OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR´S TOWER VIEW POINT
Our Lady of the Pilar Basilica is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Zaragoza. But this Baroque jewel also offers us another unforgettable experience, climbing to the top of one of its towers! Fortunately, we can do it the easy way; the ascent will be very comfortable thanks to a modern elevator and two viewpoints at two heights to choose from, depending on how high you want to enjoy the city. Does that sound like a plan?Our Lady of Pilar Basilica has four 98-meter-tall towers, making it the cathedral with the tallest towers in Spain.
They are only equalled in height by the Giralda in Seville. In addition to the elegant towers, it has a large central dome that rises to eighty meters in height and is surrounded by ten domes decorated with thousands of enamelled tiles. The colour scheme used by these bright, diamond-shaped tiles is very characteristic of the Brazilian flag, a feature that often thrills our Brazilian friends. All these innumerable domes and luminous pigmented tiles can be enjoyed from the heights. Fancy joining us? The tower with a viewpoint is the one on the facade facing the river, and it is the nearest to the Santiago Bridge.
We are talking about the Torre San Francisco de Borja(San Francisco de Borja Tower), which was completed in 1961. We can get to the base of this tower from the street through the Basilica´s back door or from an existing entrance within the church. The elevator will take us to the first panoramic viewpoint. When entering the elevator, we will find information on both the price (3 euros per person) and the fact that it is an adapted itinerary, which means that people in wheelchairs can easily access it.
We will take the glass elevator to the first viewpoint, 63 meters high, and travel vertically through the tower´s core. This "balcony" has narrow and elongated windows that provide a fantastic 360º panoramic view of Zaragoza. Since the viewpoint windows are not glazed, we can get a little dirty on windy days. This floor also allows you to see the elevator´s entire machinery, which is fantastic. There is a second perspective, which is even higher, standing at eighty meters! And the only way to get there is by using the stairs, as the upper part of the tower is too narrow for an elevator.
As a result, it would be inaccessible to anyone with limited mobility. Climbing some stairs, we reach a landing that shows a large panoramic photograph of Zaragoza. This is followed by the magical spiral staircase that takes us to the second viewpoint. Here a series of windows, this time glazed, offers us a unique and breathtaking view of the city, the river, its bridges and above all, of the Basilica itself!
Plaza del Pillar, s / n. Zaragoza
FRUITS OF ARAGON AND A HUUUUUUUGE SURPRISE!
We have "a very sweet" gastronomic suggestion for you today. The top quality version of this product must follow strict rules monitored by the "C" quality-stamp that is synonymous with Quality in Aragon for its production and marketing. We are talking about the Fruits of Aragón, a very exclusive sweet.The fruits of Aragon are simply fruits that have been dipped in chocolate. However, the fruits and chocolate used must be specific, and the manufacturing process must adhere to strict guidelines.
Since it is coated in dark chocolate, it has the look of a bonbon. But this isn´t just chocolate. Orange, peach, apricot, plum, apple, pear, fig, and cherry are the only fruits that can be used in its preparation. The fruits used to denote their various flavours. It will never be Fruit of Aragon if it is made with another fruit. Something else to keep in mind is that the topping chocolate must contain at least 35% cocoa butter. Of course, all colourants and preservatives must be natural. After gathering its ingredients, the juiciest pieces of these fruits are cooked in syrup with much sugar.
Depending on the type of sweet you want to make, some liquor can also be added. After that, the candied fruits are dipped in chocolate. YuMmmmmy!Julio Asn, a pastry chef, patented his creation in the 1930s and marketed it in small "roscaderos," a small basket that resembled those used by market gardeners to transport their produce to the market. Interestingly, this artisan confectioner was in charge of making the wedding cake for King Alfonso 13thand his new English bride, Victoria Eugenia, at their wedding. Frutas de Aragon is currently sold in various pastry shops and can be seen in many of theshowcases of shops´ surrounding Our Lady of the Pilar Square. They are served in small baskets similar to those used to transport fruit, with each piece wrapped in colourful paper.
We should not ignore a sweet that has flooded many stores in Zaragoza and is an ideal gift for children and adults. These are the massive cobblestone-shaped candies in which Our Lady of Pilar is depicted.The most significant pieces can reach half a kilo! It is very important not to discard the wrapping, as it contains a fragment of an Aragonese folk dance song traditional from the area.
According to legend, this candy created as a gift for King James I, and therefore its size was to be equal to the monarch´s greatness. Strawberry, peach, lemon, and anise are the most popular flavours. They are currently available in a variety of sizes, including large, medium, and even minis! It doesn´t matter how big they are; they are all delicious.
OUR LADY OF THE PILAR´S STRIPS
One of the first things that strike a visitor to the Basilica of our lady of the Pillar is how tiny the image of the Virgin is, particularly when compared to the church´s grandeur. Needless to say, how small the mantle that covers the lower part is. It is enormous for such a petite Virgin! Some interesting facts about the metrics will give you a better understanding of the building. The Basilica is 130 meters long and nearly 67 meters wide, with three naves. Our lady of Pilar´s wooden carving is just 36.5 centimetres in length.
At least the Pillar on which the image rests, covered by the mantle, which is slightly taller: 1.77 metres high. Our lady of Pilar´s peculiar size inspired the famous Pilar´s ribbon, a very simple item that can be purchased as a souvenir and is also a great gift to give to your loved ones. Our Lady of Pilar´s ribbon measures precisely the same length as the statue of the Virgin of Pilar. This piece of silk measures 42 x 2.5 centimetres and is etched with a design that has the same size and the height of the Virgin´s statue: 36.5 centimetres.
This is certified by the letters printed on this drawing: " Measurement of Our Lady of the Pillar". To learn about its origin, we must go back to the 17th century, a time when the mantles of the Virgin of the Pilar were offered to the sick when they were critically ill, and thus, under the protection of the mantle, the sick felt more reassured. But it was very difficult to give the cloaks to the sick who lived far from Zaragoza, so for these cases, the idea was devised to send cloth ribbons that represented the cloak and served to comfort the sick.
As time went by and due to the great demand, it became a practice to deliver the ribbons to the Virgin´s chapel in exchange for a donation. The ribbons no longer protected only the sick, but any believer could buy a piece of cloth. Even travellers visiting Zaragoza could buy one and feel her protection while travelling. If we take a closer look, we can see that many of our neighbours keep one of these ribbons with them, tied to their handbag, the interior mirror of their car, their baby´s pushchair or other places. In this way, they also feel the protection of their beloved "Pilarica".
According to tradition, ribbons should be given to someone for luck and protection. The authentic blessed ribbons can now be purchased in the small shop at the entrance of the Basilica. They are sold for a nominal one euro and are available in twelve colours, which have no other meaning than satisfy all tastes.
EL CABALLITO DE LA LONJA
The Lonja Palaceis located in the Plaza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of Pilar´s Square), next to the Town Hall. This mid-16th century building was the first Renaissance building to be constructed in Zaragoza. Nowadays, the Lonja hosts different exhibitions, and visitors can take the opportunity to visit the building´s interior.Walk around to the backside of this building, on the riverbank side, and you will be able to see a small square where you will find a peculiar little bronze sculpture that conceals a touching story.
This is the story of a kind and affectionate man who wanted to make people happy and spent his whole life portraying children´s happiness so that these memories could be preserved eternally.Ángel Cordero was an instant photographer, one of those mobile photographers who would set up with their wooden cameras at some emblematic point in a city to take pictures of the citizens, delivering the photograph to them almost on the spot, hence nicknamed "minutero" or the Minute man.
In addition to his wooden camera, Angel Cordero had another treasure: a cardboard horse on which the children could mount to be photographed. The photographer immortalised all the happiness they felt when they climbed on the back of this miniature horse, and the families could take the photograph home with them that same day.Ángel Cordero worked with his camera and miniature horse in the little square behind the Palacio de la Lonja for more than 50 years, between 1925 and 1978.
After his retirement, the Zaragoza City Council wanted to pay tribute to this professional and placed a sculpture representing Ángel´s little horse in this place. This bronze sculpture, the work of the artist Francisco Rallo, rests on a base with an inscription paying homage to the photographer.Don´t miss this chance to relive your childhood by visiting the Caballito de la Lonja, as it is popular around here.
Please feel free to take a picture on his back without the worries of damaging it; cast in bronze, it can bear the weight of an adult without any problem! And if you savour an Adoquíncandy while doing so, it will surely bring back some "sweet" memories of childhood.
Caballito de la Lonja in Don Jaime I Street, number 62, Zaragoza.
In addition to the Plaza del Pilar(Pilar Square), there is another vital square in Zaragoza, and that is the Plaza de España(Spanish Square). This place brings together buildings as crucial as the Bank of Spain and the Palacio de la Diputación Provincial. All the buildings that make up the Plaza de España give the place a classical and relatively uniform style, or rather, all of them except one. The one building that dramatically breaks the traditional style of the square thanks to its modern appearance but simultaneously manages to blend in with the rest, achieving an almost homogeneous effect. Such is the magic of Puerta Cinegia(Cinegia Gate).
Puerta Cinegia(Cinegia Gate)complex consists of a business centre, a residential area, a commercial space with a select gastronomic market and a public car park. It was built between 2000 and 2004, and the year after its inauguration, it was awarded the 26th Ricardo Magdalena Architecture Trophy. Its unique name derives from the gate of the Roman wall that stood at this very spot: the Roman Puerta Cinegia.
Since it was constructed in a region with a rich historical heritage, it had to follow strict conservation regulations imposed by the Zaragoza Cultural Heritage Commission to preserve the historical elements that were present: some of the architectural features that are securely maintained in the complex include remnants of the Roman wall, Baroque staircases, artistically valuable facades, and a Gothic patio. Let´s focus our attention on the most tempting part of the complex. The wonderful Puerta Cinegia(Cinegia Gate) is located in the commercial area.
This market consists of 20 gastronomic stalls that form a gourmet route and offer hundreds of hand-picked specialities to suit all palates. A massive statue of the city´s founding emperor dominates this culinary market.A huge César Augusto, ten meters tall and weighing a ton, accompanies us on the route!
But the surprises at Puerta Cinegia don´t stop there. However, on the first floor of the shopping area, which can be reached by taking the glass lift from the entrance hall, you´ll find a real gem: a 15th-century courtyard, an authentic Gothic courtyard in a shopping centre! Such a treasure is used as an art gallery for exhibitions of local artists. Different types of art coexist in the same space and combine to perfection, Cinegiamagic, indeed.
Puerta Cinegia Gastronómica.Coso Street 3550003 - Zaragoza
DARE TO WALK UNDER DEAN´S ARCH
We have been able to enjoy ourselves as if we were little kids in Zaragoza thanks to our suggestions, which included mounting on top of a horse´s back and eating enormous sweets. But now we are going to share with you a legend "for grown-ups". One of those stories that will get you hooked, with two main characters, one unsociable and mean and the other; even worse! Legend has it that in the 13th century, there lived a grumpy dean in Zaragoza called Pascasio de Gormaz. His life evolved between his home and his workplace, the St. Saviours cathedral, avoiding contact with his parishioners.
Only a few metres separated the two buildings, but for this unsociable priest, walking this small distance every day was a real ordeal because of the "danger" involved in running into a neighbour, and what was worse... having to talk to them! That´s how unsociable this priest was. Dean Pascasio, desperate for a way to connect the two buildings where he had spent his childhood, asked for permission to build a bridge between them.
This connection would be made up of a cantilever supported by an arch that would connect Dean´s house and the cathedral without requiring pedestrians to cross the street. He would stop reaching the uneasy customers by crossing the overhang. It was an excellent strategy! However, it turned out that the city´s jurors denied permission. The furious priest, angry at not being able to fulfil his cunning plans, entrusted the task of the enclosed bridge to none other than Satan, who gladly accepted the job of building the passageway. But on one terrible condition: Lucifer would take the souls of everyone who passed under the bridge. It is well known that the devil never misses the mark.
It is not known whether or not Dean Pascasios finally accepted the deal with Lucifer. All that is known is that the enclosed arch bridge was built and exists today. Under the corridor, there is a chilling Gothic arch known as the Arch of the Dean, which survives the passage of time surrounded by bricks and windows with Gothic-Mudejar features. If you want to visit it and if you dare to pass under it, you simply have to go around the Cathedral of the Saviour (La Seo) on the left side until you come across the Arch of the Dean, which has been waiting for you for ages.
Calle del Deán 5, 50001 – Zaragoza.
Zaragoza was the world´s first city with two cathedrals. The strangest thing is that none of the two churches is referred to as a "cathedral." The locals refer to the Cathedral of El Salvadoras "La Seo" since this status was granted at the beginning of the 12th century. Our lady of Pilar Basilicahas been a cathedral since 1676, and although it is one of Spain´s most visited monuments, it is simply known as "El Pilar" by everyone. Both cathedrals are affectionately referred to as "La Seo" and "El Pilar."
The two temples are located in Our lady of the Pillar square, a large esplanade popularly known as "the city´s hall" by Zaragoza´s residents. They feel at home there and celebrate a variety of popular events. We will tell you fascinating facts related to the of Our lady of the Pilar Cathedral-Basilica. Did you know that each of the city´s four colossal towers has a unique name? In addition, the two newest towers hold a lovely tale behind their construction. Let us introduce you to the four towers. Facing the Basilica from its main facade in the Plaza del Pilar(Pilar Square), on the left is the Santiago Tower, which was the first to be built and dated back to 1715.
On the right is the Nuestra Señora del Pilar Tower( Our Lady of the Pilar Tower), which was the second to be erected, almost two hundred years after the first one. Looking towards the banks of the river Ebro, we have the two most recent towers. They dated from the middle of the 20th century and were named after a rich, important and generous couple who donated the money necessary for their construction. The couple were Don Francisco de Borja Urzaiz and his wife Doña Leonor Sala. So the towers were named San Francisco de Borja and Santa Leonor, in honour of and gratitude to this distinguished couple.
On the occasion of their Golden wedding anniversary, this couple, who were blessed with wealth but not children, decided to offer an unforgettable gift to the city of Zaragoza, which ended up being the construction of two towers in Our Lady of the Pilar Basilica that would overlook the Ebro´s banks. What a blessing!But, as fate would have it, Don Francisco died in 1947, leaving Doña Leonor, Urzaiz´s widow, to lead the project alone.
As a result, the two towers were constructed between 1949 and 1961, with the lady passing away just a year after the inauguration. It is as if Doña Leonor did not want to join her husband until the generous project they devised together in life had been completed. So dear friends, this couple had no children, but the legacy they left on Earth will be eternal.
Plaza del Pillar, s / n. Zaragoza.
THE ROMAN CAESARAUGUSTA ROUTE
Fancy travelling back in time? We will travel back in time some 2000 years ago to visit the Roman Caesaraugusta taking the route we recommend below. For this, we offer you an itinerary that includes four museums in which magnificent Roman remains are preserved.Before beginning our route, we must understand some historical facts to understand the Roman ruins thoroughly. The current city of Zaragoza, which has over 2000 years, was originally an Iberiansite. Emperor Caesar Augustusbuilt a colony named Caesaraugusta, honouring its founder in 14 B.C, a well-known city throughout the Roman Empire. Since each of the four museums we will visit is located within a five-minute walking distance, the suggested itinerary can be completed entirely on foot as they are in a nearly straight line.
El Museo del Puerto Fluvial (The River Port Museum) is located on the river´s edge, next to the Stone Bridge. The Ebro river used to be navigable, enabling many piers and ports to be built along its banks. The Port of Caesaraugusta, which became one of the most important in Hispania, was one of the most important river ports on the Ebro River. This museum features archaeological artefacts from the old Port and interactive audio-visuals that will enable us to learn more about the Port´s commercial operation at the time.
From there, we walk to la Seo Square, where we will find the spectacular cubic building that houses the Forum Museum. The ruins of the ancient Roman forum can be seen here, buried underneath the square´s floor in their original spot. The heart of a Roman city, the epicentre of its religious, political, and economic life, was the ancient forum, which was of vital importance. Our journey back in time continues with the Museum of Public Baths, a soothing location for the Romans. The ancient Caesaraugusta residents not only relaxed and washed in these pleasant hot springs, but they also found a spot to socialise. There is still a vast swimming pool and the remains of some latrines, and we can appreciate the beautiful decoration on the walls from that period.
We arrive at the final stop on our Roman journey: the Theater Museum, where we visit the site of the Caesaraugusta Theater, which was one of the largest in Hispania at the time. It was so big that it could hold over 6 000 people in a city of 18 000 people. This museum has a unique feature: a portion of its facilities is surrounded by Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings, demonstrating the city´s cultural melting pot.Each of these museums manages their tickets, which cost about three euros each.
However, a voucher allows you to visit all four museums for the price of seven euros. Other fees for various social sectors can be found here.Museum of the River Port: Plaza de San Bruno 8
Forum Museum: Plaza de la Seo 2
Museum of the Public Baths: Calle San Juan and San Pedro 3-7
Theatre Museum: Calle San Jorge 12
THE STONE BRIDGE AND SAN LÁZARO BALCONY
Every visitor requires some well-deserved rest, and we will not be any different. We´re going to the Balcón de San Lázaro(San Lázaro Balcony), an extraordinary place with lots of history underneath our feet, to enjoy this rest while contemplating some serene and beautiful views. We´ll do so by crossing the ancient Puente de Piedra(Stone Bridge), guarded by four haughty and fierce bronze lions. The Stone Bridge over the Ebro River awaits us right in front of the Caballito de la Lonja.
It is Zaragoza´s oldest bridge, dating from the Roman era and estimated to be about 2000 years old, even though it has had to be reconstructed many times due to river floods throughout history. After the bridge was restored in the 17th century, four stone lions were placed at its ends in a resting position, but they were removed in 1917 to widen the road, and the poor things ended up in a rubbish dump.
Years later, in 1991, it was decided to recover the lion-like image of the bridge and a set of superb bronze lions, in a very vigilant and imposing position, were installed at its entrances, designed by the aforementioned sculptor Francisco Rallo (the sculptor of the Caballito de la Lonja). After meeting the lions and strolling peacefully past the bridge´s seven arches, we will arrive on the other side of the river, where our quiet resting place is, Balcón de San Lázaro(San Lázaro Balcony).
You will recognise it because it is a modern reddish construction whose roof offers a balcony-viewpoint over the river. A ramp leads from the street to this viewpoint, which is easily accessible. There, we will find an esplanade with a long bench where we can relax and take in the incredible views of the Ebro River, the Stone Bridge, and Pilar´s high towers in the background. However, this balcony houses many histories since the San Lázaro Interpretation Centre is located right under its floor.
It´s an open construction that houses the remains of the disappeared Royal Convent of San Lázaro, an important 13th century religious centre in Zaragoza that was a leper hospital for centuries. The convent was partially destroyed during the fight against the French in the War of Independence during the early 19th century. After this destruction, most of it got buried, and the few intact parts were temporarily used as prison or barracks until it was completely demolished in 1983. The underground ruins of the convent came to light thanks to the construction work that was carried out in the area as part of the 2008 International Exposition project.
Thanks to this construction work, many parts of the convent emerged, such as the cloister, various corridors and other rooms, which are now proudly displayed in the Interpretation Centre. While sitting at this viewpoint, one cannot help but wonder: so much beauty and serenity before our eyes, and so much history and suffering lying beneath our feet!
Paseo de la Ribera, s / n. Zaragoza
Wellcome to Europamundo Vacations, your in the international site of:
Bienvenido a Europamundo Vacaciones, está usted en el sitio internacional de: