Zaragoza on the banks of the River Ebro, whose fertile surroundings contrast to the desolate wastes of Aragón. Zaragoza also called Saragossa in English, is the capital of Zaragoza Province,and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain.
The location on the Ebro river and its tributaries, the Huerva and the Gállego, is almost the centre of the region, in an area with contrasting landscapes, ranging from desert (Los Monegros) to thick forest, meadows and mountains. The city is of Iberian origin. Augustus turned it into a military colony, and it was evangelised by St. James. After the meeting of the States of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, Zaragoza ceased to be a royal residence, but retained it 'fueros', its provincial rights, right up to the advent of the Bourbons, who suppressed them. In December 1808, the French troops under Maréchal Lannes attacked the town and the populace put up a heroic defence.
The attackers had to take it house by house, and even floor by floor. Fifty thousand Spaniards, or more than half the towns inhabitants, died in battle or through famine.
The cathedral, called the Seo, was built between 1119 and 1550 on the site of a former mosque; it is dominated by an octagonal tower. The Moresque style is represented by a decoration of azulegos. The interior is Gothic, with richly worked roof vaults. Behind the choir, noteworthy plateresque decoration. In the choir, grill, oaken stalls, and a magnificent lectern, presented by anti-Pope Luna. In the Chapel of San Bernardo is a memorial to the Archbishop Fernand of Aragón and his mother. In the sacristy is a golden cross on which the King took an oath to respect the 'fueros' of Aragón; in the chapter house, sketches for the decoration of the Del Pilar church by Bayeu, Goya, Uncerta, and Montaňés, as well as several French and Flemish tapestries. In the great chapel, with 14th century octagonal dome, the work of Enrique Egas, is an alabaster Gothic reredos ( altar / altar screen) with scenes from the Life of Christ.
Near the Seo stand La, Lonja (Trade Exchange), in Renaissance style, with some Gothic and plateresque elements. Hall with Gothic roof, supported by two rows of Ionic pillars. The Archbishop's Palace, 15th century, has a reredos of the same epoch and some pictures by Goya and Montaňés, as well as Primitives. Nuestra Seňora del Pilar is Zaragoza's second cathedral. A pilgrimage is made to it on 12th October, day of the Fiesta de la Raza, which commemorates the discovery of America. It was begun in the 17th century, after plans by Francisco Herrera, and completed by Ventura Rodriguez in neo classic style. on the site of a little chapel built by St. James to the miraculous image of the Virgin, which appeared at this place in the year 40. Of vast proportions, it has ten cupolas covered with azulejos. The chapel of Nuestra Seňora del Pilar, in the interior, contains some amazing treasures. The venerated image ( 14th century ) is found at the right hand altar on a marble pillar where St. James placed the earlier image at the beginning of our era. It is clothed in a sumptuous dalmatic. The sides of the chapel have silver balustrades, and the marble pillars are adorned with flags of the Hispo-American nations. In the western section of the cathedral is a Gothic reredos in alabaster by Damián Forment ( Scenes from the Life of a Virgin ). The 16th century choir