Zaragoza - CaesaraugustusOctober 1, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C
We have driven past Zaragoza, Spain's 5th largest city, a couple of times having been unable to find a decent place to stay. But a great municipal aire with a tram stop next to it gave us the opportunity to finally see the city.
The Romans founded Caesaraugustus (from which Zaragoza is derived) in 14 BC and, during the 1 & 2 centuries AD, large public works were undertaken to create a city of splendour that reigned as one the Iberia's most important commercial centres. Then the Visigoths arrived and sacked the place in 472 AD.
As medieval Zaragoza developed, Caesaraugustus lay buried and forgotten for 1500 years. Incredibly, it was only in the 1990's while excavating building works were taking place that the hidden treasures below the ground were revealed. We have visited numerous Roman theatres in our travels and, though this one was not as in tact as others, the way in which it was displayed, explained and re-created was by far the best and we learnt so much. Did you know that the Romans used concrete and boards to create walls which were then finished with alabaster, marble or smooth stone?
The Basilica de Nuestra Senõra del Pilar is one of the best we have ever visited. Located on the huge Plaza del Pilar, the exterior is a feast for the eyes but the spacious, baroque interior, with inner dome, complete with frescoes by Goya, is something else. Many pilgrims visit the Basilica as the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared here atop a marble pillar (pilar).
The famous painter Francisco de Goya was born nearby and we found out all about him and his art with a visit to the Museo Goya, recently refurbished and well laid out over three floors.
The free aire only allowed us to stay for 3 days so it was time to go but we could easily have stayed longer. Now we know where to stay, we shall definitely be returning to see the other magnificent sights we didn't have time for on this trip.Read more