A Dedication to Zaragoza–My Future Home…

As I announced previously, my future city of residence in España will be none other than that illustrious Aragonese captial, Zaragoza!!… Unfortunately, ZGZ definitely doesn’t seem to pop up that often on most people’s radar: Not too many people who I know have heard of it, and I seem to be one of the only two auxiliares in the blogosphere who are actually working there (the other being Blayne from Leaves From The Vine [check it out, check it ouuuuut!!])… Hence, in this post, I’ll try to rep my future city and bring its awesomeness to light (with the vast majority of info and photos coming from Wikipedia)!!… Basilica--

La Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (beautiful, isn’t it???)…

The Basics: Situated within Zaragoza province, ZGZ is a fairly large city of around 700,000, making it Spain’s 5th-largest city…Although its population as not as diverse as, say, nearby Barcelona, 15% (107,854) of the city’s denizens are foreign nationals, mainly hailing from Romania, China, Central/South America, and Africa… Zaragoza_Spain_location Because the city lies in the Ebro valley, it has what is called a “semi-arid climate”–that is to say, the amount of annual rainfall is scant, and the temperature ranges are extreme, going from -4° to 10° C (25° to 50° F) during the winter (and that’s before the wind chill factor makes it feel as low as -15° C [5° F]), to reaching up to 40° C (104° F) during the summer… 634px-Bandera_de_Zaragoza_svg …City flag… Escudo_de_Zaragoza_svg …City coat of arms… A City Steeped In Antiquity… Founded sometime between 25 B.C. and 12 B.C. by the Romans, the city that was originally called Caesaraugusta (it was named after the Empire’s then-ruler, Augustus [“Saraugusta”=”Zaragoza”]), this gem on the banks of the River Ebro has been in existence for over 2,000 years, having withstood bouts of Roman, Moorish, Aragonese, Castilian, and Napoleonic rule (and a 36-year dictatorship, as well!!)… zaragoza-map …The Casco Histórico (Old Quarter) … Indeed, in the Old Quarter, one can take in artistic/architectural greatness from many historical/artistic eras–as well as enjoy the best tapas in town!!… 1024px-Fachada_Aljafería_nocturna …The AljaferíaCaptura3El Ángel del Pincho–what is, apparently, one of the best tapas joints in the Old Quarter… But of course, you can’t talk about ZGZ’s artistic heritage without mentioning this guy: Self-portrait_at_69_Years_by_Francisco_de_Goya Goya (his family was from there)!!… …Yet Modern and Youthful: While the city definitely is historic, there exists the juxtaposition of youthful energy that one only finds in a college town–which makes sense, considering that ZGZ has its own Universidad, which is the only public university in the entire region of Aragón… Universidad de Zaragoza …The Antigua Facultad de Medicina y Ciencias (Old Department of Medicine and Science)… With about 40,000 students, that means there are plenty of young people–and when there’s plenty of young people, there’s always a vibrant nightlife, full of bars, taverns, clubs, and concert halls!!… sala_oasis_club_teatro_actuacion_2_600x338Oasis Club/TeatroLooking Toward the Future... The city’s done a lot to revitalize and modernize itself over the last decade, with improvements in transportation, new local hot spots, and citywide projects/activities that engage the community… Parque_Metropolitano_del_Agua_(Zaragoza)El Torre del Agua (The Water Tower)… This sort of rebirth was most certainly facilitated by Expo 2008–an international convention/fair that was centered around the themes of water (hence, El Torre) and sustainable environmental development/distribution of resources…Because of this event, there’s a lot more to see/do on the banks of the Ebro nowadays–such as a visit to the largest freshwater aquarium in Europe!!… 726087_1 …Inside El Acuario FluvialBut Ever Mindful of Tradition: However, like all of Spain’s major cities and towns, Zaragoza balances this sense of modernity with enduring traditionalism… 5123166321_1a1d740230_zEl Rosario de Cristal (The Crystal Rosary)… These ties to tradition can be seen most clearly in all of the city’s major annual festivals–especially Las Fiestas del Pilar…According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared miraculously to St. James in the first century, standing on a pillar (hence, the name of the basilica that commemorates this occurrence [Nuestra Señora del Pilar])… Hence, for 9 days every October, the “El Pilar” celebrations are in full swing, with dances, parades, concerts, bullfights, and the like…Everything culminates on the 12th with the Ofrenda de Flores (Flower Offering) to the Virgin (pictured above), as well as a spectacular display of pyrotechnics above the river… fuegos-fiestas-del-pilar …It’s weird–I haven’t even gotten there, yet, but I’m feeling a distinct sense of pride for my future city, :-)…Anyone else feel the same way???…

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19 thoughts on “A Dedication to Zaragoza–My Future Home…

  1. Kirstie says:

    So many exciting things to see/do there! I was flipping through my photos of my trip there last May and had forgotten just how beautiful Zaragoza really is.

    I’m sure you’ll travel plenty, but I definitely recommend seeing Pamplona and Logroño while you’re there, since they aren’t too far away! The food in those cities is to die for.

  2. Living Valencia says:

    In Spain there are many cities more beautiful than Zaragoza, but Zaragoza is one of the funniest cities in Spain. They are the most friendly people of Spain with people from Pamplona.

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