• With its three towers, the basilica dominates the view of the city
    © Pedro Salaverria / age fotostock
    Façade of the basilica

    With its three towers, the basilica dominates the view of the city

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Spain

Just as it sits on the banks of no fewer than three rivers, so Zaragoza's heritage is a combination of influences from all the cultures that have inhabited the city over the years. Its heritage is primarily architectural, making this a truly cosmopolitan city which is ready to face the challenges of the future whilst maintaining its links with the past. This being the case, it is able to demonstrate an innovative side whilst protecting, albeit with a certain degree of sensitivity, the heritage it has acquired through centuries of Roman, Visigoth, Muslim, Jewish and Christian influence.
Relics from the Roman period, for example, include the Santa Engracia Crypt, the Roman fortification walls and four museums constructed on actual ruins dating back to this time (the forum, the theatre, the thermal baths, etc.). One thing certainly not to be missed when visiting the city is the Aljafería Palace, which dates back to the Mudejar period, and the various Muslim towers built around the same time. It was, however, Christianity that would have the biggest influence on the city's heritage, including the Charterhouse of Aula Dei and the Gothic-style 'Puente de Piedra' ('Stone Bridge'), the huge Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, many churches and other Baroque-style religious buildings and various civil and religious architectural buildings dating back to the Roman period. The Renaissance also left its mark on the city with major civil works such as La Lonja, the Patio de la Infanta and even the Condes de Morata and Arguillo Palaces. Nowadays, this heritage stands side by side with new, more contemporary constructions, representing a whole range of styles and periods of the city's history.
Nothing will help you familiarise yourself with Zaragoza more than a stroll through the various districts of the city, where you'll encounter the truly authentic ambience of both the city itself and the region as a whole. Remember, too, that the Pilar Festival, in honour of the patron saint, takes place on 12th October and is really worth getting involved in if you get the opportunity. It is also one of Spain's biggest festivals and one of its most deep-rooted in terms of tradition.

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