The Magnificent Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, Patroness of Spain and Mother of the Hispanic Peoples, in Zaragoza is a very picturesque edifice with superb Baroque cupolas and decoration. The Statue of the Virgin given to Apostle Saint-James by Our Lady, is high

According to the tradition, Apostle Saint-James himself had built a chapel at the very place where the Virgin had appeared to him here in Zaragoza in 40 AD. This sanctuary was still present under the Romans and Arabs persecutions. It then became the centre of the Mozarabic community. During the Reconquista, Gaston, Count of Béarn, had it reconstructed, as he was donated this parish inhabited by the Mozarabs.

At the end of the 13th century, the edifice was in dereliction and rebuilt again. It still existed at the turn of the 17th century when it was judged too small. The present church has remained intact since that period. It has a single nave, not very large, but it used to be in the centre of the cloisters. It has two aisles and brick chapels adding a typically Aragonese touch. The nave is illuminated by oculi, a characteristic found in many churches of the region as from the 17th century.

In 1675, Our Lady of the Pillar was raised to the dignity of metropolitan church. An edifice corresponding more to the idea of grandeur and magnificence of the time was then erected. Herrera the Young, drew the plans and Ventura Rodriguez completed them in the next century. It is in fact a vast parallelogram measuring one hundred fifty meters long and seventy meters wide. It is flanked by four towers, crowned by ten lanterns and eleven cupolas; the central one has a diameter of twenty two meters and its lantern rises at eighty meters above the ground. These cupolas with glazed and polychromatic tiles are quite picturesque and the inside is just amazing with Baroque statues and marbles of various colours.  Unfortunately, the Mudejar tower was stupidly demolished at the beginning of the 20th century. 

The stalls of the basilica were carved from 1574 to 1577 by Obray, Labano and Moerto. The elegant choir railing was made in 1574 by Tomas Celma and the grand reredos in alabaster (1484) is by Michel Gilbert and Damian Forment. It belonged to the former edifice.

The Holy Chapel of Our Lady, all in marble and jasper with bronze and silver adornments is a rotunda-shaped temple. It is both rich and theatrical. The wooden statue Our Lady gave Saint-James is thirty-nine centimeters high and is presented on the jasper column given to Him at the same time. They are part of the main altar as Our Lady requested. The highly worshipped statue received a valuable crown in 1905.

The basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza, Spain.

Image source: 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Vista_de_la_bas%C3%ADlica_de_Nuestra_Se%C3%B1ora_del_Pilar%2C_en_Zaragoza.jpg

Worshipped Statue of Our Lady of the Pillar in eponymous Basilica in Zaragoza.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/Virgen_del_Pilar.JPG

Holy Chapel of Our Lady, Zaragoza Basilica. 

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Zaragoza_-_Basilica_del_Pilar_20.JPG

Main Altar at Zaragoza Basilica.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Cathedrale-Saragosse-interieur.jpg

Holy Chapel of Our Lady, Zaragoza Basilica.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Zaragoza_-_Basilica_del_Pilar_51.jpg

Cupola in the Zaragoza Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Zaragoza_-_Basilica_del_Pilar_31.jpg

Reredos of Saint-John the Baptist, Zaragoza Basilica.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/Zaragoza_-_Basilica_del_Pilar_28.JPG

El Pilar de Zaragoza at night.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/Zaragoza_-_Pilar_desde_el_Puente_de_Piedra.jpg

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Simplyoj (Joy L. Carnay) Simplyoj (Joy L. Carnay)
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