Saturday, 29 September 2012

A Day trip to Zaragoza

Since our youngest son was leaving Spain before us and flying from Zaragoza, a place we had never visited, we decided to be generous parents and ferry him by car for his 7 pm flight. In order to combine a visit we left Torreciudad early and made straight for the centre of the town with the help of our newly purchased Tom Tom (which had been less than helpful thus far!) No problems this time. The voice of 'Kate' took us directly to the large underground car park below the central square where the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar is located. Reputedly the first church in history dedicated to Mary and built by St James following her only apparition prior to her Assumption

According to ancient local tradition, soon after the crucifixion and resurrection ofJesus, Saint James was preaching the Gospel in Spain, but was disheartened because of the failure of his mission. Tradition holds that on 2 January 40 AD while he was deep in prayer by the banks of the Ebro, the Mother of God appeared to him and gave him a small wooden statue of herself and a column of jasper and instructed him to build a church in her honour:

“This place is to be my house, and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build.”

The present church in Baroque style was begun in 1681 by Charles II, King of Spain and completed in 1686.

We thought the main square was impressive and its modern and ancient architecture combined beautifully.

We also had time to visit the Aljaferia Palace, an 11th century Arab palace built as a place of recreation and defence. We also enjoyed lunch in a small restaurant poular with the locals (always a good sign!) before saying goodbye to our youngest son and heading back through a torrential rainstorm to 'our place in Spain'
We hope to visit Zaragoza again as we felt we had merely scratched its surface.

Our Lady of the Pillar. Pray for us 

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