Zaragoza, Or Saragossa
province ebro town spain
ZARAGOZA, or SARAGOSSA, an inland province of Spain, one of the three into which Aragon is now divided, is bounded on the N.E. and E. by Huesca, Lerida, and Tarragona, on the S. by Teruel and Guadalajara, and on the W. by Soria and Navarre ; the area is 6607 square miles. It belongs wholly to the basin of the Ebro, by which river it is traversed from north-west to south-east. The main valley is bounded on the S.W. by the Sierra de Moncayo, which reaches a maximum elevation - the highest in the province - of 7700 feet, and is continued in a southeasterly direction by the lower sierras of La Virgen and Visor ; on the north-west are the spurs of the Pyrenees. The principal tributaries of the Ebro within the province are the ;Talon, Hnerva, and Aguas on the right and the Arva and Callego on the left ; the Aragon also, which flows principally through Navarre, has part of its course in tho north of this province. At its lowest point, where the Ebro quits it, Zaragoza is only 105 feet above sea-level. The soil is in its level portions comparatively fertile, the chief productions being wheat, rye, barley, oats, hemp, flax, oil, and wine. Silkworms are bred ; and on the higher grounds sheep are reared. There are considerable forests on the lower mountain slopes. Zaragoza has no manufactures of importance. The province is traversed by the Ebro Valley Railway, which connects Miranda on the northern line with Lerida, Barcelona, and Tarragona, and has a branch to Huesca ; it also has communication with Madrid; and there are local lines to Carifiena (south-west from Zaragoza) and to Puebla de Hijar (along the right bank of the Ebro). The Aragon Canal, originally intended to connect the Mediterranean with the Atlantic, is open from Tudela (El Bocal) to a point below Zaragoza. There are 13 partidos judiciales and 312 ayuntamientos ; of these only Calatayud (11,512) and ZARAGOZA (see below) have more than 10,000 inhabitants. The total population of the province in 1877 was 400,587.
feet above sea-level, on a rich plain on the right bank of the Ebro, just above its confluence with the Huerva, 212 miles by rail to the north-east of Madrid. The river is here crossed by a fine stone bridge of seven arches, erected in 1437, and another bridge - of iron - much needed for the convenience of through railway traffic, is projected. Seen from a distance, the city with its numerous domes and towers has an imposing appearance, which it hardly maintains on a nearer approach. The older streets are narrow, gloomy, and ill paved; the massive buildings formerly inhabited by the Aragonese nobility are either in ruins or turned into wood-sto•es and granaries; and an air of poverty and decay pervades the whole town. By the river side there are public walks and avenues of poplar. The two most important buildings of Zaragoza are its cathedrals, in each of which the chapter resides alternately for six months. La Seo (" The See ") is the older of the two, dating chiefly from the 14th century ; its prevailing style is Gothic, but the oldest portion, the lower portion of the apse, is Byzantine, and the facade is of the Late Pseudo-Classical style, by which so many churches in Spain have been disfigured. The Iglesia Metropolitana del Pilar is the larger and more modern building, dating only from the latter half of the 17th century ; it was built after designs by Herrera el Mozo, and owes its name to one of the most venerated objects in Spain, the " pillar " of jasper on which the Virgin is said to have alighted when she manifested herself to Santiago as he passed through Zaragoza. It has no architectural merit ; externally its most conspicuous features are its domes, which are decorated with rows of green, yellow, and white glazed tiles. The church of San Pablo dates mainly from the 13th century. Adjoining the church of San Felipe is the Torre Nueva, an octangular clock tower in diapered brickwork, dating from 1504; it leans some 9 or 10 feet from the perpendicular, owing to faulty foundations. Among other conspicuous public buildings are the municipal buildings, the exchange (Lonja), and the civil and military hospitals, which are among the largest in Spain. The university was founded in 1474, but its history has not been brilliant. To the west of the town is the Aljaferia or old citadel, an irregular pile originally built as a palace by the Moors and also used as such by its Christian owners. It was afterwards assigned by Ferdinand and Isabella to the Inquisition, and has since been used as barracks, a military hospital, and a prison ; it is now unoccupied and falling into decay. The chief manufactures of Zaragoza are silk, woollen cloth, leather, saltpetre, soap, and chocolate ; and there is considerable trade in agricultural produce, and in wine and spirits. The population of the town in 1877 was 84,575.
Zaragoza, the Celtiberian ,Svahluba, was colonized at the close of the Cantabrian War (25 p.c.) by Augustus, who gave it his own name, Cxsetrect Augusta, or Cwsaraugu,sta. It was a co]onia immunis and the seat of a conventus juridieus. No remains of the ancient city have been preserved. It was taken by the Goths about 466 and in 712 by the Moors. In 1118 it was recovered by Alouso el liatallador of Aragon after a siege of five years, during which the defenders were reduced by famine to the direst straits. In 1710 Stanhope defeated the French under Philip V. not far from the town. The most memorable recent events in the history of Zaragoza are those which took place during the Napoleonic invasion. In 1808 the citizens rose against the French, and, under the command of PALAFOX (q.v.), defended the town for two months. The first siege was raised on 15th August 1808 ; but the respite then gained was not made use of to strengthen the defences, and, when the enemy renewed their attack in greater force in December, the place was compelled to surrender (20th February 1809), after losing in al] nearly 60,000 men.