Zaragoza can offer the visitor a very rich historic and artistical
heritage which is the result of more than two thousand years
of existence. The Iberians, Romans, Moors, Jews and Christians
all left their mark here and made Zaragoza the worthy holder
of the title "City of the Four Cultures".
Its urban growth began following its foundation as a Roman
colony between the years 19 to 15 B.C. when it received the
name of Cesarauguta, in honour of its founder, the Emperor
Caesar Augustus. The layout of the former Roman town has been
little changed in the old part of the city, between the rivers
Coso and Ebro. In addition, the remains of the Roman walls,
sewage system, theatre, paving and magnificent mosaics are
still preserved and show us the great importance this colony
The social and cultural life within the town continued to
be essentially Roman throughout the entire Visigothic era until
the year 714, when it was conquered by the Moors. From that
time onwards it received the names of "Saragusta" and
also "Albaida" which means "the White City",
Zaragoza became a magnificent centre of culture and was to
produce such outstanding figures as the philosopher Avenpace,
the great teacher of Averroes. During the 11th C. (at the time
of the so-called "taifas", or petty kingdoms), La
Aljafera Se features of these palaces are the fa period. The
latter was the man behind the construction of the Imperial
Canal of Aragon.
Zaragoza was also the city where Francisco de Goya served
his apprenticeship and painted his first works. His paintings
are exhibited in the Basilica of Nuestra Sengs were made. Examples
of these include the former Medicine and Science Faculty, the
Central Market, the Bandstand and those buildings constructed
on the occasion of the 1908 Franco-Hispanic Exhibition.
Today Zaragoza is a bustling and expanding city with a population
of around 600,000 inhabitants. As its urban development continues
to grow it is now spreading out on both sides of the river
Ebro. Thanks to its solid industrial background, buoyant commercial
aspect and a first-class hotel infrastructure, Zaragoza has
become an ideal centre for conferences, trade fairs and congresses.
This is also aided by its strategic position at the centre
of the main provincial capitals.
It is a city which now looks to the future but without turning
its back on its glorious past.
The Province of Zaragoza
The province of Zaragoza, rich in contrasts and artistic
styles, can be just as fascinating as the capital city itself.
The northern section taking in the plain of "las Cinco
Villas" (the Five Towns) and crossed by the mountain ranges
of Uncastillo, Sos, Luesia and Biel, was considered to be the "granary" of
the area in Roman times because of the abundance of cereal
crops. The capital of this area was Sos del Rey Cates.
The immense plain spreads down towards the central region
and the two rivers of the Ebro and the Jal
Among the olive trees the road leads on to the old ruined
town of Belchite - a sad reminder of the Spanish Civil War.
The itinerary continues to Azuara, with its magnificent example
of a Mud, Calatayud and Tarazona
A short distance away, in the area of Campo de Cariavelling
in the direction of Navarre and Soria we reach the mountain
of El Moncayo. Tarazona is a town with a fine monumental heritage
in the Gothic, Renaissance and Mud Cistercian monasteries.
That is the Monastery of Rueda, which has an impressive 13th
The cooking of Zaragoza is a skillful combination of farm
products and the foodstuffs typical of arid areas, and it can
generally be said, with very few exception, to be as sturdy,
solid and valiant as the city itself. The vegetables are quite
delicious, and there are two, with their own special and distinctive
tastes, which are still prepared for consumption only here
and in the neighboring region of Navarre: they are the borage
and the cardoom, two plants that require laborious cleaning
but yield exquisite results. Dishes with more substance and
calories tend to be based on domestic fowl, pork or lamb stewed
in different types of stock. Particularly famous is the chilindron,
a stock made with tomato, peppers, onion, garlic oil, and generally
a touch of chili pepper or some other hot ingredient; any meat
that lies to hand can be cooked in it. As for tapas and local
curiosities, a special mention must go to the truly exquisite
snails in hot sauce. There can be no doubt about what to have
for dessert: a "drunk" peach or pear, cured in wine
in the earthenware vats of Carinena.
La Mar. Plaza de Aragon, 12. Tel: (976) 21 22 64. Hosed in
one of the mansions that have been preserved in what was once
a stately square, this is the most fashionable restaurant in
the city. Its decor is in tone with the building, classical
and exquisite; and the food, moreover, is very good.
Los Borrachos. Paseo de Sagasta, 64. Tel: (976) 27 50 36.
Good game, fish and seafood dishes. Another fashionable restaurant,
with prices to match.
Risko Mar. Francisco de Vitoria, 16. Tel: (976) 22 50 53.
Located in an area that has become the very heart of the city
center, this restaurant serves cuisine with an evident Basque
Gurrea. San Ignacio de Loyola, 14. Tel: (976) 23 31 61. Specializing
in seasonal dishes with fresh ingredients, this comfortable
restaurant has been doing a roaring trade for years. A good
La Matilde. Casta Alvarez, 10. Tel: (976) 44 10 08. Stuck
away in the somewhat deteriorated neighborhood of San Pablo,
this restaurant champions the art of creative Aragonese cooking,
with very special dishes for palates that are used to unusual
mixtures of flavors.
Casa Lac. Maritres, 12. Tel: (976) 29 90 25. Everyone should
visit this classic Zaragoza establishment, located in a strategic
position inside the Tubo itself. The food is nothing special,
but it is worth going there for the decor: French blue flock
wallpaper, glass cabinets with antique porcelain, plaster casts
reaching as high as the ceiling, and fans in wooden frames.
It is the symbol of an epoch that disappeared with the Plata.
El Cachirulo. Logrono Road, km 1.5. Tel: (976) 33 16 74. This
is, and always has been, the top restaurant for the most characteristically
La Casa del Ventero. Villanueva de Gallego. Tel: (976) 11
51 87. 14km out of town on the Huesca road.
La Seo. It is the most monumental building in Zaragoza, but
the most difficult to visit: interminable restoration has kept
it closed to worshippers and tourists alike. Begun in the 14th
century, the cathedral was built in the Aragonese Gothic style,
with Mudejar features and later Pateresque and Baroque additions.
The tapestry Museum houses and extremely valuable collection
of works from Flanders and France.
Basilica of Nuestra Senora del Pilar. The imposing shrine
we see today was designed by the younger Herrera in 1677. Its
most distinctive features, the eleven famous domes with their
lanterns, were added later by Ventura Rodriguez, who also designed
the Chapel of the Virgin. Goya and Bayeu painted the frescoes
on the vaults.
The Marchants Exchange. Like all the other large cities belonging
to the Crown of Aragon, Zaragoza had its great trading center,
known as the Lonja. It was built next to the cathedral in the
16th century, and the architect was Juan de Sarinena. The result
is a stunning, airy interior, with three aisles whose ribbed
vaults rest on massive columns decorated in the Plateresque
La Aljaferia. Once the residence of first the Arab and later
the Christian kings, this fortress hides a hole palace in its
interior. Used for a time by the Inquisition and later turned
into a prison, it has recently been restored, and its great
porticoed courtyard and halls with stucco decoration are now
open to public viewing. The musallah, the private mosque of
the Muslim court, is particularly beautiful.
Court of the Infanta. This exquisite Renaissance courtyard,
which once belonged to the palace of Zaporta, was brought all
the way back from Paris by the Zaragoza Savings Bank and reconstructed
stone by stone inside the bank's headquarters, a glass building
in the Plaza de Paraiso. It is quite lovely, with a mass of
delicate alabaster ornamentation.
Museums. Not to be missed: the Museum of Zaragoza, in the
Plaza de los Sitios, with a good archaeological section and
a room devoted to Goya. The Camon Aznar Museum, in the palace
of the Pardo, has a stupendous collection of paintings. The
Pablo Gargallo museum is housed in the palace of the Counts
of Argillo and exhibits contemporary sculpture, whilst the
recently inaugurated Pablo Serrano Museum is in the Paseo de
On October 12 all eyes in Spain are on the city's fiestas
in honor of the Virgen del Pilar. There are processions, displays
of jota singing and dancing, fireworks, bullfights and more.
The shopping area par excellence goes from Residencial Paraiso
in Sagasta to the Plaza de Espana, and all the surrounding
and transversal streets are full of hustle and bustle. Big
stores coexist more or less peacefully in this area with smaller
shops, and the fact that they are all permanently full seems
to indicate that business is good. The most exclusive shops
are to be found on Francisco de Vitoria, San Ignacio de Loyola,
and the streets that cross them. The most typical establishments,
selling virgins of silver or plastic or even used as a motif
on ashtrays and purses, are concentrated in the area of the
Plaza del Pilar. In the windows, alongside the objects of devotion
to the Virgin Mary, visitors will also see the chocolates called
frutas de Aragon and reproduction of the giants and big-heads
that appear at fiesta time. On Sundays, there is a flea market
under the arches of the bullring, a splendid structure based
on historical prototypes. The Best place to buy food is Lanuza
Market, where visitors can also admire the beautiful turn-of-the
century stone and iron construction that houses it.
The Plata has closed down, the Tubo is threatened with demolition
and extinction, and the nightlife of Zaragoza is no longer
centered on Martires and Cuatro de Agosto. Nightbirds, both
young and not so as the old town, located in the streets that
run from Lanuza Market in the direction of Alfonso: Manifestacion
Santa Isabel, Temple and Contamina. They are packed with bars
and clubs. Slightly less hectic, but also very lively, is the
area centered on Francisco Vitoria. And finally, a piece of
news for lovers of old-time kitsch: the oasis (Calle Boggiero,
28) is still standing, though only just. It first opened in
1917 as a cabaret, and all the great Spanish stars, from Miguel
de Molina to Carmen de Lirio, have performed there. A cult
nightspot for the nostalgic.
what tours we have available here!
Book Organized Tours of Spain
Popular tours sell out well in advance! Don't be
Reduce stress! Don't waste time haggling with the hotel concierge.
Lock in your price! Currency dips & price hikes won't effect you.
Save vacation time! Plan & book now, not when you're there.
Balance your vacation budget! Charge tours on this month's credit card bill.
what tours we have available here!