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Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar

The Basílica del Pilar ,full name Catedral-basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza, is a Roman Catholic church in Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain.

The Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is the largest and one of the most important baroque churches in Spain and the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Zaragoza. Its patron saint goes back to a tradition according to which the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared to the Apostle James the Elder on a pillar or a pillar  on January 2nd of the year 40 AD. On this pillar is the miraculous image of Our Lady on the pillar. The Virgin Mary is the patron saint of “Hispanidad”, the feast of Our Lady on the Pillar on October 12th is also the national holiday in Spain.
The current Basilica del Pilar is the legacy of successive constructions replacing the Gothic temple of 1515 which, in turn, succeeded the Romanesque one destroyed by fire in 1443. Interesting works remain inside the burned-out Romanesque church and the demolished Gothic-Mudejar church, such as the altarpiece by Damián Forment and the splendid choir stalls.
Faced with the constant development of the cult, and wanting to offer the Virgin of the Pilar a setting worthy of its prestige, in 1725, the chapter entrusted the architect Ventura Rodríguez with the task of rebuilding the Sainte-Chapelle, completed in 1765. He reorganized also the building in the classical style. It is to this artist that we owe the current configuration and decoration of the basilica.

A few years later, in 1771, Goya painted the frescoes of the vault of the small choir, representing the Adoration of the name of God, as well as the fresco Regina Martyrum (the Queen of the Martyrs) on one of the cupolas. Francisco Bayeu produced the frescoes Regina Sanctorum Omnium (1775) and Regina Prophetarum (1781) for the ceiling.

The basilica continued to be fitted out over the following centuries. The total coverage was completed in 1872 with the completion of the central cupola and the first tower. The other three towers will be raised in 1907 and 1961.

Access : Coordinates: 41.656944, -0.878333 / Location :Zaragoza, Aragon / Parking: in the Plaza del Pilar.

Highlights :

  • The cathedral is 130 meters long, 67 meters wide, has 4 towers and 11 domes. The outer covering of the domes is made of azulejo tiles.
  • In a 2007 poll, the cathedral topped the list of the 12 Treasures of Spain.
  • According to an ancient tradition, the basilica was built in the same place where the Virgin appeared to the apostle Santiago, who was preaching on the banks of the Ebro.
  • The basilica has been classified in Spain as a property of cultural interest since June 22, 1904.
  • the viewpoint of the Torre del Pilar : A glass elevator will take you up to 62 meters in twenty seconds and you will enjoy a spectacular view of the Ebro River and the historic centre.
  • The Pilarist Museum is located inside the temple. Among other things, you will be able to contemplate a precious selection of the cloaks that the Virgen del Pilar wears daily, as well as the various jewels that have been given to her since the 16th century.
  • Opening: from Monday to Sunday. Price: free. (Ascent to the tower: €4)

Go next : The Aljafería Palace. / Cathedral of the Savior of Zaragoza / Puente de Piedr ,a bridge from the 15th century.

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