zaragoza that combine many of the services tourists are likely to use in a prepaid package. You can buy cards valid over 24h (EUR 20) or 48h (EUR 23):

  • Free entry to major museums and monuments.
  • 24 hour unlimited use of the Saragossa Tourist Bus.
  • Prepaid public transportation (5 trips with the 24h card, 7 trips with the 48h card)
  • Including guided tours and the services of the “roaming” tourist guides.

The cards can be bought online or at Tourist Information offices around Zaragoza.

Museums & Galleries

  • Caesaraugusta route. A route of 4 museums with a joint ticket is available in better price than separately. The route exposes monuments from times of Caesar August (I century B.C.):
    • Port.
    • Forum.
    • Bathes.
    • Theatre.
  • Museo de ZaragozaPlaza de los Sitios 6. The municipal museum is free and is very much worth a visit for both its impressive mosaics from Caesaraugusta and its celebrated collection of Goya.
  • Museo Ibercaja Aznar. Another free museum displaying a collection of Goya and temporary exhibitions.

Things to do

  • The Parque Grande is excellent for a walk or a chill. Huge in size, you forget the city, and the many fountains adds to distraction.

Swimming pools for hot days

Summer days can be very hot in Zaragoza. If you prefer relaxing by the swimming pool over a sightseeing program, here are a few suggestions. Public swimming pools in Zaragoza are generally clean and well maintained. The entrance fee is some €3 for an adult. Open-air pools are open until 9 or 10PM in the evening.

  • Centro Deportivo Municipal ActurC/ Pablo Ruiz Picasso s/n (near Avenida de los Pirineos). Multiple swimming pools, large lawn area. Few trees, hard to find a place in the shadow.
  • Centro Deportivo Municipal SaldubaPaseo de Mairano Renovales s/n (Part of Parque Primo de Rivera between Calle de Manuel Lasala and Paseo de San Sebastián). 50m pool, the right place for serious swimming.
  • Palacio Municipal de DeportesCalle de Luis Bermejo. Small pool, plenty of trees for shadow.

Festivals and events

The annual Fiestas del Pilar last for nine days, with its main day on 12 October. Since this date coincided in 1492 with the first sighting by Christopher Columbus of the Americas, that day is also celebrated as El Día de la Hispanidad (Columbus Day) by Spanish-speaking people worldwide.

There are many activities during the festival, from the massively attendedPregon (opening speech) to the final fireworks display over the Ebro; they also include marching bands, dances such as "Jota aragonesa" (the most popular dance of folklore music genre), a procession of gigantes y cabezudos, concerts, exhibitions, vaquillas, bullfights, fairground amusements, and fireworks. Some of the most important events are theOfrenda de Flores, or Flower Offering to St. Mary of the Pillar, on 12 October, when an enormous surface resembling a cloak for St. Mary is covered with flowers, and the Ofrenda de Frutos on 13 October, when all the autonomous communities of Spain offer their typical regional dishes to St. Mary and donate them to soup kitchens.

Nightlife

There is a number of good wines produced in Aragon.

Tareas of Calle de Espoz y Mina and Calle Mayor, which are a stone's throw from Plaza del Pilar, have plenty of varied bars from which to choose.

  • Cafe PragaPlaza de la Santa Cruz 13, El Tubo,  +34 976 20 02 51. Great local favorite that has live music playing in the main bar, or you can retreat to the upstairs terrace and enjoy a tasty beverage overlooking the plaza.
  • La CucarachaCalle del Temple 25, El Tubolla. Laidback and casual student hang out that doesn't really get going until the early hours of the morning.
  • Rock and Blues CafeCuatro de Agosto 5-7, El Tubo. Unleash your inner rock god at this long standing favorite, where live music plays throughout the week.
  • La Campana de los PerdidosPrudencio, 7. 21h - 3h. Enjoy a beer while listening live music, theatre, poetry from Wednesday to Sunday

Things to know


When to visit

The best time to visit Zaragoza is during spring (April to mid-June) and autumn (Sept-Oct). In late June and July the days can be quite hot but in the evenings the city is bustling with people going out for dinner or having a beer with friends in a terrace. In August the city is almost deserted, with most people being on holidays at the mountains or the coast, and more that half the bars, restaurants and small business closed.

The major city festival is El Pilar that takes place every year the week of the 12th of October, with lots of concerts, performances and street animations. It is also the best time to see a bullfight in Zaragoza.

The Easter week, although not in the same league that the Andalucia or Calanda counterparts, is very scenic, with several processions going over the city centre every day with their dramatic sculptures, black-dressed praying women and hundreds of hooded people playing drums.

Safety in Zaragoza

 

Very High /9.7

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Very High / 8.8

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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