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ZARAGOZA, ARAGON

Spain Aragon AragonAragonHuesca AragonTeruel AragonZaragoza


Zaragoza is a province of northern Spain, in the central part of the autonomous community of Aragon. It is bordered by the provinces of Lleida, Tarragona, Teruel, Guadalajara, Soria, La Rioja, Navarre, and Huesca.

Its capital is Zaragoza, which is also the capital of the autonomous community. Other towns in Zaragoza include Calatayud.

Its area is 17,274 km². Its population is 880,118 (2003), of whom nearly three-quarters live in the capital, and its population density is 50.95/km². It contains 292 municipalities, of which more than half are villages with under 300 people. See List of municipalities in Zaragoza.

Zaragoza, also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community and former Kingdom of Aragon, Spain. It is situated on the river Ebro and its tributaries, the Huerva and Gállego, near the centre of the region, in a valley with a variety of landscapes, ranging from desert (Los Monegros) to thick forest, meadows and mountains.

The population of the city of Zaragoza in 2008 was 682.283, ranking fifth in Spain. The population of the metropolitan area was estimated in 2006 at 783,763 inhabitants. The municipality is home to more than 50 percent of the Aragonese population. The city lies at an altitude of 199 metres above sea level, and constitutes a crossroads between Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao and Toulouse (France) — all of which are located about 300 kilometres from Zaragoza

Zaragoza hosted the Expo Zaragoza 2008 in the summer of 2008, a World's Fair on water and sustainable development.

The city used to have the name Salduba or Saldyva, a Punic name of a Carthaginian military post built on the remains of a Celtiberian village, when the Romans invaded the area it fell under colonia of Caesaraugusta, founded under Augustus in Hispania Citerior.

In 714 The Arabs took control of the city, renaming it Saraqusta (سرقسطة). It later became part of the Emirate of Cordoba, It grew to become the biggest Arab controlled city of Northern Spain. In 777 Charlemagne attempted to take the city but he was forced to withdraw when faced by the organized defense of the city and the Basque attacks in the rear (Chanson de Roland).

From 1018 to 1118 Zaragoza was one of the taifa kingdoms, independent Muslim states which emerged in the 11th century following the destruction of the Cordoban Caliphate. During the first three decades of this period, 1018–1038, the city was ruled by the Banu Tujib. In 1038 they were replaced by the Banu Hud, who had to deal with a complicated alliance with El Cid of Valencia and his Castilian Masters against the Almoravids who managed to bring the Taifas Emirates under their control. After the death of El Cid his kingdom was overrun by Almoravids and by 1100 Almoravids had managed to cross the Ebro into Barbastro, which brought Aragon into direct contact with Almoravids, The Banu Hud stubbornly resisted Almoravids and ruled until they were eventually defeated by the Almoravids in May 1110. The last sultan of the Banu Hud, Abd-al-Malik Imad ad-Dawla, the last king of Zaragoza, forced to abandon his capital, allied himself with the Christian Aragonese under Alfonso I el Batallador and from the time the Muslims of Zaragoza became military regulars within the Aragonese forces.

In 1118 the Aragonese conquered the city from the Almoravids and made it the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon. At his death without heirs in 1137, Zaragoza was swiftly occupied by Alfonso VII of León-Castile, who vacated it in 1137 only on condition it be held by Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona as a fief of Castile.

Zaragoza was the scene of two controversial martyrdoms related with the Spanish Inquisition: those of Saint Dominguito del Val, a choirboy in the basilica, and Pedro de Arbués, head official of the inquisition. While the reality of the existence of Saint Dominguito del Val is questioned, his "murder" at the hands of "jealous Jews" was used as an excuse to murder or convert the Jewish population of Zaragoza.

St. Vincent was concerned that the converts were not being properly educated as Christians, but such an explicit focus on the religiosity of the converts was as rare in his sermons as it was elsewhere during this period. Much more often, he stressed not the integration of the convert but the segregation of the Jew, and this in explicitly sexual terms.

Of course, St. Vincent was very much concerned with sexual offenses of any kind, and he was convinced that sexual appetites were becoming increasingly deviant in his day. Nowadays, he complained, Christian men "want to taste everything: Muslims and Jews, animals, men with men; there is no limit."

He was especially concerned about what he perceived to be an explosion of sex between Christians and Jews.

In 1415, he told a Zaragozan audience that "many Christian men believe their wife's children to be their own, when they are actually by Muslim and Jewish." If the citizens did not put a stop to such interfaith adultery, he warned, God would do so through plague. His sermon provoked a sexual panic.

Christian patrols searched the streets, on the lookout for predatory Jews or Muslims in search of Christian women. One Muslim was seized, found with "iron tools for . . . forcing open doors in order to obtain Christian women for Muslim men". Another was arrested after witnesses claimed to have seen him fleeing a Christian woman's room by the flat rooftops one night. So many charges were brought that the responsible judicial official was accused of fomenting a riot against the Muslims and the Jews.

According to St. Vincent, the problem was one of ambiguous identities. Jews and Muslims were living among Christians, dressing like Christians, even adopting Christian names, so that "by their appearance they are taken and reputed by many to be Christians."

The solution he advocated was one of heightened marking and segregation. So powerful was his reasoning that it convinced the Pope, the kings of Castile and of Aragon, and innumerable town councils and municipal officers to attempt the most extensive efforts at segregation in the Middle Ages.

It suffered two famous sieges during the Peninsular War against Napoleonic army: a first from June to August 1808; and a second from December 1808 to February 1809 (see Agustina de Aragón, Siege of Saragossa (1809)).


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