Zaragoza also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It is situated on the Ebro river and its tributaries, the Huerva and the Gállego, near the centre of the region, in a valley with a variety of landscapes, ranging from desert (Los Monegros) to thick forest, meadows and mountains.
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.
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, who vacated it in 1137 only on condition it be held by Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona as a fief of Castile.
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.
Zaragoza's craft and souvenir shops are located at Anticuarios de la Plaza de San Brun.
Mercadillo La Romareda behind the La Romareda Football Stadium is the largest open-air market in Zaragoza, but if you are looking for food and fresh produce head for Mercado Central and Lanuza Market.
If you are looking for everything under one roof, then El Corte Inglés is located next to Plaza de Paraíso, and Centro Comercial Gran Casa is a one-stop super mall where you can find everything including shops, restaurants a bowling alley and cinemas.
Mercado Central is on a site which has been a market place since the Middle Ages. It is the perfect place to buy Zaragozan products as well as observe the atmosphere of a traditional Spanish market. The Misericordia Bullring is the place to go on Sunday as it is the venue for the traditional flea market.
Some of the best known local cuisine specialities are: Bacalao al Ajoarriero, cod-fish with garlic and eggs,Huevos al Salmorejo, eggs with cold tomato cream, Longanizas y Chorizos, highly appreciated kinds of sausages, Ternasco Asado, roasted young lamb, Pollo al Chilindrón, chicken in a sauce of cured ham, tomatoes, onions and paprika, Cordero a la Pastora, lamb Shepherd's style, Lomo de Cerdo a la Zaragozana, cutlet, Migas a la Aragonesa, a dish made of crumbs scrambled with an egg and chorizo. People even eat rabbits stewed in rabbit blood. Borrajas is a vegetable which can only be found in Aragon. It is usually eaten with olive oil.Melocotón con vino, peaches in wine, is also a good option, though sometimes it is hard to find a restaurant serving this dessert.
- The Cathedral of the Saviour is a Roman Catholic cathedral. It is part of the World Heritage Site Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon. The cathedral is located on the Plaza de la Seo and is commonly known as La Seo (Aragonese for "see") to distinguish it from the nearby El Pilar. The two share co-cathedral status in metropolitan Zaragoza. Construction of the Late Romanesque cathedral began in 1140. The new church, with a basilical layout consisting of a transept and three naves ending in apses, constructed of stone, owed much stylistically to the Cathedral of Jaca, from which it took various elements. Besides the church building itself, it had an archive, a refectory, a nursery, and two cloisters. From this era the lower part of two of the apses is still preserved, with small windows between inscribed capitals depicted, adorned with so-called "checkered jaqués" on the outside, and, inside, a set of sculptures that at present are hidden behind the main altarpiece. The construction of the original cathedral continued throughout the 13th century.
- The Aljafería Palace is a fortified medieval Islamic palace built during the second half of the 11th century. It was the residence of the Banu Hud dynasty during the era of Abu Jaffar Al-Muqtadir after abolishing Banu Tujibi of Kindah dynasty. the palace reflects the splendor attained by the kingdom of the taifa of Zaragoza at the height of its grandeur. The palace currently contains the Cortes (regional parliament) of the autonomous community of Aragon. The structure holds unique importance in that it is the only conserved testimony of a large building of Spanish Islamic architecture of the era of the Taifas (independent kingdoms).
- Puente de Piedra (English: Stone Bridge) - Bridge across the river Ebro. Puente de Piedra is also called the Bridge of Lions because four lions (symbols of the city) are placed on the pillars at both sides of the bridge. Since the XII century the citizens of Zaragoza tried to build a bridge across the Ebro . In 1401-1440, the stone bridge was built under the direction of Gil de Menestral. The flood in 1643 destroyed two central bridge spans. In 1659 the bridge was reconstructed. Architect Felipe de Busignac restored two destroyed towers and expanded the bridge piers. In 1789, architect Agustín Sanz strengthened the Ebro coast to the Monastery of St. Lazarus to prevent the risk of the flooding of the bridge. The reconstruction of the bridge was of great economic importance for the development of the region and all the country.
- Museo del Foro de Caesaraugusta A visit to the ancient city of Caesaraugusta allows you to discover what life was like during the Roman period. The museum is located underneath what is now the square of La Seo (the cathedral), and displays archaeological remains from the old Roman Forum at the time of Emperor Tiberius. There are also the remains of a market, pipes, a sewer and some shop walls from the time of the Emperor Augustus, when Zaragoza was founded. The exhibition is completed with a stunning audio-visual area.
- The Basilica–Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar is a Roman Catholic church in the city. The Basilica venerates Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title Our Lady of the Pillar praised as Mother of the Hispanic Peoples by Pope John Paul II. It is reputed to be the first church dedicated to Mary in history. Local traditions take the history of this basilica to the dawn of Christianity in Spain attributing to an apparition to Saint James the Great, the apostle who is believed by tradition to have brought Christianity to the country. This is the only reported apparition of Mary to have occurred before her supposed Assumption. Many of the kings of Spain, many other foreign rulers and saints have paid their devotion before this statue of Mary. Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and Blessed William Joseph Chaminade are among the most outstanding ones. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is one of two minor basilicas in the city of Zaragoza, and is co-cathedral of the city alongside the nearby La Seo Cathedral. The architecture is of Baroque style, and the present building was predominantly built between 1681 and 1872.