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Zaragoza
Saragossa
Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar and the Ebro River

Flag

Coat of arms
Zaragoza is located in Spain
Zaragoza
Situation of Zaragoza within Spain
Coordinates: 41°39′25″N 0°52′34″W / 41.657°N 0.876°W / 41.657; -0.876
Country Spain Spain
Autonomous community Aragon Aragón
Province Flag of Zaragoza province (with coat of arms).svg Zaragoza
Comarca Zaragoza
Distritos
Government
 - Type Ayuntamiento
 - Mayor Juan Alberto Belloch (PSOE)
Area
 - Total 1,062.64 km2 (410.3 sq mi)
Elevation 199 m (653 ft)
Population (1st of January of 2010)INE
 - Total 699,755
 Density 601.14/km2 (1,556.9/sq mi)
Time zone CET (GMT +1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (GMT +2) (UTC)
Postcode 50001 - 50018
Twin Cities
 - Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques France
ISO 3166-2 ES-Z
Website http://www.zaragoza.es/

Zaragoza, also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community and former Kingdom of Aragon, Spain. It is situated on the river Ebro and its tributaries, the Huerva and Gállego, near the centre of the region, in a valley with a variety of landscapes, ranging from desert (Los Monegros) to thick forest, meadows and mountains.

The population of the city of Zaragoza in 1st of January of 2010 was 699,755,[1] ranking fifth in Spain. The population of the metropolitan area was estimated in 2006 at 783,763 inhabitants. The municipality is home to more than 50 percent of the Aragonese population. The city lies at an altitude of 199 metres above sea level, and constitutes a crossroads between Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao and Toulouse (France) — all of which are located about 300 kilometres (200 miles) from Zaragoza.

Zaragoza hosted Expo 2008 in the summer of 2008, a World's Fair on water and sustainable development. It will host another fair in 2014, the upcoming "Flowers Expo", and it is a candidate to be European Capital of Culture in 2016. Zaragoza wants to be a candidate city for the Winter Olympic Games 2022, the project is similar to Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010. Ice and snow sports in Zaragoza, are popuular in the nearby Pyrenees, where many of Spain's best ski resorts are located.

The city is famous for its folklore, a renowned local gastronomy, its trilogy of landmarks (the Basílica del Pilar, La Seo Cathedral and the The Aljafería Palace.) Together with La Seo and the Aljaferia, several other buildings form part of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fiestas del Pilar are among the most celebrated festivals in Spain.

Contents

History

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Early history

Roman theatre of Cesaraugusta, in Zaragoza.

The city used to be called Salduba, Saldyva or Salduie, a Punic name of a Carthaginian military post built on the remains of a Celtiberian village. When the Romans invaded the area it fell under the colonia of Caesaraugusta, founded under Augustus in Hispania Citerior. Later it was captured by the Goths (5th century).

Arab Saraqusta

In 714 The Arabs took control of the city, renaming it Saraqusta (سرقسطة). It later became part of the Emirate of Cordoba, It grew to become the biggest Arab controlled city of Northern Spain. In 777 Charlemagne attempted to take the city but he was forced to withdraw when faced by the organized defense of the city and the Basque attacks in the rear (Chanson de Roland).

Taifa of Zaragoza

Aljafería Palace (at night), built in the 11th century.
The Roman walls of Zaragoza.

From 1018 to 1118 Zaragoza was one of the taifa kingdoms, independent Muslim states which emerged in the eleventh century following the destruction of the Cordoban Caliphate. During the first three decades of this period, 1018–1038, the city was ruled by the Banu Tujibi. In 1038 they were replaced by the Banu Hud, who had to deal with a complicated alliance with El Cid of Valencia and his Castilian masters against the Almoravids, who managed to bring the Taifas Emirates under their control. After the death of El Cid his kingdom was overrun by Almoravids and by 1100 Almoravids had managed to cross the Ebro into Barbastro, which brought Aragon into direct contact with them. The Banu Hud stubbornly resisted the Almoravids and ruled until they were eventually defeated by them in May 1110. The last sultan of the Banu Hud, Abd-al-Malik Imad ad-Dawla, the last king of Zaragoza, forced to abandon his capital, allied himself with the Christian Aragonese under Alfonso the Battler and from that time the Muslims of Zaragoza became military regulars within the Aragonese forces.

Aragonese era

In 1118 the Aragonese conquered the city from the Almoravids and made it the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon. After Alfonso's death without heirs in 1134, Zaragoza was swiftly occupied by Alfonso VII of León and Castile, who vacated it in 1137 only on condition it be held by Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona as a fief of Castile.

Zaragoza was the scene of two controversial martyrdoms related with the Spanish Inquisition: those of Saint Dominguito del Val, a choirboy in the basilica, and Pedro de Arbués, head official of the inquisition. While the reality of the existence of Saint Dominguito del Val is questioned, his "murder" at the hands of "jealous Jews" was used as an excuse to murder or convert the Jewish population of Zaragoza.

St. Vincent Ferrer was concerned that the converts were not being properly educated as Christians, but such an explicit focus on the religiosity of the converts was as rare in his sermons as it was elsewhere during this period. Much more often, he stressed not the integration of the convert but the segregation of the Jew, and this in explicitly sexual terms.

Of course, St. Vincent was very much concerned with sexual offenses of any kind, and he was convinced that sexual appetites were becoming increasingly deviant in his day. Nowadays, he complained, Christian men "want to taste everything: Muslims and Jews, animals, men with men; there is no limit."

He was especially concerned about what he perceived to be an explosion of sex between Christians and Jews.

In 1415, he told a Zaragozan audience that "many Christian men believe their wife's children to be their own, when they are actually by Muslim and Jewish [fathers]." If the citizens did not put a stop to such interfaith adultery, he warned, God would do so through plague. His sermon provoked a sexual panic.

Assault of the French army at Santa Engracia Monastery on 8 February 1809 during the Peninsular War.
La Seo Cathedral and the Lonja.
San Juan de los Panetes church.

Christian patrols searched the streets, on the lookout for predatory Jews or Muslims in search of Christian women. One Muslim was seized, found with "iron tools for . . . forcing open doors in order to obtain Christian women for Muslim men". Another was arrested after witnesses claimed to have seen him fleeing a Christian woman's room by the flat rooftops one night. So many charges were brought that the responsible judicial official was accused of fomenting a riot against the Muslims and the Jews.

According to St. Vincent, the problem was one of ambiguous identities. Jews and Muslims were living among Christians, dressing like Christians, even adopting Christian names, so that "by their appearance they are taken and reputed by many to be Christians."

The solution he advocated was one of heightened marking and segregation. So powerful was his reasoning that it convinced the Pope, the kings of Castile and of Aragon, and innumerable town councils and municipal officers to attempt the most extensive efforts at segregation in the Middle Ages.

Zaragoza suffered two famous sieges during the Peninsular War against Napoleonic army: a first from June to August 1808; and a second from December 1808 to February 1809 (see Agustina de Aragón, Siege of Saragossa (1809)), surrendering only after some 50,000 defenders had died.[2]

Modern history

Despite a decline in the outlying rural economy, Zaragoza has continued to grow. During the second half of the 20th century, its population boomed as a number of factories opened in the region.

In 1979 the Hotel Corona de Aragón fire killed at least 80. ETA has been blamed, but officially the fire is still regarded as accidental.

Demographics

Population growth, in thousands, can be seen here:

Demographic evolution of Zaragoza between 1991 and 2008
1991 1996 2001 2004 2005 2006 2008
594 394 601 674 610 976 638 799 647 373 660 895 682 283

Climate

Zaragoza climate chart (Airport)

Zaragoza has a continentalized, Semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk), as it lies on a wide basin entirely surrounded by mountains, but is showing characteristics of a Continental Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csb) such as drier summers and winters, and wetter springs and autumns. The average rainfall is a scanty 310 mm with abundant sunny days, and the rainfall centers in spring. There is drought in summer. The temperatures are high in summer reaching up to 40°C (102°F).

In winter the temperatures are low (usually 0 to 10°C) either because of the fog (about 20 days from November to January) or a cold and dry wind blowing from the NW, the Cierzo (related to other northerly winds such as the Mistral in the SE of France) on clear days. Frost is common and there is sporadic snowfall.

Climate data for Zaragoza
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 10.3
(51)
13.3
(56)
16.6
(62)
18.7
(66)
23.2
(74)
27.7
(82)
31.5
(89)
31
(88)
26.7
(80)
20.7
(69)
14.3
(58)
10.7
(51)
20.4
(69)
Average low °C (°F) 2.4
(36)
3.5
(38)
5.2
(41)
7.4
(45)
11.2
(52)
14.8
(59)
17.6
(64)
17.8
(64)
14.7
(58)
10.3
(51)
5.8
(42)
3.5
(38)
9.4
(49)
Precipitation mm (inches) 22
(0.87)
20
(0.79)
20
(0.79)
35
(1.38)
44
(1.73)
31
(1.22)
18
(0.71)
17
(0.67)
27
(1.06)
30
(1.18)
30
(1.18)
23
(0.91)
317
(12.48)
Avg. precipitation days 7 6 6 8 9 6 4 4 5 7 8 9 79
Source: World Weather Information Service[3] 2009-01-01

Economy

Torre del Agua
Luis Buñuel Metropolitan Water Park, at the Expo.

In addition to the advantageous geographic situation, a General Motors Opel factory was opened in 1982 in Figueruelas, a small village nearby. The progressive decline of the agrarian economy turned Opel into one of the main pillars of the regional economy, along with: Balay, which manufactures household appliances; CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A.), which builds railway engines for both the national and international markets; SAICA and Torraspapel in the stationery sector; and various other local companies, such as Pikolin and Lacasa, that are gradually making their ways into the international market.

The city's economy benefited from projects like the Expo 2008 (the official World's Fair, with the theme of water and sustainable development, held between 14 June and 14 September 2008), Plataforma Logística de Zaragoza (PLAZA), Parque Tecnológico de Reciclado (PTR), as well as being on the route of the AVE high-speed rail route since December 2003, which consolidates the city role as a communications hub.

Pavilion of Expo 2008

Zaragoza is home to a Spanish Air Force base, which was (until 1994) shared with the U.S. Air Force.[4] In English, the base was known as Zaragoza Air Base. The Spanish Air Force maintained an F/A-18 Hornet wing at the base. No American flying wings (with the exception of a few KC-135's) were permanently based there, but it served as a training base for American fighter squadrons across Europe. It is also the main headquarters for the Spanish Land Army, hosting the Academia General Militar, a number of brigades at San Gregorio, and other garrisons.

Culture

View of Zaragoza (1647) by Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo.

Zaragoza is linked by legend to the beginnings of Christianity in Spain. According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared miraculously to Saint James the Great in the first century, standing on a pillar. This legend is commemorated by a famous Catholic basilica called Nuestra Señora del Pilar ("Our Lady of the Pillar").

The event, called "Las Fiestas del Pilar", is celebrated on 12 October, which is a major festival day in Zaragoza. Since it coincided in 1492 with the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus, that day is also celebrated as El Día de la Hispanidad (Columbus Day, literally Hispanic Day) by Spanish-speaking people worldwide.

"El Pilar" lasts for nine days, with all kinds of acts: from the massively attended Pregon (opening speech) to the final fireworks display over the Ebro, there are bands, dances, procession of gigantes y cabezudos (carnival figures made of papier mache), concerts, exhibitions, the famous "vaquillas" bulls and the bull festival. Some of the most important features are the Ofrenda de Flores (Flower offering) to the virgin on the 12th, when an enormous cloak is made of the flowers

Education

The University of Zaragoza is headquartered in the city. As one of the oldest universities of Spain and a major research and development center, this public university awards all the highest academic degrees in dozens of fields. There is also a private university, Universidad San Jorge, which is located in Villanueva de Gállego, 14 km to the north.

Transportation

Third Millenium Bridge

The city is connected by motorway with Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao and Toulouse — all of which are located about 300 kilometres (200 miles) from Zaragoza.

The Zaragoza Airport is a small commercial airport. It also is the home of the Spanish Air Force 15th Group, as well as being utilized by NASA as a contingency landing site for the Space Shuttle in the case of a Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL).

Zaragoza is also connected to the Spanish High Speed railway (Renfe's AVE), by the Madrid-Barcelona high-speed rail line. Madrid is reachable in 1 hour 15 minutes, and Barcelona in approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. The central station is "Intermodal Zaragoza Delicias Station" where they operate railway lines and buses. In addition to long distance railway lines or high speed railway, Zaragoza has a network of cercanías.

The city has a network of buses which is controlled by TUZSA. (Urban Transport Company of Zaragoza). The network consists of 28 regular lines, 4 line-up, 4 launchers, special line 1, 8 special lines on the occasion of Expo 2008 and 7 lines at night.

Zaragoza Delicias Station

Sport

Zaragoza's football team, Real Zaragoza, plays in the Primera División.. One of the most remarkable events in the team's recent history is the winning of the former UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1995. The team has also won the Spanish National Cup "Copa del Rey" six times: 1965, 1966, 1986, 1994, 2001 and 2004 and a Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1964).

Zaragoza's handball team, CAI BM Aragón, plays in the Liga ASOBAL.

Their local basketball team, CAI ZARAGOZA, is now on the ACB league. They play at the Príncipe Felipe with a capacity of 11,000 and their head coach is Curro Segura.

Zaragoza was strongly associated with Jaca in its failed bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

A permanent feature built for Expo 2008 is the pump-powered artificial whitewater course "El Canal de Aguas Bravas."

Places of interest

Santa María Magdalena church

Near the basilica on the banks of the Ebro are located the city hall, the Lonja (old currency exchange), La Seo (literally "the See" in the Aragonese language) or Cathedral of San Salvador, a magnificent church built over the main mosque (partially preserved in the 11th-century north wall of the Parroquieta), with Romanesque apses from 12th century; inside, the imposing hallenkirche from the 15th to 16th centuries, the Baroque tower, and finally, with its famous Museum of Tapestries near the Roman ruins of forum and port city wall.

Near this area is a tapas zone called El Tubo and a nightclub district called El Casco Viejo. Other nightclub districts are La Zona, El Rollo and "el ambiente" (the scene).

Some distance from the centre of the old city is an extensive Moorish castle or palace called the Aljafería, the most important Moorish buildings in northern Spain and the setting for Giuseppe Verdi's opera Il trovatore (The Troubadour). The Aragonese parliament currently sits in the building.

Zaragoza Museum

The churches of San Pablo, Santa María Magdalena and San Gil were built in 14th century, but the towers may be old minarets dating from the 11th century; San Miguel (14th century); Santiago (San Ildefonso) and the Fecetas monastery are Baroque with Mudéjar ceilings of the 17th century. All the churches are Mudéjar monuments that comprise a World Heritage Site

San Fernando de Torrero church

Other important sights are the stately houses and magnificent palaces in the city, mainly of the 16th century: palaces of the count of Morata or Luna (Audiencia), Deán, Torrero (colegio de Arquitectos), Don Lope or Real Maestranza, count of Sástago, count of Argillo (today the Pablo Gargallo museum), archbishop, etc.

The most important Zaragoza museums are the Museum of Fine Arts, with paintings by early Aragonese artists, 15th century, and by El Greco, Ribera and Goya, and the Camon Aznar Museum, with paintings ranging from Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Velazquez and Goya to Renoir, Manet and Sorolla.

On 14 June 2008, the site of Expo 2008 opened its doors to the public. The exhibition ran until 14 September.

Monuments

Other sights

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

The following are Sister cities of Zaragoza:[5]

Basílica del Pilar, at dusk

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Napoleon's Total War"
  3. ^ "Weather Information for Zaragoza". World Weather Information Service. http://www.worldweather.org/083/c01240.htm. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  4. ^ John Pike. "Zaragoza Air Base". Globalsecurity.org. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/zaragoza.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  5. ^ Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza. Hermanamientos y Protocolos de Colaboración
  6. ^ "Official portal of City of Skopje - Skopje Sister Cities". © 2006-2009 City of Skopje. http://www.skopje.gov.mk/EN/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabindex=0&tabid=69. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  7. ^ "::Bethlehem Municipality::". www.bethlehem-city.org. http://www.bethlehem-city.org/Twining.php. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  8. ^ "Twinning with Palestine". © 1998-2008 The Britain - Palestine Twinning Network. http://www.twinningwithpalestine.net/groupsinternational.html. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  9. ^ The City of Bethlehem has signed a twinning agreements with the following cities Bethlehem Municipality.
  10. ^ "Acordos de Geminação" (in Portugese). © 2009 Câmara Municipal de Coimbra - Praça 8 de Maio - 3000-300 Coimbra. http://www.cm-coimbra.pt/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=62&Itemid=128. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  11. ^ "Twinning Cities: International Relations" (PDF). Municipality of Tirana. www.tirana.gov.al. http://www.tirana.gov.al/common/images/International%20Relations.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  12. ^ Twinning Cities: International Relations. Municipality of Tirana. www.tirana.gov.al. Retrieved on 2008-01-25.

External links

Coordinates: 41°39′25″N 0°52′34″W / 41.657°N 0.876°W / 41.657; -0.876


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Nuestra Señora del Pilar by the Ebro river.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar by the Ebro river.
Roman theater in Zaragoza
Roman theater in Zaragoza
The Aljafería Palace.
The Aljafería Palace.
The Pilar Virgen surrounded by flowers in the Pilar Festival celebrations.
The Pilar Virgen surrounded by flowers in the Pilar Festival celebrations.
Spain Square in Zaragoza.
Spain Square in Zaragoza.
The Carmen Gate is an example of the romanic period.
The Carmen Gate is an example of the romanic period.
Parks in Zaragoza.
Parks in Zaragoza.

Zaragoza is a warm and inviting city strategically located between Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia and Tolouse. In peoples' haste to see the big cities, this gem is often passed without so much as a second look. The city welcomes visitors with its rich culture, shopping, eating and sightseeing. Its more than 2000 years of history makes the city one of the greatest historical and artistical legacies in Spain. It is situated in Aragon, one of the previous kingdoms of Spain.

Understand

History

Signs of the city’s founding, when the city was named after Emperor August, are still visible and can be enjoyed by tourists even today. 2,000 years later, the architectural remains of large public buildings indicate Caesar Augustus’ influence over the city. Today you can still admire the city’s Forum, Thermal Baths, the River Port or the Great Theatre, archeological remains which reflect the splendour of the city as it was during the Roman Empire.

Later on, during the Moslem occupation of Spain, Zaragoza was the capital of a kingdom in which art, music, and science formed the cornerstones of life in the Court. From this period, you can still see the Aljaferia Palace, a marvellous example of Moslem art, which has been witness to Zaragoza and its rich history – right up to the present day. From the early days of Christianity, Zaragoza still possesses a multitude of indicators that tell us something of the grandeur of the city: thanks to the Mudejar, the show of tolerance whereby different cultures were able to live side by side, and World Heritage, you can still enjoy beautiful enclaves such as the San Salvador Cathedral (the Seo) or the San Pablo church. From the period of Renaissance, there is a multitude of palatial houses which tell us of the sumptuousness of Saragossa in the 16th Century. Museums, such as the one dedicated to sculptor Pablo Gargallo, or exhibition halls, such as the monumental Lonja, are archetypal of Aragonese Renaissance art.

But Zaragoza is known worldwide as the home to the magnificent Pilar Basilica, heir to a tradition which is over 2,000 years old, and a destination for Christian pilgrims of all denominations.

Climate

Zaragoza has a Continental Mediterranean climate, very dry, with cold winters and hot summers. With an average of 318 mm per year, rainfall is a rarity mostly occurring in spring. There is drought in summer with only a few storms in the late afternoon. In July and August temperatures are typically above 30°C (86°F), reaching up to 40°C (104°F) a few days per year. On those days you will quickly pick the idea of siesta: hiding away after lunch, during the hottest part of the day, to enjoy later the evenings and nights at a delightful 18-22°C.

In winter the temperatures are low, usually between 0 and 10°C (32-50°F), with some frosts during the night. Snow only shows up once every couple of years but fog is not uncommon (about 20 days from November to January). However, the only bad part is the Cierzo, a cold and dry wind blowing from the NW that is quite common on clear days, and can make your stay really unpleasant. Beware also of sunny days in spring and autumn, if the Cierzo blows, you will regret not having warm clothes with you.

Detailed weather forecasts including wind speed can be found in [1]

When to Visit

The best time to visit Zaragoza is during spring (April to mid-June) and autumn (Sept-Oct). In late June and July the days can be quite hot but in the evenings the city is bustling with people going out for dinner or having a beer with friends in a terrace. In August the city is almost deserted, with most people being on holidays at the mountains or the cost, and more that half the bars, restaurants and small business closed.

The major city festival is El Pilar that takes place every year the week of the 12th of October, with lots of concerts, performances and street animations. It is also the best time to see a bullfight in Zaragoza.

The Easter week, although not in the same league that the Andalucia or Calanda counterparts, is very scenic, with several processions going over the city centre every day with their dramatic sculptures, black-dressed praying women and hundreds of hooded people playing drums.

Get in

By plane

Zaragoza Airport [2] (IATA: ZAZ), is located 10 km from the city centre. In March 2008 the new terminal building was completed.

The main carriers are Ryanair with flights from Alicante, Brussels-Charleroi, Milan-Orio al Serio, London-Stansted, and Rome-Ciampino, Iberia/Air Nostrum with flights from Madrid, Paris-Orly, Frankfurt, La Coruña and Vigo, and Air Europe with flights from Palma de Mallorca, Lanzarote and Tenerife. For most of these destinations there is a daily flight, while others are served 3 or 4 times a week.

There is also a web blog with more information concerning arrivals and departures, Zaragoza Airport Blog [3].

Transfer to/from the airport: The cheapest option is the airport bus [4] stopping at Los Enlaces, Delicias train station, Avenida de Navarra 12, and Paseo de María Agustín 7, in the city centre (45 minutes ride). The bus costs €1.50 and runs every 30 minutes Mo-Sa and every hour on Sundays and holidays. Alternatively a taxi will cost around €25-30 and take around 20 minutes to the city centre.

Nearby airports

As most flights to Zaragoza only run once a day, it is sometimes more convenient to flight to Madrid or Barcelona airports, from where you can reach Zaragoza in less than 3 hours.

From Madrid Barajas Airport: go to Atocha RENFE train station either by taxi (30 minutes, around €25) or by metro (45 minutes, €2) and then take the high speed train AVE to Zaragoza (1h30, around €50). A cheaper but not so comfortable alternative is taking a coach from company ALSA that runs between Barajas terminal T4 and Zaragoza every 2-3 hours (3h45 trip, single/return: €15/€26). If you are in terminals T1 T2 or T3, take the free airport bus shuttle to terminal T4. The bus to Zaragoza stops in the same place as the airport shuttle. Yes, there are no ticket counters, information posts, or timetables, but place yourself with your back towards the T4 terminal exit, look at your right and you will see the ticket vending machine of ALSA.

From Barcelona Airport: The easiest way is to take the half-hourly RENFE C-10 suburban train to Barcelona Sants (20 minutes, €2.20), and then take the high speed train AVE to Zaragoza (1h45, around €60). If you already have your AVE ticket, you can get the suburban train ticket for free in the automatic vending machines, by typing the code for “cercanías” that appears in your AVE ticket.

By train

Zaragoza is served by the high speed train AVE that reaches Madrid in approximately 1 hour 30 minutes and Barcelona in approx. 1 hour 45 minutes. There are up to 19 trains a day in each direction for Madrid and 12 for Barcelona. Regular rates start at about €50 to Madrid and €60 to Barcelona, but you can get up to a 60% discount if you book through the web 15 days in advance.

A cheaper way to get to Zaragoza from Barcelona is using the "Regional Express" - a slow train going on an ancient track, stopping at every small village and some those post-industrial ghost towns, and really astonishing landscapes. The ride takes 5 hours, costs €22.

Other neighbouring cities like Huesca, Teruel, Pamplona, Logroño, Bilbao or Valencia are connected by a few daily conventional trains.

For more information on train schedules and prices, visit the website of RENFE [5].

All trains and buses arrive to Delicias station. The city centre is some 2km away from, and can be reached using urban buses 34 and 51 or by taxi (10 minutes, around €10)

By bus

You can reach Zaragoza either from Madrid or Barcelona in 3:45 hours. The coach company is ALSA [6] and the single/return ticket costs around €15/€26. Zaragoza is also well communicated with other main capital cities, such as Valencia and Bilbao. There is possibility of getting to Zaragoza from France by bus. The main lines travel from Lourdes, Tarbes, Pau and Oloron.

For bus schedules from Barcelona, also try Barcelona Nord [7].

By car

Zaragoza is very well connected by free speedways with Huesca (1h), Teruel (2h), Madrid (3h), and by toll highways with Barcelona (3h, €30), Pamplona and Bilbao. Traffic around the city is relatively light except on some weekends and holidays.

Free parking in the city centre is very scarce. Most streets have metered parking limited to 1 or 2 hours. Underground paying parkings are scattered in the entire city and usually have free places.

Get around

If you stay in or near the old town, most is walkable.

If you plan on bussing around, a card costs seven euro at any tobacco kiosk (initial card fee of two euros, so when charging it next time will just cost €5). With the card you can change lines wthin an hour without being charged again. Single tickets are 0,95 euros.

The city's taxi drivers are plentiful and mostly honest. Zaragoza Taxi phone numbers [8]

Sightseeing bus [9] is another option. They provide more than just a great way to travel around the city, available to all pockets. It costs €7 (free if you have the Zaragoza card) and the ticket can be used the entire day.

See

The Zaragoza Card [10] provides, from €7.66 per day:

  • Free entry to all museums and monuments.
  • 24 hour unlimited use of the Saragossa Tourist Bus.
  • Free public transport (depending on the type of card).
  • Including guided tours and the services of the “roaming” tourist guides.
  • A free tapas and drink at one of our tapas bars.
  • Discounts in more than 50 establishments (hotels, car hire, cafés and bars, restaurants…)
  • Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Pilar- Features paintings on the ceiling by Goya and Bayaeu.
  • Catedral de la Seo- A gothic style cathedral.
  • Palacio de la Aljaferia- Moorish castle with intricate decorations including ceilings of gold.
  • Las Murallas- Parts of the ancient wall that surrounded the city are still standing.
  • Iglesias Mudejares- Mudejar is a still of art that mixes christian and muslim tradition. Good examples of that are a part of La Seo cathedral, Magdalena church, San Miguel church and San Pablo church.
  • The Parque Grande is excellent for a walk or a chill. Huge in size, you forget the city, and the many fountains adds to distraction.
Water tower in the International Exposition
Water tower in the International Exposition

Buy

Zaragoza has much to offer in the way of shopping, with most central streets in Zaragoza being lined with shopping opportunities.

Zaragoza's shopping area stretches from Residencial Paraiso in Sagasta to the Plaza de España. The most exclusive shops are on Francisco de Vitoria, San Ignacio de Loyola, Cadiz, Isaac Peral and the streets crossing them.

Zaragoza's craft and souvenir shops are located at Anticuarios de la Plaza de San Brun.

Mercadillo La Romareda behind the La Romareda Football Stadium is the largest open-air market in Zaragoza, but if you are looking for food and fresh produce head for Mercado Central and Lanuza Market.

If you are looking for everything under one roof, then El Corte Inglés is located next to Plaza de Paraíso, and Centro Comercial Gran Casa is a one-stop super mall where you can find everything including shops, restaurants a bowling alley and cinemas.

Mercado Central is on a site which has been a market place since the Middle Ages. It is the perfect place to buy Zaragozan products as well as observe the atmosphere of a traditional Spanish market. The Misericordia Bullring is the place to go on Sunday as it is the venue for the traditional flea market.

Eat

Some of the best known regional specialities are: Bacalao al Ajoarriero, cod-fish with garlic and eggs, Huevos al Salmorejo, eggs with a sauce of asparagus, Longanizas y Chorizos, highly appreciated kinds of sausages, Ternasco Asado, roasted young lamb, Pollo al Chilindrón, chicken in a sauce of cured ham, tomatoes, onions and paprika, Cordero a la Pastora, lamb Shepherd's style, Lomo de Cerdo a la Zaragozana, cutlet, Migas a la Aragonesa, a dish made of crumbs scrambled with an egg and chorizo. People even eat rabbits stewed in rabbit blood. Borrajas is a vegetable which can only be found in Aragon. It is usually eaten with olive oil.Melocotón con vino, peaches in wine, is also a good option, though sometimes it is hard to find a restaurant serving this dessert.

Tapas

Zaragoza is well known because of its many tapas bars. The best place to eat is the old city, commonly called "Casco viejo" which is a bunch of small streets similar to the Zoco.

One excellent choice is in Calle de los mártires which is a tapas bar in which you can only eat one tapa. In the first one the mushroom and close to it the Taberna de Doña Casta, the "Huevos rotos con foi" which is mainly scrambled egg with fries and foi or jamón serrano. Plaza Santa Marta is in the old town as well; it's a little bit more expensive but the food is of high quality. A "Tabla" is a wooden plate in which different tapas like cheese and sausages are served, often with a bottle of wine in the price.

Sea food tapas are not that common, but can be very good and cheap. Casa de Mar, located in Eusebio Blasco Street, is a local favorite. Cheap crayfish, cuttlefish and a great cold white wine. A four person meal with two bottles of wine costs less than €12 each.

  • Los Victorinos, C/José de la Hera, 6 (alley off Calle Don Jaime I). Probably the best tapas bar in town (although surely not the cheapest!). Try the Boletus Edulis tapa.  edit
  • La Tertulia Taurina is a traditional Castilian-Aragonese cuisine restaurant located in the old part of the city amongst the charismatic and multicultural Plaza del Portillo and the splendid bullfighting arena, Plaza de Toros de la Misericordia. Slow Food with great selection of meats. Menu of the day €12 (local wine and desserts included) or à la carte for around €36. Address: C/ Pignatelli 122.
  • Casa Yesca, Calle Blanca de Navarra 2, corner of Av. Madrid (2 block west from Aljaferia), +34 976 329 454. Lunch and dinner. Small and neat, with smooth background music, and a gourmet's touch. Menu del dia €10.  edit
  • Amorino, Calle Afonso upper end (Near Plaza España). High quality Italian style ice cream. Somewhat pricey. One scoop €3.  edit

Drink

There is a number of good wines produced in Aragon.

Tareas of Calle de Espoz y Mina and Calle Mayor, which are a stone's throw from Plaza del Pilar, have plenty of varied bars from which to choose.

  • Cafe Praga, Plaza de la Santa Cruz 13, El Tubo, 976 20 02 51. Great local favorite that has live music playing in the main bar, or you can retreat to the upstairs terrace and enjoy a tasty beverage overlooking the plaza.  edit
  • Exo, Plaza del Carmen 11, 609 63 98 11. Smooth and sleek, this bar impresses as much as it does with its extensive cocktail list. Check out the funky decor while listening to the easy going Spanish rock that is often played here.  edit
  • La Cucaracha, Calle del Temple 25, El Tubolla. Laidback and casual student hang out that doesn't really get going until the early hours of the morning.  edit
  • Rock and Blues Cafe, Cuatro de Agosto 5-7, El Tubo. Unleash your inner rock god at this long standing favorite, where live music plays throughout the week.  edit
  • Ibis Zaragoza, Calle de Sobrarbe 2 | Esquina avenida Cataluna, Zaragoza. Three star hotel that is only 200 meters' distance from the center of town. Clean and comfortable stay.
  • Hostal Cataluña [11], Coso, 94-96, Zaragoza 50001. In the center, around €50 individual and 60 € for double. Affordable choice, but rooms facing the street can hear a lot of street noise.
  • Albuerge Zaragoza [12], C/ Predicadores 70. Refurbished in 2008, this hostel is styled in an old medieval building that retains its charms of previous years. Free internet and kitchen available for travelers, with dorms rooms from 16.60 € per night
  • NH Orus, Escoriaza y Fabro, 45, 50010 Zaragoza, +34 97 6536600, [13]. This hotel is in a rehabilitated building in a commercial and residential area, close to the train station Zaragoza Delicias and Parque Roma. There are 3 other NH hotels in Zaragoza [14], if this one is full.  edit
  • Hotel Sauce, Hotel Sauce. C/ Espoz y Mina, 33 50003 (Few minutes from Plaza del Pilar), (+34)976 205050, [15]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Hotel Sauce is right in the commercial centre of the city. Located near the Plaza del Pilar, in the heart of the city. (41.654288,0.877699) edit
  • Link Zaragoza [16] +34 639 030186 Apartments in the city centre, from €75/night. From two people to big groups. [17]
  • Hotel Palafox, Avenida César Augusto 14 50004 Zaragoza, +34 976 237 700. Beautifully presented hotel with an inviting decor of beige stone/marble, dark wood and soft lighting. All the rooms are of good value with modern facilities such as wireless internet, minibar, room service etc. The attention to detail is noticeable, from the construction of the building to the decor and service it provides its guests. This unique hotel was designed by Pascua Ortega and constructed from materials native to the region using traditional methods. Close to the city center, the Hotel Palafox is in an ideal location.  edit
  • Hotel Boston, Camino de las Torres 28, 97-659-91-92, [18]. Regarded as the finest hotel in the city, you won't be able to miss the Hotel Boston, being the tallest hotel in the city. Though the style is futuristic, guests will still feel comfortable and at ease, with spacious and modern comforts and well-maintained bathrooms equipped with tub/shower combos.  edit
  • Melia Zaragoza [19], Avenida Cesar Augusto 13, Zaragoza 50004. One of the most luxurious hotels in the city, this 5 star hotel in one of the most glamorous parts of the city and close to the Carmen Door.
  • Monasterio de Piedra- [20] Charming monastery built in 1194 dc surrounded by an amazing park full of waterfalls.
  • Fuendetodos- [21] Birthplace of the great painter Franscisco de Goya.
  • Moncayo Moncayo- A fascinating mountain view.
  • Monasterio de Rueda- [22] Romanic monastery which belonged to the cirtencens order.
  • Monasterio de Veruela- [23] Romanic monastery which belonged to the cirtencens order.

Teruel and Huesca are easily reached by car, train or bus.

Madrid and Barcelona are easily reached by car, train, bus and plane.

  • Aramon-[24] As the Pyrenees are just 2 hours away from Zaragoza, head to the ski slopes here.

The following places are located in the Huesca province, not more than 2 hours by car and in the middle of the Pyrenees. Charming places in the middle of the nature.

  • Loarre Castle- [25] One of the best Romanesque castles in Europe, recently the site for Ridley Scott's film, Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Ordesa National Park- [26] is particularly spectacular in autumn and decorated with waterfalls.
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Alternative spellings

Etymology

From Spanish Zaragoza, from Arabic سرقسطة (Saraqusṭah), from Latin Caesaraugusta, named after Roman Emperor Augustus.

Proper noun

Singular
Zaragoza

Plural
-

Zaragoza

  1. The capital city of the region of Aragon, in Spain.

Synonyms

  • Caesaraugusta (historical)
  • Salduba (historical)

Derived terms

  • Zaragozan

Translations


Simple English

Zaragoza (sometimes called Saragossa in English) is the capital of Aragon, in the Ebro Valley, in the crossroad from Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, and Bilbao. The population is 643,000. The most important monument is the Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar).


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