Aranda de Moncayo
Ordesa National Park
San Juan de la Peña
Aragón is one of the least known regions of Spain, but rewarding to explore. Its sights are grouped to the north and south, with Zaragoza, the country’s fifth largest city, in the centre. The Pyrenees and their foothills hold most appeal, particularly the awesome canyons and cliffs of the Ordesa National Park. Also worth seeking out is the secluded monastery of San Juan de la Peña. The mountains are popular for walking, skiing and a range of other sports.
Teruel province in the south is known for its Mudéjar architecture, along with several historic towns, most notably Albarracín and Teruel.
Sculpture in Jaca cathedral, Aragón
Aragon is an autonomous region in the northeast of Spain, in the Ebro river basin. Area — 47720.25 sq.km.Population — 1,329,391 (2021). The administrative center is Zaragoza (675301 inhabitants, 2021). Divided into the provinces of Zaragoza, Teruel, Huesca.
In the 9th century, during the Reconquista, the County of Aragon was formed. Since 1035, Aragon has been a kingdom, united in 1137 on the basis of a personal union with the County of Barcelona. In 1164, the Counts of Barcelona became kings of Aragon, including all the lands of Catalonia. In the XIII — XV centuries, Aragon conquered the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Sicily, Naples. Aragon was a kingdom in its own right until unification with Castile in 1479. The dynastic union of Aragon and Castile in 1479 marked the beginning of a single state — Spain.
The yellow waters of the Ebro river cut through the land of Aragon, surrounded by the foothills of the Pyrenees. This central part of Spain has a harsh, sharply continental climate. In winter, the cold reaches here the lowest point in Spain. In summer Aragon is dominated by a merciless and burning sun.
The character of the inhabitants of Aragon was formed in the centuries-old struggle with the surrounding harsh nature. In Spain, they are famous as extremely hardworking, serious and extremely stubborn people who «can hammer nails into a stone wall with their heads». The famous Aragonese dance «jota», which reflected the soul of the people, is also strict, restrained, without pretentiousness.
Industry of Aragon
The main characteristics of the Aragonese industry are its high geographical concentration (especially in the area of the city of Zaragoza), great diversity and the predominance of the processing industry. There are no large enterprises here. However, their share in the economy of the region is 40% of all income of Aragon, which is 3% higher than in all of Spain.
The main branches of the Aragonese industry are automobile and mechanical engineering, production of electricity. In second place is the paper and woodworking industry.
A significant part of the enterprises is concentrated around Zaragoza. Other industrial centers are the provinces of Teruel (mainly mining) and Huesca (food and chemical industries).
«Where two sit down at the table, there will always be a place for the third», says the old proverb. Hospitable, generous Spaniards are invariably ready to share their meal with the guest. Everyone will be welcomed by both rich and poor families.
The harsh Aragonese land gave shelter to Jews and Moors, after they were expelled from other regions of the country. The Muslims who remained to live on the peninsula created wonderful architectural monuments in the Mudéjar style. This style synthesized elements of Moorish art (for example, horseshoe-shaped arches, star-shaped vaults were preserved in architecture) with decorative Gothic and Renaissance motifs. In Aragon, the clearest example of buildings built in this style is the palace-fortress of the Muslim emirs of the 11th century in Zaragoza — Aljaferia.
The Aragonese welcomes friends cordially, but is ready to repulse anyone who comes to his land with evil. The Aragonese fought heroically against the Romans, showed unprecedented stamina and courage, resisting the Napoleonic army.
The capital of Aragon, Zaragoza is located in the Ebro Valley. It is the fifth city in Spain in terms of population.
Chroniclers and historians are still arguing about the time of its occurrence. It is only known for certain that already in 23 BC. e. on the site of the present city there was a Roman city named after the emperor Gaius Julius Caesar. However, little is reminiscent of the time of both Roman and Visigoth rule in present-day Zaragoza. And from the period of Moorish domination, only the alcazar (fortress) and the palace survived.
On August 15, 1808, Napoleon's troops approached the city walls, but they failed to take the city by storm and laid siege to it. The siege lasted quite a long time. The surrender agreement was signed on February 20, 1809. During the siege, 54 out of 100 thousand inhabitants of the city died.
Zaragoza was almost completely destroyed by the French troops. It was possible to save only the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Mary, the vaults of which were painted by the great Goya.
Life in the besieged city and the struggle of its inhabitants against the French invaders are colorfully described in the novel «Zaragoza» by Benito Pérez Galdos (1843-1920).
Today Zaragoza is the agricultural, livestock and commercial center of Spain. The city has many enterprises of the food, metallurgical, chemical and textile industries. There is also a large agricultural machinery plant here.
Basilica Of Our Lady Of Pillar
8318 square meters
The El Pilar basilica in the Argon community of Spain is the first ever church dedicated to Virgin Mary. According to hypothetical believes, Virgin Mary appeared to Apostle Saint James while he was in prayer on the bank of Ebro river in Iberian Peninsula of Spain. Virgin Mary gave a statue of herself made of wood and a pillar. Then she instructed him to build a church. Following her instruction Saint James built a small church in Zaragoza province in 1st century A.D.
A number of churches were added to the site in following centuries. The first chapel in the site also got distorted by that time. But the statue of Virgin Mary and the pillar remain intact. Today’s model of the El pilar basilica was built in 17th century. A century after it was renovated by Spanish architect Ventura Rodriguez. The final works of pillars of the church completed in 20th century.
This large church has an internal area of 8318 square meters. There are four impressive towers and eleven cupolas in the church. The 15 inches tall statue of Virgin Mary located in holy chapel of the church. Today El Pilar cathedral is one of most visited pilgrimage centers in Spain.
This town is one of the most popular places in Spain when it comes to psychophonies and paranormal experiences that attract tourists and investigators. In this village in Zaragoza, now abandoned and in ruins due to the bombings of 1937, about 5,000 people died during the Civil War in what was the Battle of Belchite. Guided tours are available during the day and at night and, if you dare, you can leave your mobile phone recording on a stone. Paranormal legends say that you can hear wailing, screams and the sounds of combat.
The village of Torla, in the province of Aragon, is the gateway to Ordesa National Park. Thanks to its glacial valleys, imposing peaks sculpted by the Pyrenean glaciers, beautiful waterfalls, and pine forests, you’ll fall in love with Torla at first sight. Its narrow streets and stone houses only add to its charm.