Venturing further afield: A long weekend in Zaragoza

We love to travel not only locally, but throughout Spain, so I will also include information, from time to time, about where we have visited.  Usually these places can either be driven to within a few hours of our home, east of Málaga, or we will have flown there from Málaga (AGP) airport.

Zaragoza and the River Ebro, Spain

We managed to find some cheap return flights from Málaga with Ryanair  to Zaragoza in northern Spain.  If you take only hand luggage, there are often bargains to be had,  so if you have a few days to spare, it is well worth spending a long weekend in this beautiful city.

Situated in the northeast of the country on the river Ebro, Zaragoza was once an important Roman colony, a thriving Muslim city and a cornerstone of the Catholic Spanish empire.   This ancient city has the fortune of being located between Madrid, BarcelonaValencia and Bilbao, which probably accounted for it’s prominence.

Zaragoza is Spain’s fifth largest city and is the capital of the immense autonomous region of Aragon.

Roman walls in Zaragoza, Spain

Deriving its name from the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus,  Zaragoza has a real Roman theme to it, with an 80 metre section of  the old city walls still surviving, as well as a forum, theatre and baths.

We lost no time in getting to know this charming city which, despite having a population of over 700,000,  feels surpringly small and easy to get around.

Zaragoza cathedral

We visited the beautiful Baroque Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar and took the scenic elevator inside the highest tower for magnificent views over the River Ebro and the city.

Palacio de la Aljafería, Zaragoza

We were amazed by the Palacio de la Aljafería  which pre-dates the Moorish Alhambra Palace in Granada, and is the home of the regional parliament of Aragon.  The Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon, including the Basilica, La Seo Cathedral and the  Aljafería Palace have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Zaragoza is a city that may not figure on the typical tourist trail around Spain but, nevertheless, may just be one of its best kept secrets! 


You might also enjoy:

A weekend away: Santiago de Compostela

Venturing further afield: San Sebastián in the heart of Basque country

A long weekend in Santander


The Eagle Aqueduct, Maro

Eagle Aqueduct, Maro, Spain

The Eagle Aqueduct (El Puente del Águila) was built in the 19th century as a means of supplying water to the San Joaquín sugar factory on the outskirts of the town of Nerja.

Damaged during the Spanish Civil War, but recently restored, the Eagle Aqueduct comprises four storeys of superimposed brick arcades with 37 arches.   Soaring high above the spire at the central point of the structure is a weather vane in the shape of a double-headed eagle, from which the aqueduct takes its name.  The structure is 40 metres tall and 90 metres wide, with it’s design being typical of the period of construction, when the Mudéjar-style was very popular.

Situated on the Barranco de la Coladilla and spanning a ravine close to the Nerja Caves and the village of Maro, the aqueduct is visible from the old N340 coast road linking Nerja with Maro.   With a backdrop of the Sierra Almijara, it´s easy to see why this is one of the most photographed images of the local area.   There is a lay-by at the side of the road where you can leave the car to get a good view or to take photographs of the monument.  The area surrounding the aqueduct is public land and free to visit.

Strangely, the facade visible from the viewpoint is the rear of the construction, as the aqueduct faces north.   The Eagle Aqueduct was NOT built by the Romans, as many believe, though the remains of a Roman bridge and the old Roman road to Malaca (Málaga), were unearthed nearby.

Despite the closure of the San Joaquín sugar mill many years ago, the aqueduct continues to be used for the irrigation of local farmland.

Related articles:

Sweet memories: San Joaquín sugar mill

La Viñuela reservoir: Water levels

Travel theme: Architecture