I’ve been in Zaragoza for nearly two weeks now and in between teaching English to Miguel and Inés I have had the opportunity to see a lot of the city and its cultural highlights. Zaragoza has two beautiful cathedrals. The most imposing of these is the Pilar which overlooks the river Ebro and is an important landmark in Zaragoza. It’s full name is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pilar and is reputed to be the first church dedicated to Mary in history owing to an apparition she bestowed upon St.John who is thought to have brought Christianity to Spain. Inside there is an exposed section of the “Pilar” that Mary appeared upon and which Christians from all over the world come to kiss.
Whilst the exterior of the Pilar is very impressive I definitely prefer the interior architecture of La Seo which is the cathedral located on the other side of La Plaza del Pilar. Here I think the atmosphere is also more spiritual as you can listen to choral music playing through speakers as you peruse the various capillas (chapels) and enjoy the romanesque,renaissance and gothic architecture in the church. Entrance to La Seo costs 4 euros and also includes entry to the tapestry museum which is definitely worth a look.
Last Sunday I also went to La Aljafería which is a medieval Islamic palace as well as the loaction of the local parliament. The palace is beautiful inside and I think it is best described as a mini version of the Alhambra in Granada which I have also been to. Most of the palace has been brilliantly reconstructed and it was very enjoyable to walk around the various rooms and imagine what it used to look like.
Yesterday Javier (the father of the family) had to work in the afternoon so Marian’s sister Eva came to help me look after Miguel and Inés. We also met up with Eva’s friend Inés and as we are all around the same age we got on very well and had lots to talk about. We walked along the Paseo de la Independencia which is one of the longest and busiest streets in Zaragoza and then chatted on a bench in La Plaza de los sitios. The monument in this square commemorates the siege of the city by the French in 1908 during the war of independence.Here there is a lovely fountain and Inés and Miguel enjoyed having various races around the the square which Eva set them with the aim of tiring them out. It was worth a try 🙂