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THE BASILICA OF OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR, SARAGOSSA Zaragoza. Aragon.

Our Lady of The Pillar

Saragossa.    Aragon.   Spain.
 
The Virgin of the Pillar was proclaimed the Patroness of the Hispanic World during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. She attracts pilgrims from all over the world and is venerated in her own basilica, which forms a vital focus-point of the city.
 
According to tradition, on the 2nd January, 40 AD, the Blessed Virgin appeared in the flesh to the apostle, St. James, and a group of Christian converts who were praying on the banks of the River Ebro. She indicated her wish to be adored henceforth in that place, and St. James and his companions built a chapel which, in the course of history, has grown to become the magnificent Basilica which contains her image.
 
It is in this cathedral, of Baroque design with Neo-classical ornamentation, that the pillar on which the Blessed Virgin appeared is preserved and venerated.
 
A modest oratory was originally built to house the column. Later, a Romanesque church was erected, followed by one in the Moorish (mudejar) manner. When this was destroyed by fire, it was succeeded by one in Gothic style.
 
Finally, the present cathedral - replacing the Gothic church - was designed by the architects, Felipe Perez and, notably, Francisco Herrera Hidestrosa. It was instigated by Don Juan of Austria who ordered the beginning of the work in 1681. It was completed in 1711.
 
As it did not possess a Virgin Chapel commensurate with the growing devotion to her, however, King Fernando VI, in 1754, ordered the building of the Holy Chapel (Santa Capillla). He entrusted thework to the architect, Ventura Rodriguez, who extended the cathedral to its present dimensions of 130 metres in length, by 67 metres in width, crowned by eleven cupolas, four towers, and ten lantern btowers.
 
The Holy Chapel is constructed from jasper, marble, bronze, and silver, and is in the composite order.
 
The wooden statue is 39 cm. high and rests on a jasper column protected by a bronze case within another of silver, and is covered by a cloak that reaches to the feet of the statue.
 
The Virgin Chapel (the Camarin) is a magificent work of art, combining the resplendent rays and stars of the halo, worked in gold, silver, and precious stones, making it one of the most valuable crowns ever created in honour of the Blessed Virgin.
 
On the rear facade of the chapel is the alcove (Humilladero) at which the faithful can kneel to venerate the Holy Pillar.
 
In the cornices, on the columns, and on the front walls, hang the flage and trophies of King Carlos III and, since 1908, the flags of all Spanish-American countries, once blessed by Pope Pius X.
 
HIGH ALTAR AND CHOIR 
 
The High Altar, the Choir, and the housing of the great organ have been preserved from the old Gothic church.
 
The High Altar consists of a magnificent altarpiece of Gelsa marble. This has recently been restored and was the work of the sculptor, Damian Forment (1509 - 1518). It depicts events in the life of the Blessed Virgin and Our Lord and  its central subject is the assumption.
 
The Choir has three steps with 130 seats of honour. It is a splendid example of the Renaissance style, being a happy combination of both Spanish and Florentine architecture. It was designed by the Milanese, Esteban de Obray, the Florentine, Juan de Moreto, and the Zaragozano, Nicolas Lobato. Covering the entrance to the Choir is a magnificent monumental screen, which is the work of Juan Tomas Celma (1574 - 1579).
 
In 1771, Goya was commissioned to paint some designs for the vault of the Coreto (Small Choir) of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, and, in 1772, he completed the fresco of the 'Adoration of the Name of God'  for it.
 
                                        [TRANSLATED BY MISS JOAN CHEETHAM, MANCHESTER, AUGUST 2002]

Monumentos

Una breve relación de otros importantes monumentos que pueblan la ciudad seria la siguiente:

 

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If you want Ample your information on Aragon you can begin crossing some Monasteries, o 40 Castles another interesting route is the Mudejar, Patrimony of the Humanity, also you can extend your cultural knowledge on Aragón examining its municipal and institutional heraldica without forgetting, of course, some of its emblematicas figures as San George Pattern of Aragon or its personages I illustrate adding to these data a minimum crossed by its history o some books.

Also Aragón enjoys a diverse and varied Nature where passing by plants, animals, or landscapes we can arrive at a fantastic bestiario that lives in its monuments.

The information will not be complete without a stroll by its three provinces: Zaragoza, Teruel y Huesca y sus varied Regions, with shutdown in some of its spectacular landscapes like Ordesa or the Moncayo or by opposition in the valle of the Ebro.

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