Merely a one hour and fifteen minute ride by Renfe train, Zaragoza is a quieter city than Madrid or Barcelona. It also takes another a maximum of two hours train ride to Barcelona.
This ancient city, founded around 25 BC, has three most notable ancient landmarks: The Basilica De Nuestra Senora Del Pilar, La Seo and the Aljaferia.
The Basilica De Nuestra Del Pilar, decidated to the Virgin Mary. It is claimed that the Basilica had a more simple origin as a small chapel built by St. James, one of the Apostles of Christ around 40 A.D. The church has gone through reconstructions and architectural changes through the centuries from Romanesque to the its present Mudejar Baroque form.
Among the impressive exterior features of this church are its seven mini-domes around a central dome. Each of the mini-domes are covered with tiles of yellow, blue, green and white lending a Byzantine air to its over-all appearance.
The church is flank by four towers on each corner.
The two aisles, flanking the central nave, are darkened as devotees stand in devotional contemplation in front of the numerous chapels along the sides of the Basilica.
The vaulted ceiling is a lavish display of the ornamentation of Baroque design is evident with the use of ribbons, cherubims, the use of light and shadow and dramatic embelishments.
The pillars are massive and are expressions of faux finishing to make them look as if they were made of marble.
The Basilica is the center piece of the Plaza Del Pilar which is always buzzing with tourists and locals.
The La Iglesia La Maria Magdalena is a classic example of the Mudejar Architecture Santa Magdalena Church. Mudejar Architecture is a Gothic form with Islamic influence. It became prominent in Spain around the 12th Century A.D.
The Iglesia De Santa Maria Magdalene was built sometime around the early 14th century. As shown above, it has a distinct tower that mimics an Almohad style minaret. It is located at Plaza de la Magdalena, a stone throw away from the Plaza Del Pilar.
Another special ancient building with its Gothic-Mudejar tower is the Iglesia De San Pablo. It sits close to large mythical god water fountain on one end of the Plaza del Pilar.
Another structure of Gothic-Mudejar style is the tower of the Iglesia de San Pablo which can be seen behind the building in the forefront in the above photograph. The tower is octagonal in shape with Moorish design details. This building is merely a few steps from one of the end of the busy plaza.
Not far from the Plaza is the Cathedral de San Salvador or better known as the La Seo.
The northwest facade of the church is in Mudejar design in dark brickwork and colorful ceramic decorations in geometric patterns.
The most interesting part of the church is its collection of 14th and 17th century Flemish and French Tapestries housed in its Museo De Tapices. The tapestries are massive in size and some cover an entire wall and from the ceiling down to the floor. Photographing the tapestries is not allowed but below are scanned images from the catalogue of the museum and from a postcard.
Below is a section of one of the tapestries showing more of a close-up detail of the beautiful art.
Back at the Plaza, one cannot miss the massive water fountain that has a statue of mythical water God sitting naked. The size of the statue is quite impressive.
On the south end of the plaza are statues dedicated to Goya.
Not far from the above statues is the Museo De Goya. The statues and the Museum are a fitting tribute to an artist who spent a good number of years as a resident of Zaragoza.
On the east end of the plaza is the La Lonja, which was intended as a trading exchange building in the 16th century. It is now an exhibition hall. La Lonja architectural design is purely Renaissance in style.
The vaulted ceiling of the La Lonja makes it one of a kind.
The Mercado Central in Zaragoza was built 122 years ago and still bustles with activity with the usual assortment of meat, fruit and vegetables for the taking.
The following images are taken from the top of an observation point a short distance from the Plaza Del Pilar.
The above image is the rooftop of the Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar. The small domes surround the central dome seen on the background. The smaller domes are covered in Blue, Green, Yellow and White tiles reminiscent of Byzantine art form.
The Basilica is flanked by four bell towers on each corner.
The central dome of the Basilica.
The image below is the rooftop of an unidentified building in the same area.