Pilar Square is the most popular and well-known place in Zaragoza. Although the city is not short of places of interest because it even has two Cathedrals. One of them you can see it if you take a walk to the La Seo Square and the other, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar you have it right here in all its impressive and Baroque splendour.
By the moonlight, it will probably seem to you like a palace from a fairy tale, and the truth is that the history of the temple deserves no less. Legend has it that the apostle James was preaching around here in the year 40 of our era. It seems that he was not being very successful and when he began to be discouraged, the Virgin appeared to him, right here, on top of a pillar, to comfort him and give him strength. The most curious thing about this legend is that Mary was still alive, she was in Jerusalem, so it was like a double miracle.
Around that column, or pillar, they were going to build one temple after another; there is evidence of a primitive Mozarabic chapel, which was replaced by a Romanesque church that was followed by another Gothic one, this one lasting for a bit longer. But the last third of the seventeenth century arrived and, taking advantage of the pinnacle of the Baroque style, the construction of the actual impressive work was decided.
King Charles II put a lot of interested in this one. The last of the Spanish Habsburgs was a physical calamity that had hardly received preparation for governing because he wasn’t expected to live long. However, he reached the throne and, just about, pushed things forward at the cost of a more than fragile health and a mind that did not always work as bright as his position required.
The works of the Basilica began under his reign, and it would be inaugurated the twelve of October 1718, although by then, the monarch was already six feet under.
Since then, El Pilar had to endure a few wars. When Napoleon was around, the city of Zaragoza was blown by bullets, shells, typhus and hunger, but the majestic Cathedral remained standing in the middle of the ruins. It was also intact when in 1936 two bombs were thrown at it, but they did not explode, and today they are on display inside the temple.
Once inside, be sure to see the frescos by Goya in one of the vaults, the altarpiece at the high altar, its many chapels and the many other wonders that await you here.
This is a Cathedral that you must see!