The Monasterio de Piedra Natural Park is the most visited private park in Europe. After entering the park (13.50 Euros) we enter a world of nature in the middle of a dry region in the south of Aragón.
During the route, perfectly guided with the map we received, which is about 2 hours and a half long, we will see the great number of different waterfalls in the park. You have all types of them: strong, steep, calm, with trees, with little water…and even one with a cave, the most popular one, Cola de Caballo.
I recommend that you wear waterproof boots or sandals because there is always a lot of water and some parts can be flooded. Also, even in August it gets cold, so bring a jacket.
The only thing that bothered me in this beautiful place was the engravings on stone and trees that some uncivilized people that cannot appreciate nature leave there. Also, I didn’t like the screaming of some groups of people who think that they are at the fair. But other than these annoying groups, the visit to the park was wonderful.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is perhaps, along with the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and La Sagrada Famila, one of the most famous and frequently-visited Catholic cathedrals in all of Spain. According to tradition, it traces its founding back to the era of St. James ve saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary instructing him to build a church on the spot.
Since then, the church has undergone an amazing expansion arriving, finally, at the hulking baroque wonder we have before us. Once you enter Zaragoza, you notice it's four towers and massive dome peeking between buildings and along the horizon, calling you to visit. The first thing you notice as you enter are the proportions: it's massive...really, breath-takingly massive. The gargantuan pillars hold up a ceiling covered in giant domes, each one decorated by some of Spain's most famous artists like Goya. Staring down the football-field sized basilica and taking in the domes, the paintings, the geometric tiled floors, and the excruciatingly detailed decoration of the altars and chapels built into the walls is really an impacting sensation.
Make sure to get there early so you can visit the north end of the cathedral as well (they close it off many times in the afternoons) and enjoy the silence, space, and light filtering through the domes and taking the elevator ride to the top of the San Francisco de Borja tower to enjoy the views of the basilica from above.
The Aljafería Palace was probably the best thing I visited in Zaragoza, although its Mudéjar churches and basilicas were great too. This castle-palace was built by the Moors in the 11th century and, along with the Alhambra in Granada and the Mosque in Cordoba, is one of the best examples of Islamic art and architecture in Spain.
The courtyard with its gently tricking waterfalls, creeping ivy, flowers, and Islamic archways, is the definition of tranquility. Later, as you move through the rest of the building, it's like traveling through history. You move through rooms that are Islamic, Mudéjar, Renaissance...all with those mind-boggling ornate ceilings which are so common in Spain.
It's free to visit on Sundays (although you can't visit the administrative part, but who cares?) and if you get there early, you'll beat the tour groups and have the place to yourself. I think this should be your first visit in Zaragoza. You won't regret it!
This is an ideal place to spend a morning, buy some souvenirs, visit the Cathedral, eat at the restaurant Las Palomas (buffet, self-service), sunbathe, take a sightseeing bus, enjoy an ice cream and contemplate the beautiful river running behind the Cathedral.
I went on a photography course in the summer and, one evening, I came across a spectacular scene in the city. I had to capture it with my camera. It happened pretty fast, as few minutes after the sun was gone it was completely obscured. This is the final result, I hope you like it.
La Seo Cathedral is, in my humble opinion, the most stunning cathedral in Zaragoza, even more than the world-famous Basilica de Pilar. It's located at the east end of the Plaza de PIlar, right behind the Roman Forum museum.
Externally, it's geometrically-stunning Mudéjar wall of the Parroquieta gives you an indication of the granduer which lies inside. The whole cathedral is done in white ceilings and columns and there are some of the most ornate and complex chapels I've ever seen. Back in the day, only the wealthy could afford to add a chapel or mausoleum to the walls of the cathedral and it became, I imagine, something of a status symbol. You can see that each family tried to out do the others in terms of beauty, ostentatiousness, and opulence.
There are chapels featuring massive marble sculptures, Moorish tile work, wrought iron, gold leaf, amazing oil paintings, and intricately-designed floral sculptures in stucco. Simply put, it's overwhelming. You can literally spend hours in here going over the details. Even if you're not an architecutre or design buff (which I'm definately not), it's a wonderful place to be. You 100% have to make a visit if you're in Zaragoza.
When you decide to visit a place like Belchite, you can’t forget what happened in the Spanish Civil War. The experience is devastating, the destruction is complete. Belchite, ancient town, like the sign in the entrance says, is an enormous open air horror museum. It is an enclave that is disappearing with time and nature. An enormous ruin that will disappear with time and this is why I felt like documenting it.
I was also interested in the architecture of the buildings. The vault compartments that have disappeared with the bombings or are severely damaged, yet the transverse arches are still standing. It is like being in a practical course of architecture. It is a corner of the history of Spain that is worth visiting.
The stone bridge of Zaragoza is an old bridge, built in the twelfth century, which was built to ensure that at any time of year, people could cross the river Ebro. They began building the bridge we see today in the fifteenth century, but there are older parts. There is also a parapet called San Lazaro, and back then it functioned like a wall that kept river water from flooding the city center.
At that time, the city was just located in the old city center, and people passed the bridge just to go to work the fields that were on the other side, or for traveling. The bridge represented a breakthrough at this time, as it was one of the first permanent bridges in the country, and improved the level of communication and trade, making things much easier for people in the region. It also improved conditions for those in the basin of Madrid and the city of Barcelona. It was built in ashlar stone. They were recently restoring the bridge, so it could only be seen from a distance. With the Cathedral del Pilar next to it, it makes for a very nice view of the city.
I knew that together with Teruel and Calatayud, Tarazona is one of the best Mudejar examples in Aragon. But, in an afternoon I discovered it is not only a city with a surprising and varied architecture, but also a place with soul, one of those that surround you and make you want to know more.
Set in the extreme west of Aragon, on an ancient strategic cross road to Navarra, Castilla y León and La Rioja, Tarazona has been since its remote celtic-iberian origins an open city, multicultural, where Jews, Moors and Christians lived together peacefully. This remarkable diversity, impressed like a seal on its character, makes it irresistibly welcoming and mysterious at the same time.
Sometimes dark and silent, others lively and full of light, Tarazona, as if it wanted to tell its own long history, changes at every step. From a distance it seems imposing, squeezed on a gentle hill looking at the sun and the River Queiles. The cathedral is also imposing, a church begun in the XII in gothic style, to which has been added over time a Mudejar dome and a spectacular Mudejar tower.
The old Bullring happens to be one of the most remarkable in Spain. Built at the end of the XVIII century, its octagonal shape has been surrounded from the first moment by dwellings which even today are inhabited. And after crossing the river, as soon as you start to go up the streets which are in shadows because of their narrowness, the magic of the disorganised architecture of the Barrio Alto traps you, with its older walls built on the site of even older walls, the Bishop’s Palace on top of the Moorish foundations of La Zuda, remains of medieval walls in the middle of the village, the untouched Jewish quarter with its hanging houses, the quarter of Cinto, where which they say is the origin of the city.
On the top of the knoll, after discovering more churches, exquisite towers and buildings in the Mudejar style, the Town Hall dazzles, a renaissance building whose profusely decorated façade has been converted into a symbol and image of the city.
The museum of the Theatre of Caesaraugusta, in San Jorge street, next to the exhibition of the Rosario de Cristal, forms part of the Romanic route of Zaragoza, together with the Museum of the Public Baths of Caesaraugusta, the Museum of the River Port of Caesaraugusta and the Museumof the Forum of Caesaraugusta. The entrance costs €2.5 but it’s possible to buy a combined ticket for the four museums of the route for €7 or €5 for students.
You can take photos in the interior, but without flash. Of the museums on the route, this is the largest and the most complete, having three visible floors. At street level there are two rooms with information panels about the evolution of the city and the theatre throughout the years. In the basement you can see various models of the theatre and remains found during the excavations, basically remains of statues. On this floor you can also see an audio-visual presentation, which in this case is projected in a cinema type room, with seats. Also you can get access to the remains of the theatre itself, the most interesting thing in the museum.
It is not as spectacular as the roman theatre of Mérida, but it is quite well preserved. Finally, on the first floor you can see various display cases with ancient coins and various audio-visual explanations, as well as a virtual theatre. Worthwhile visiting this museum.
This museum is located in the Plaza de la Catedral de la Seo, across the square from the Basilica del Pilar, so it's hard to miss. This museum is part of the Roman route that runs through Zaragoza, together with the Public Baths Museum, the River Port Museum, and the Theatre Museum. Admission is €2.50, but you can buy a joint ticket for the four museums for €7 (€5 if you are students). You're allowed to take pictures inside, though not using flash. The museum has three floors, although the ground floor has nothing but the reception. Upstairs, you can see the remains of the ancient Roman forum and the market. On the second floor, models show what life was like in the forum, and there are some windows showing ancient remains, like pottery and pieces of statues. Here you can also enjoy a film that runs for about 10 minutes, showing the arrival of Romans in the city. Definitely worth a visit.
The Monasterio de Piedra lake is always so quiet and peaceful that it looks like a mirror, reflecting the whole sky and the surrounding scenery around the lake. A haven of peace, which will lead the way, crossing several wooden bridges and the nearby farm, the first to be built in Spain.
Uncastillo, which together with Ejea de los Caballeros, Sádaba, Tauste and Sos del Rey Católico form the five medieval villages which gave the county its name, it hasn’t changed much over the years. So much so, that it seems like the village has been frozen in time.
The stones full of history tell the stories of more than a thousand years, six churches the majority Romanic, a Torre del Homenaje –also Romanic- dominating the farm house converted into a very interesting museum, a haughty ruined gothic palace, winding streets onto which palaces and manor houses with entrances of white painted stone look, a small square, that of Santa María, in which the evening we visited I was witness to, surrounded by fireworks and a noisy recording of the noise of sheep and cows made by their friends, a picturesque wedding of a local shepherd.
According to the last census, Uncastillo has 883 inhabitants; not many, although they appear less, especially when night falls and everybody stays indoors. Then the yellow light of the street lamps, the little dark passageways, the echo of “good evening” of a neighbour returning late, make you think that this place does not exist and what is more it is a fairy tale.
Something that caught my attention is that this bridge had its own website, so I leave it for you here so that you can take a look, it's a bit little curious. Its structure is huge and makes you feel tiny, and yet despite its cost, especially at the economic level, it seems to me more striking than pretty.
The legend of the foundation of Daroca is lovely: they say that 800 years ago, six consecrated wafers were wrapped in a piece of cloth or “altar cloth” and hidden to protect them from the Arab sacking of Daroca. On recovering them, the wafers appeared to be stuck to the altar cloth and bathed in blood. Commandants from various parts of Spain fought for them.
Because of this, they decided to load the altar cloth on the back of a mule: wherever it went, there the altar cloth would stay. The mule wanderedfor 12 days, and finally returned to Daroca, where a church was constructed – the Basilica of Santa María de los Sagrados Corporales- to keep this divine gift.
Made of miracles and medieval legends, Daroca charms with its romantic atmosphere and its magical area. Surrounded by more than 4 Kilometres of remains of walls and towers, and set along a narrow ravine, the village is a good place to stop and to wander. Along the emblematic Mayor Street, Mudejar, Romanic and baroque footprints tell of its ancient splendour.
This is a truly spectacular walking route. We climbed the ruta de los cazadores, about 2 hours going uphill which was rather difficult, we kept on and eventually arrived at the horses tail, an impressive waterfall. The way back was easier, and we made multiple stops. Magnificent landscape.
The Church of Santa Maria de Magdalena is one of the many eye-catching Mudéjar churches found in Zaragoza, and has perhaps the most aesthetically beautiful Mudéjar tower, complete with geometric brickwork, arched windows, and green and white tile-work reminiscent of Moorish mosque architecture. The structure itself dates back to a 12th century Romanesque church but the current incarnation was completed in the 14th century.
To get there, just head east in the Plaza de Pilar and go behind the Seo Cathedral. You can't miss the tower!