Zaragoza - on the banks of the sturdy Ebro river

Zaragoza.jpg

Zaragoza (Saragossa in English) is the middlemost city in the Aragon region of Spain and houses over 60% of the territory's population and industry. This city has carried on a load of weight to defend the nation in the country's past time. Walk its streets and you can see remnants of their Roman, Moorish, and Christian history.

The most significant remaining Roman landmark is a first-century amphitheater that sits in the middle of the city’s historic district not far from the Basilica del Pilar (Basilica of our Lady of the Pilar). Be sure to take your time to adorn the cathedral as well, especially as two of the cupolas are adorned with religious murals by one of Spain´s most influential artist, Francisco de Goya. This is one of his first works, so you are relishing a true historic masterpiece.

Be on the look out for the amazing Mudejar buildings: a blend of Gothic and Baroque elements with a uniquely Spanish architectural. This practice is characterised by rich ornamentation in brick, plaster and ceramics. What was the main mosque in the city, La Seo Cathedral, is today a World Heritage site. Be sure to find the Santa Maria Magdalena Church which has hints of the same structure as well.

We found the city to turn alive sometimes after 6:00 p.m. which is when the siesta hours have passed and the shops reopened. A typical appetiser in the style of Italians can be much appreciated in just about every bar and restaurant. We have ran into quite a few bars along the way to ¨el Casco viejo¨ which is the old quarter in the centre with mingling narrow streets similar to the zoco. Try the Taberna de Doña Casta (street address Calle Casto Méndez Núñez, 36), the ¨huevos rotos con foie¨ (scrambled eggs with fries and foie) is their king dish. Plaza Santa Marta (located in same square with its name) is another great option despite its price, the cost is what you pay for its supreme quality. Locals love to frequent Casa de Mar (street address Calle San Andres 9) as it has cheap crayfish, cuttlefish and a great selection of cold white wine. Casa de Mar is mostly buzzing as sea food dishes are not that common in this part of Spain. Amongst the charismatic Plaza del Portillo and impressive bullring arena you can find a traditional Aragonese cuisine restaurant called La Tertulia Taurina. They serve the 'Slow Food' concept with great selection of meats. Try to go for a lunch menu from Monday to Friday to take advantage of two dishes, a drink and dessert for just 12 euros. The most exciting food experience we had was losing ourselves in the old quarter and bar hopping which is quite the norm for locals.

Away from the more obvious sites, we spent a Sunday exploring the Expo business park, which is located 15 minutes from the historic centre. It is located in the vicinity of the Ebro river park, the riverside woods, the fluvial beaches, the spa and the golf course and is therefore a great place to cycle or go for a stroll. We even had a sit down at the golf course´s bar for snacks (tapas) and a drink and found it amazing! We hope the business part of the Expo does pick up properly one day as it makes for an envious place for work and play alike.

Basilica of our Lady of the Pilar.

Basilica of our Lady of the Pilar.

Inside the Aljafería Palace, a castle both formidable and elegant that now houses the regional government parliament.

Inside the Aljafería Palace, a castle both formidable and elegant that now houses the regional government parliament.

The majestic Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens. Moon Palace.

The majestic Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens. Moon Palace.

Be sure to visit the grounds of the 2008 Expo and its Pavilion of Aragon. This is a modern sculpture by artist Jaume Plensa called El Alma del Ebro.

Be sure to visit the grounds of the 2008 Expo and its Pavilion of Aragon. This is a modern sculpture by artist Jaume Plensa called El Alma del Ebro.