|Zaragoza's origins date back to the Iberian
settlement of Salduba, but it is to the Roman Caesar Augustus, and Islamic
Sarakosta, that it owes both its name and the still easily recognizable
rectangular perimeter of its old town, bordered by the lower and upper
sections of Calle Coso, Avenida de César Augusto and the River Ebro. The
wealth of the citys historical legacy is a nightmare for present-day
builders, since a hole can't be dug in the ground of this area or its
surroundings without uncovering important archaeological remains, as
happened recently with the discovery of the ancient Roman Theatre, now
being restored, in Calle Verónica, behind Teatro Principal.
Zaragoza has always benefited from a strategic location, a fact as true as ever in our time, being in the middle of a crossroads which traverses Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. The result is a dynamic and modern town, continuously growing, yet with still mostly walkable distances, with a legacy of splendid buildings and monuments inherited from all the cultures that have contributed to its development. For convenience, Zaragoza can be divided into three areas of interest: the historic centre, the Ensanche and boulevards, and the University-Delicias area.
On the western end of this area is Aljafería Palace, a castle surrounded by a moat and gardens, and the most important relic of Zaragozas Islamic period and today the parliament of Aragón. In Predicadores we should mention San Pablo Church, while La Magdalena Church in the neighbourhood of the same name has in its tower one of the finest examples of the Aragonese variety of the mudéjar style (involving brick and coloured tile decoration due to Moorish artisans who stayed long after the Christian conquest).
It is in the old town proper, however, where we find the greatest number of important monuments and buildings, beginning with the huge Plaza del Pilar, where the famous and grandiose basilica stands, along with the Lonja Palace, Seo Cathedral, the Roman Forum Museum and, at the opposite end of the square, San Juan de los Panetes Church with its leaning tower, the mudéjar tower of La Zuda and the remains of the Roman wall. Pleasant as it may be to wander among the old towns streets, two parallel ones which cut across it truly make a useful reference point: Don Jaime I, passing near the squares of Santa Marta, Santa Cruz and San Pedro Nolasco, and leading to the Teatro Principal; and Alfonso I, cleared for its view of the Pilar Basilica and from which one can reach San Felipe Square.
This is a very lively area, full of shops of every kind, narrow streets, squares and pleasant corners, with many tapas bars with tables outside and a busy nightlife.
Ensanche and boulevards
Paseo de la Independencia, starting from Plaza de España and flanked by large arches, is the towns main promenade, with its cinemas and shops. The nearby Plaza de Salamero is interesting and enjoying renewed popularity, and across the Paseo, Plaza de los Sitios has a monument commemorating Napoleons two sieges on Zaragoza and the Archaeological Museum.
Another important boulevard also stems from Plaza Paraíso, Paseo de Sagasta, which is the axis of a busy commercial area with many shops, bars cafés and restaurants. Calle Moncasi and its surroundings amass huge numbers of the very young on weekends. More sparsely populated and with a rather more adult appeal, there are also many bars and restaurants on and around Bolonia, Camino de las Torres, Avenida Tenor Fleta and José Pellicer. On reaching Pignatelli Park, Sagasta becomes Paseo de Cuéllar, which leads to the Venecia pine groves, the amusement park and the neighbourhoods of Torrero and La Paz.
In the area between the start of Sagasta and Paseo de la Constitución is the traditionally more expensive, "posh" part of town, León XIII, also abundant in pubs, restaurants and shops.
|Avg. Precip.||0.9 in||0.8 in||0.9 in||1.3 in||1.5 in||1.2 in||0.6 in||0.7 in||1.0 in||1.2 in||1.4 in||0.8 in|
Fahrenheit temperature scale is used.