|Districts||Actur, Casco Antiguo, Centro, Delicias, Universidad, San José, Las Fuentes, La Almozara, Oliver-Valdefierro, Torrero-La Paz, Margen Izquierda, Barrios Rurales Norte, Barrios Rurales Oeste, Valdespartera, Arcosur|
|• Body||Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza|
|• Mayor||Pedro Santisteve Roche (Zaragoza en Común)|
|• Total||973.78 km2 (375.98 sq mi)|
|Elevation||243 m (797 ft)|
|• Density||680/km2 (1,800/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||zaragozano (m), zaragozana (f)|
|Time zone||CET (GMT +1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (GMT +2) (UTC)|
|Postcode||50001 – 50020|
Zaragoza (//, // or //, Spanish: [θaɾaˈɣoθa]), also called Saragossa (//) in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It lies by the Ebro river and its tributaries, the Huerva and the Gállego, roughly in the center of both Aragon and the Ebro basin.
On 1 September 2010 the population of the city of Zaragoza was 701,090, within its administrative limits on a land area of 1,062.64 square kilometres (410.29 square miles), ranking fifth in Spain. It is the 32nd most populous municipality in the European Union. The population of the metropolitan area was estimated in 2006 at 783,763 inhabitants. The municipality is home to more than 50 percent of the Aragonese population. The city lies at an elevation of 199 metres (653 feet) above sea level.
The city is famous for its folklore, local gastronomy, and landmarks such as the Basílica del Pilar, La Seo Cathedral and the Aljafería Palace. Together with La Seo and the Aljafería, several other buildings form part of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fiestas del Pilar are among the most celebrated festivals in Spain.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Climate
- 5 Economy
- 6 Culture
- 7 Education
- 8 Transportation
- 9 Sports
- 10 Main sights
- 11 Twin towns and sister cities
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The city was called by the ancient Romans Caesaraugusta, from which the present name derives, perhaps influenced by the Arabic: سرقسطة (Saraqusta), name of the city during the Islamic Period (714-1118). The Iberian town that predated the Roman city was called Salduie.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2014)|
The Sedetani, a tribe of ancient Iberians, populated a village called Salduie (Salduba in Roman sources). Later on, Augustus founded a city called Caesaraugusta at the same location to settle army veterans from the Cantabrian wars. The foundation date of Caesaraugusta has not been set with exact precision, though it is known to lie between 25 BC and 12 BC. The city did not suffer any decline during the last centuries of the Roman empire and was captured peacefully by the Goths in the fifth century AD.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2014)|
In 714 the Umayyad Caliphate took control of the city, renaming it Saraqusta (سرقسطة), a corruption of the original Roman name. It later became part of the Emirate of Cordoba. It grew to become the biggest Muslim-controlled city of Northern Spain and as the main city of the Emirate's Upper March, Zaragoza was a hotbed of political intrigue. In 777 Charlemagne was invited by Husayn, the Wali (governor) of Zaragoza, to take the submission of the city but having marched an army to the city gates he found Husayn to have had a change of heart and was forced to give up after a month-long siege of the city, facing Basque attacks on his rear guard on his withdrawal. Four years later Emir Abd ar-Rahman I sent an army to reestablish firm control over the city. Husayn's family rebelled again in 788, and the head of the Banu Qasi was killed trying to put down the insurrection. Subsequent rebellions were launched there by Matruh al-Arabi (789), Bahlul Ibn Marzuq (798) and Amrus ibn Yusuf (802), who reached an accord with the Emir and retained control of the city. In 852, control of the city was awarded to Musa ibn Musa of the Banu Qasi, but following a defeat at Christian hands in 861 he was deprived of the city by the Emir, only for it to be retaken by his son Isma'il a decade later. Muhammad ibn Lubb ibn Qasi rebelled against the Emir in 884, and according to chronicler Ibn Hayyan he sold Zaragoza to Raymond of Pallars, but it was immediately retaken by the Emir and in 886 was given to the Banu Tujibi. In spite of a 17-year siege by the Banu Qasi, the Banu Tujibi continued to hold the city, growing in power and autonomy, until in 1018 they broke from Cordoban control and founded an independent Taifa state.
Taifa of Zaragoza
From 1018 to 1118 Zaragoza was one of the taifa kingdoms, independent Muslim states which emerged in the eleventh century following the destruction of the Cordoban Caliphate. During the first three decades of this period, 1018–1038, the city was ruled by the Banu Tujibi. In 1038 they were replaced by the Banu Hud, who had to deal with a complicated alliance with El Cid of Valencia and his Castilian masters against the Almoravids, who managed to bring the Taifas Emirates under their control. After the death of El Cid his kingdom was overrun by the Almoravids, who, by 1100, had managed to cross the Ebro into Barbastro, which brought Aragon into direct contact with them. The Banu Hud stubbornly resisted the Almoravids and ruled until they were eventually defeated by them in May 1110.
The last sultan of the Banu Hud, Abd-al-Malik Imad ad-Dawla, the last king of Zaragoza, forced to abandon his capital, allied himself with the Christian Aragonese under Alfonso the Battler and from that time the Muslims of Zaragoza became military regulars within the Aragonese forces.
In 1118 the Aragonese conquered the city from the Almoravids and made it the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon. After Alfonso's death without heirs in 1134, Zaragoza was swiftly occupied by Alfonso VII of León and Castile. The city control was held by García Ramirez, king of Navarra, until 1136 when it was given to Ramiro II 'the Monk' in the treaty signed at the betrothal of Ramiro's daughter Petronila and Alfonso's son Sancho. The wedding never happened, as Petronila ended up marrying Ramón Berenguer IV, count of Barcelona. The marriage union was the origin of the Crown of Aragón.
13th century Zaragoza was the scene of two controversial martyrdoms related with the Spanish Inquisition: those of Saint Dominguito del Val, a choirboy in the basilica, and Pedro de Arbués, head official of the inquisition. While the reality of the existence of Saint Dominguito del Val is questioned, his "murder" at the hands of "jealous Jews" was used as an excuse to murder or convert the Jewish population of Zaragoza.
Zaragoza suffered two famous sieges during the Peninsular War against the Napoleonic army: a first from June to August 1808; and a second from December 1808 to February 1809 (see Agustina de Aragón, Siege of Saragossa (1809)), surrendering only after some 50,000 defenders had died.
Despite a decline in the outlying rural economy, Zaragoza has continued to grow. During the second half of the 20th century, its population boomed as a number of factories opened in the region. The General Military Academy, a higher training center of the Spanish Army, was re-established on September 27, 1940 by Minister of the Army José Enrique Varela Iglesias. In 1979 the Hotel Corona de Aragón fire killed at least 80. The armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization ETA from northern Spain has been blamed, but officially the fire is still regarded as accidental. ETA carried out the 1987 Zaragoza Barracks bombing in the city which killed eleven people, including a number of children, leading to 250,000 people taking part in demonstrations in the city.
Population, in thousands, can be seen here:
|Population||594 394||601 674||610 976||638 799||647 373||660 895||682 283|
- Historical Series of population: National Statistics Institute of Spain (INE)
- Dates 2006 City council of Zaragoza.
Zaragoza has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk), as it lies in a wide basin entirely surrounded by mountains. The average precipitation is a scanty 310 millimetres (12 inches) with abundant sunny days, and the rainfall centers in spring. There is drought in summer. The temperatures are high in summer reaching up to 40 °C (104 °F).
In winter the temperatures are cool, either because of the fog (about 20 days from November to January) or a cold and dry wind blowing from the NW, the Cierzo (related to other northerly winds such as the Mistral in the SE of France) on clear days. Frost is common and there is sporadic snowfall. The Cierzo can cause a 'wind chill factor' as low as −15 °C (5 °F) during cold spells.
|Climate data for Zaragoza Airport 263m (1981-2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||20.0
|Average high °C (°F)||10.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||6.6
|Average low °C (°F)||2.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−10.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||21
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||4||4||4||6||6||4||3||2||3||5||5||5||51|
|Average relative humidity (%)||75||68||60||58||56||52||49||53||59||69||74||77||62|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||131||165||217||226||275||307||348||315||243||195||148||124||2,694|
|Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología|
In addition to the advantageous geographic situation, an Opel factory was opened in 1982 in Figueruelas, a small village nearby. The progressive decline of the agrarian economy turned Opel into one of the main pillars of the regional economy, along with Balay, which manufactures household appliances; CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A.), which builds railway engines for both the national and international markets; SAICA and Torraspapel in the stationery sector; and various other local companies, such as Pikolin, Lacasa, and Imaginarium SA.
The city's economy benefited from projects like the Expo 2008, the official World's Fair, whose theme was water and sustainable development, held between 14 June and 14 September 2008, Plataforma Logística de Zaragoza (PLAZA), and the Parque Tecnológico de Reciclado (PTR). Furthermore, since December 2003, it has been a city through which the AVE high-speed rail travels. Currently, Zaragoza Airport is a major cargo hub in the Iberian Peninsula, behind only Madrid, Barcelona, and Lisbon.
Zaragoza is home to a Spanish Air Force base, which was shared with the U.S. Air Force until 1994. In English, the base was known as Zaragoza Air Base. The Spanish Air Force maintained an F/A-18 Hornet wing at the base. No American flying wings (with the exception of a few KC-135's) were permanently based there, but it served as a training base for American fighter squadrons across Europe. It is also the main headquarters for the Spanish Land Army, hosting the Academia General Militar, a number of brigades at San Gregorio, and other garrisons.
Christianity took root in Zaragoza at an early date. According to legend, St. Mary appeared miraculously to Saint James the Great in Zaragoza in the first century, standing on a pillar. This apparition is commemorated by a famous Catholic basilica called Nuestra Señora del Pilar ("Our Lady of the Pillar").
The annual Fiestas del Pilar last for nine days, with its main day on 12 October. Since this date coincided in 1492 with the first sighting by Christopher Columbus of the Americas, that day is also celebrated as El Día de la Hispanidad (Columbus Day) by Spanish-speaking people worldwide.
There are many activities during the festival, from the massively attended Pregon (opening speech) to the final fireworks display over the Ebro; they also include marching bands, dances such as "Jota aragonesa" (the most popular dance of folklore music genre), a procession of gigantes y cabezudos, concerts, exhibitions, vaquillas, bullfights, fairground amusements, and fireworks. Some of the most important events are the Ofrenda de Flores, or Flower Offering to St. Mary of the Pillar, on 12 October, when an enormous surface resembling a cloak for St. Mary is covered with flowers, and the Ofrenda de Frutos on 13 October, when all the autonomous communities of Spain offer their typical regional dishes to St. Mary and donate them to soup kitchens.
The University of Zaragoza is based in the city. As one of the oldest universities in Spain and a major research and development centre, this public university awards all the highest academic degrees in dozens of fields. Zaragoza is also home to the MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program, a unique partnership between MIT, the Government of Aragon and the University of Zaragoza.
The city is connected by motorway with the main cities in central and northern Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Bilbao, all of which are located about 300 kilometres (200 miles) from Zaragoza.
The city has a network of buses which is controlled by the Urban Buses of Zaragoza (AUZSA). The network consists of 31 regular lines (two of them circle lines), two scheduled routes, six shuttle buses (one free), and seven night buses operating on Fridays, Saturdays and other festivities. Zaragoza also has an interurban bus network operated by Transport Consortium Zaragoza Area (CTAZ) that operates 17 regular lines.
Zaragoza's bicycle lanes facilitate non-motorized travel and help cyclists to avoid running into pedestrians and motor vehicles. The city council also has a public bicycle-hire scheme; for a small annual charge, people can collect a bicycle from one hire point and ride it to another part of the city, leaving the bicycle at a different hire point.
The first line of the Zaragoza tram (Valdespartera-Parque Goya) is fully operational.
Zaragoza is a part of the Spanish high-speed railway operated by RENFE, AVE, which connects Madrid and Barcelona via high-speed rail. Madrid can be reached in 75 minutes, and Barcelona in approximately 90 minutes. The central station is "Intermodal Zaragoza Delicias Station", which serves both railway lines and coaches. In addition to long-distance railway lines and the high-speed trains, Zaragoza has a network of commuter trains operated by RENFE called cercanías.
The Zaragoza Airport opened in September 1947. It is located in the Garrapinillos neighborhood, 10 kilometers from the city center, and is connected by bus with a frequency of 30 minutes.
Zaragoza Airport is a major commercial airport, its freight traffic surpassing that of Barcelona El Prat in 2012, and serves as the home of the Spanish Air Force's 15th Group. It was also used by NASA as a contingency landing site for the Space Shuttle in the case of a Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL).
Zaragoza's football team, Real Zaragoza, plays in the Segunda División. One of the most remarkable events in the team's recent history is the winning of the former UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1995. The team has also won the Spanish National Cup "Copa del Rey" six times: 1965, 1966, 1986, 1994, 2001 and 2004 and an Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1964).
Their local basketball team, Basket Zaragoza 2002, is now in the Liga ACB and in the Eurocup. They play at the Príncipe Felipe with a capacity of 11,000. In addition, the city has a women's basketball team: Mann Filter-Casablanca, which now plays in the Liga Femenina de Baloncesto.
A permanent feature built for Expo 2008 is the pump-powered artificial whitewater course "El Canal de Aguas Bravas."
Zaragoza has a lot of facilities to practice sports, you can swim, play soccer, basketball, tennis. You can also enjoy other outdoor sports such as cycling, there are a host of bicycle routes near the river.
Near the basilica on the banks of the Ebro are located the city hall, the Lonja (old currency exchange), La Seo (literally "the See" in the Aragonese language) or Cathedral of San Salvador, a church built over the main mosque (partially preserved in the 11th-century north wall of the Parroquieta), with Romanesque apses from the 12th century; inside, the imposing hallenkirche from the 15th to 16th centuries, the Baroque tower, and finally, with its famous Museum of Tapestries near the Roman ruins of forum and port city wall.
Some distance from the centre of the old city is the Moorish castle (or palace) Aljafería, the most important Moorish buildings in northern Spain and the setting for Giuseppe Verdi's opera Il trovatore (The Troubadour). The Aragonese parliament currently sits in the building.
The churches of San Pablo, Santa María Magdalena and San Gil Abad were built in the 14th century, but the towers may be old minarets dating from the 11th century; San Miguel (14th century); Santiago (San Ildefonso) and the Fecetas monastery are Baroque with Mudéjar ceilings of the 17th century. All the churches are Mudéjar monuments that comprise a World Heritage Site.
Other important sights are the stately houses and palaces in the city, mainly of the 16th century: palaces of the count of Morata or Luna (Audiencia), Deán, Torrero (colegio de Arquitectos), Don Lope or Real Maestranza, count of Sástago, count of Argillo (today the Pablo Gargallo museum), archbishop, etc.
On 14 June 2008, the site of Expo 2008 opened its doors to the public. The exhibition ran until 14 September.
Museums  in Zaragoza are:
- Museum of Fine Arts Zaragoza, with paintings by early Aragonese artists, 15th century, and by El Greco, Ribera and Goya, and the Camón Aznar Museum, with paintings ranging from Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Velazquez and Goya to Renoir, Manet and Sorolla.
Twin towns and sister cities
Zaragoza has special bilateral collaboration agreements with:
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