The noble beginnings of Zaragoza begin when Augustus founded there a city called Caesaraugusta to settle army veterans from the Cantabrian wars
The foundation date of Caesaraugusta has not been set with total 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 5th century
In 714 the Berbers and Arabs took control of the city, renaming it Saraqusta (سرقسطة).
It later became part of the Emirate of Cordoba
It grew to become the biggest Muslim controlled city of Northern Spain and as the main city of the Emirate’s Upper March, Zaragoza was a hotbed of political intrigue
In 777 Charlemagne was invited by Husayn, the Wali (governor) of Zaragoza, to take the submission of the city
But when Charlemagne marched an army to the city gates he found Husayn to have had a change of heart and was forced to give up after a month-long siege of the city, facing Basque attacks on his rear guard on his withdrawal.
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 Cordoban Caliphate.
Zaragoza is linked by legend to the beginnings of Christianity in Spain. According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared miraculously to Saint James the Great in the first century, standing on a pillar.
The Church contains innumerable beautiful works of art….
This legend is commemorated by a famous Catholic basilica called Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar)
The city walls, churches, basilicas, palaces, stately houses and squares of the old quarter reflect the different civilizations that settled the city.
Romans, Moors, Jews and Christians left their cultural legacy behind, waiting to be admired to this day. There are certain monuments and places that are simply not to be missed.
You can start the day in Plaza del Pilar Square, alongside the Ebro River. Here you will find three of the city’s emblematic buildings: The Pilar Basilica, church and universal symbol of Zaragoza; La Lonja Palace, the region of Aragon‘s most important 16th century civil building, venue for many exhibitions throughout the year; San Salvador Cathedral (the “Seo”), Aragon’s most valuable and significant monument, where you will find medieval artistic styles reflected, along with Renaissance and Baroque elements. Be sure to look at the exterior wall of the Parroquieta Chapel, on one side of the Seo – it is the pinnacle of Zaragoza Mudejar architecture.
Then, head for the Caesaraugusta Theatre Museum, just a few minutes walk away. See what the Roman city’s most popular monument was like.
Marvelous restoration, protected by in ingenious dome…
…one can only imagine the marvelous theatrical performances played out on the stage……if you are very quite you can almost hear the echoes…
There are many witnesses to Zaragoza’s imperial past to be seen – the city walls, the Forum, the River Port and the Public Baths, with their respective museums.
Wonderful, near the Roman Wall is a Public Market…
What a fantastic find……..the Market is brimming with goodies……
Then off to lunch at Los Cabezudos Restaurant for al fresco dining….to include Caracoles del Mar
Puente de Piedra ( Stone Bridge) – Bridge across the river Ebro
Puente de Piedra is also called the Bridge of Lions because four lions (symbols of the city) are placed on the pillars at both sides of the bridge.
After touring, the best way to end a stay in Zaragoza is to visit its Plaza del Pilar in the evening as the spires of the city’s two cathedrals make dramatic shadows across the pavement.
In this place where the Romans once walked and where countless pilgrims have journeyed, the warm spirit of Zaragoza shines most brightly. As it has for many centuries, this city continues to invite visitors to enjoy its charms.
But now it is time for dinner…….a cool evening……beautiful fountains….
We found the perfect place to dine….Casa Teo
Marvelous to be traveling Europe during Asparagus Season…..
Then off to the hotel with incredible views of the city….
Zaragoza has an incredible Train Station, where we plan the next stop in our adventure……
wow, great pictures! Umm, what’s that with the eyes in the head?? Just curious. In the market. Kinda creepy.
hahahahah………those are goat heads…….you had me with wattle seeds ……..now it was my turn! Very popular in Arab Cuisine.
Ohhhh, okay, think I’ll pass. 😉
The very name has magic .. ZARAGOSA. A holy city for many religious. A city of intrigue. Oh the stories those walls could tell. The culture. The art. The monuments. It makes one humble to to view them. How fortunate you and Augustine were to have experienced this city. The photographs had me breathless – back and forth to look at each photo again and again. A most wonderful and exciting trip back through time. It is with great joy I traveled this part of Spain with you both. Alas for poor Charlemagne. He’ll be very careful and suspect if he is ever invited invited to a party by the governor of Zargoza
Yes, Virginia……….magic! It was quite amazing as we were swinging through Switzerland and then to France and my most beloved Avignon; we were looking at the map and Augustine said……let’s to Zaragoza go! It was a perfect resting place on our journey……..NEVER did we expect to wander into a place so filled with treasure…………all of it so well preserved and so well loved and respected. We, too were humbled to be able to walk in the presence of such greatness. I am so very glad you enjoyed it with us!
YES. What a wonderful tour. Tin Man, your shots are beautiful! I especially love the photograph of the fountain and the Caesaraugusta Theatre Museum. I love the little walkways. Did you spot any spirits. And the market also looks pretty darn wonderful. Brimming with goodies, indeed. What did you try? T. (I love your tours!)
Theadora, thank you so much for your lovely comments. The Caesaraugusta Theatre Museum was such a wonderful place………..and once again, we were the only people touring it, while the streets were brimming with people. Oh the market was pure delight! I do not remember all the things we ate! I just loved the piggy head with the glasses and cigarette. The chicken feet reminded me of my childhood, as my Mother loved to make pickled chicken feet.
What a magical place to stop, rest and plan your next adventure! Zaragosa seems to have it all. You captured the architecture quite well as usual. I loved the one where the street was wet. Thank you for sharing your tour with us. I always look forward to your next travel post although it is sometimes with envy. Cheers!
Thank you Jo Nell. Zaragoza was such a magical find. We had not expectations, when we planned the stop…..and then we extended our stay to keep exploring. The layers and layer of history are just amazing.
What a fantastic city to visit. You got wonderful photos…I can imagine what it looks like on a bright sunny day.
Thank you for the compliment on the photos, Karen. It was not difficult to get a good shot. The city from afar, reminded me a bit of Verona. The layers of history in Zaragoza are so incredible and the incorporation of all those cultures into the cuisine make it a food lovers delight!
I adore the church and I’m always a sucker for a roman ruin or two, those are particularly stunning!
The Caesaraugusta Theatre was quite impressive…..and the whole city was just magical.