Caesaraugusta….Zaragoza….can you see how the first, original city name corrupted into the second, present, one? It was established by Augustus of Rome between 25 and 11 BC. It lies within the area (formerly Kingdom) known as Aragon, made famous by the very Catholic first wife of Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England for 24 years until Henry replaced her with Anne Boleyn and started a new branch of Christianity.
Anyway, we stopped here for two days, as Zaragoza is exactly midway between the two largest Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona. We had no idea about the history of this city. Like many other Spanish cities, it had Roman beginnings, eventually was conquered by the Muslims, which is evident in the architecture you will see in the photos, and then again reclaimed by Spain. The first 11 photos are of the magnificent Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, a gargantuan building that dominates the skyline as you enter the city, and also can be seen from most vantage points in the Old Town. Its architectural style is Baroque, and it was built over a 200-year span, between 1681 and 1872. Legend has it that the first chapel dedicated to Mary on this site was in 40 AD by the apostle James. Both its exterior and interior seem to be larger and more ornate than any other church we have seen on our travels. It is over the top to the extreme, we feel.
Aljaferia Palace, a fortress built in the 11th-12th centuries, is in the Mudejar style, that cross between Moorish and Christian elements. It looks so much like buildings in all of the other cities we visited in Spain….the arches, the decorative gingerbread plasterwork, the exterior towers, the interior courtyard with orange trees, the overly ornate ceilings. It is breathtaking. The last shot of the palace is a set of four of the ceilings that we put together in one photo.
Look at the next set of photos that starts with three dresses. Hard to believe, but the dresses, and the images in the next nine photos following them….are made of paper. The photos were taken in the Origami Museum, celebrating the art of paper-folding. We were just delighted by everything we saw here, and are showing you a small fraction of the paper creations that made our jaws drop. It is a very playful exhibition, as you can see…faces, insects, intricate designs, all recognizable. We don’t even have to explain each one, as they are so well done. Can you imagine portraying “The Kiss,” as shown in the photo following the dresses, simply by folding paper? It’s crazy.
After that are photos around town…various buildings, gates, a street scene of the pedestrian walkway in Old Town with the Basilica in the background, the Mudejar Tower (on a Catholic Church!), fountains, and a pair of statues decorating the front of the old trading hall. The last two photos were taken in the Goya Museum. Photos weren’t allowed in the galleries (which display the largest collection of Goya engravings in the world), so these are from the lobby, and the building itself is very pretty…Moorish, in fact, with a nice skylight.