Stage Two: When the weather wasn’t looking good in France, we decided to head south from visiting Andorra to Zaragoza and Logroño in Spain. Zaragoza is really a lovely city, easy to walk and get around, and plenty to see. The city is famous for its folklore, local gastronomy, and landmarks such as the Basílica del Pilar, La Seo Cathedral and the Aljafería Palace. Together with La Seo and the Aljafería, several other buildings form part of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Zaragoza is a pleasant town, with a very rich history. The name Zaragoza comes originally from the name of the original Roman town, “Caesaraugusta”, which over the years became Zaragoza. What is the historical area of the town was originally the Roman town. There are ruins that remain from those days, and especially well presented is the amphitheater in the heart of the city. The Basilica of Pilar and the plaza in front of it is very impressive, as are many other churches throughout the town.
And the architecture is very interesting, with numerous examples of how the styles have changed over it rich history. The Aljafería Palace is a must to take in. We went on a Sunday and the entrance was free. The restoration work, led primarily by one man’s dedication for more than 30 years, is simply amazing.
It was built during the second half of the 11th century and was the residence of the Banu Hud dynasty. The palace reflects the splendor attained by the kingdom of the taifa of Zaragoza at the height of its grandeur. It especially important and remarkable as it is the only conserved testimony of a large building of Spanish Islamic architecture of the era of the Taifas (independent kingdoms). There are also roman ruins throughout the downtown area, as this was once a very large roman community. Continue reading