Which region of Spain is Zaragoza in?
Zaragoza – or as the Spaniards say: Zaragoza – is one of the most important cities in Spain, capital of the Spanish Autonomous Community of Aragon, as well as the province of Zaragoza. The Expo city 2008 – with about 670,000 inhabitants, the fifth largest city in Spain – is located in the northeast of Spain at an altitude of 243 meters on the banks of the River Ebro halfway between Madrid and Barcelona.
There are many reasons and attractions to visit Zaragoza, this open and hospitable city, which is not so well known and not so in the focus of tourist flows as Barcelona,Valencia, Madrid or Seville.
In the interior of northeastern Spain, the province of Zaragoza is located in the Aragon region. Thanks to the river Ebro, which flows through the region, Zaragoza can boast of diverse landscapes. Of particular note are the Dehesa del Moncayo Natural Park and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Las Bardenas.
On a cultural level, the province has numerous examples of Romanesque and Cistercian style (especially in the Cinco Villas district), Mudéjar art (the ensemble of Mudéjar architecture of Aragon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Sephardic art in places such as Sos, Uncastillo and Ejea de los Caballeros. In the provincial capital Zaragoza, the Basilica Nuestra Señora del Pilar is especially worth seeing.
From a gastronomic point of view, the wines of the regional appellations of origin as well as the vegetable products from the Ebroniederung such as the borage are particularly recommended.
The building is a jewel of Baroque art, the absolute landmark of Zaragoza and the largest Baroque building in Spain. The basilica was built during the 17th and 18th centuries in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Virgen del Pilar, and is now a protected monument.
The square in front of the basilica, the Plaza del Pilar, is also impressive. Right next to the square stands the late Gothic Catedral del Salvador – called “la Seo” for short – the oldest church in Zaragoza, which was built in the 12th century.
From the outside, the four corner towers and the eleven domes of the Baroque church del Pilar stand out – the most beautiful view of the basilica is from the river Ebro. In the interior of the basilica, among other things, the sacred chapel is visible and remarkable – a work by Ventura Rodríguez, in which the portrait of the Virgen del Pilar is kept. Also worth mentioning are the magnificently decorated wall and ceiling frescoes as well as the altar in the Santa Capilla. Also an ornament is the main altar, made in alabaster, and the Renaissance choir. The Basílica has impressive dimensions with a length of 130 meters and a width of 67 meters. The Pilar Basilica, together with the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, is one of the most important religious and spiritual centers in Spain. In addition, with its valuable historical works of art from various eras, it is an artistic gem of the first order. Particularly noteworthy are the frescoes painted by Goya in the small choir and in the dome “Regina Martyrum”.
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