Zaragoza city: Aljaferia Palace. Islamic Saragossa. Province of Zaragoza. Aragon.
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Zaragoza city: Aljaferia Palace. Islamic Saragossa. Province of Zaragoza. Aragon. Spain.

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The Islamic period - the Sarakosta or Medina Albaida of the Arabs was the capital of the Superior March of Al-Andalus and one of the most important and bellicose taifas at the time of the dismemberment of the caliphate of Córdoba- has in Zaragoza one of the most beautiful, complex and unique monumental exponents of the moment of constitution of the taifa kingdoms: the palace of the Aljafería, considered the most important in the West of its time, the 11th century.

The name of the palace derives from its builder, Abu Jafar Ahmed Almoctadir Bilá (from jafar, al-jafaría and later Aljafería), governor of the Zaragoza Taifa between 1047 and 1081.

The primitive factory of this palace or recreational villa, built outside the walls along the right bank of the Ebro, had a rectangular floor plan, with a solid outer wall with towers and suffered various modifications and irreversible destruction over time. The two periods of modifications of the primitive factory correspond to the reigns of Pedro IV and those of the Catholic Monarchs, being, since the reconquest of Zaragoza by Alfonso the Battler in 1118, the fortress of the Christian kings.

It was a prison for the Inquisition in Austrian times while the Bourbons showed absolute contempt for the work, especially Elizabeth II, under whose reign the most barbaric destruction of the work was carried out when the palace was used as a barracks - a character that it maintained until just a few decades ago.

Currently, the palace has undergone an in-depth restoration on the occasion of its destination as the seat of the autonomous regional parliament, the Cortes de Aragón.

Church of San Martin in La Aljaferia Zaragoza

The palace is accessed through its eastern wing, through a door with a horseshoe arch that leads to the so-called church patio, as the church of San Martín stands there, on the right, a Mudejar-style work from the 14th century. From there you can access the central part of the palace's primitive age, a patio called Santa Isabel. It has a rectangular floor plan, with porticoes on the shorter sides restored with copies of the original decoration, which is kept in the National Archaeological Museum.

Inner courtyard Aljaferia in Zaragoza
Inner courtyard Aljaferia in Zaragoza

On the right or north side of the enclosure are the oldest and best-preserved rooms of the factory, especially the small and extremely beautiful mosque, which is square at the base and octagonal in height, with a very slender horseshoe arch at the top. mihrab hole. This small oratory is an authentic jewel of its kind and although the dome is not the original of the work, the mixtilinear arches, the beautiful alabaster capitals and the complicated ataurique decoration show the rich culture and artistic sensitivity of the Hispano-Muslims of the Ebro Valley in the distant time of the eleventh century.

Stairway with plasterwork in Aljaferia Zaragoza
Stairway with plasterwork in Aljaferia Zaragoza

The other must-see rooms are on the first floor of the palace, in its west wing. Through a majestic staircase you access the so-called Palace of the Catholic Kings, where there are two fundamental pieces: the Throne Room and the adjoining rooms known as the Lost Steps.

Throne room in Aljaferia Zaragoza

The openings of the doors and windows have beautiful plasterwork, but perhaps the most majestic piece is the beautiful Mudejar ceilings made of gilded and polychrome wood. The work was completed in 1492 and it is, together with the Lonja, a magnificent exponent of the so-called Catholic Monarchs style in Aragon.

Plasterwork in Aljaferia Zaragoza 5
Plasterwork in Aljaferia Zaragoza

Extracted from the book: Guide to travel along the Ebro.
Textos © José Manuel Marcuello Calvin

Fotos © Miguel Angel Latorre



Monuments

A brief list of other important monuments that populate the city would be the following:



Other information of the Municipality



Ample your information on Aragon

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 heraldy 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 Aragon 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 and Huesca and ours varied Regions, with shutdown in some of its spectacular landscapes like Ordesa or the Moncayo or by opposition in the valle of the Ebro.

If reasons of work or relatives have taken to you Far from Aragon you can Download images of bottom, sounds or animations

Also you can dedicate you to the intangible ones: from the legend compilation that also does to universal Aragon you can persecute the presence of Santo Grial in Aragon.

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