Friday, 29 June 2012

25 June 2012 - Visit to Zaragoza

We joined a four day coach tour of Zaragoza and Teruel, mainly because of the day spent in the former.   The city was the scene of a long and bitter siege during the Napoleonic wars in 1808.  This is a period of particular interest to Jan and I, and we hoped to find some reminders of the fighting.
So whilst the rest of the group made their way to the tourist sights of the Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar and Plaza del Pilar, we made for the much more mundane looking suburbs.

The name of this very ordinary looking road is the giveaway.   Calle Asalto was the scene of some of the most bitter hand to hand fighting between the Polish troops of Napoleon and the desperate Spanish population – both men and women.

The city was destroyed during the fighting, and there is not much left to give an impression of what it looked like in 1808.  The tourist information office was helpful, and directed us to this street where the houses still show the musket ball marks of 200 years ago.

This house was one of the few still standing from that time, despite major and obvious repairs.  It also had one of the few to have a commerative plaque to the heroism of the defenders.

This very ordinary looking church was no doubt also rebuilt after the fighting, and retained its original appearance.

 The road system of the city follows the original, and that made it easy to identify the scene of the fighting.   The river Huerva which flows through the city to the river Ebro also marks the French and Spanish positions at the start of the siege

The section of the river we visited was in a small city park which offered welcome shade from the blistering heat.   Zaragoza is north of of our home in the Costa Blanca, and we had expected it to be cooler.   We were not prepared for temperatures of 41 degrees plus.  Fortunately it was a very dry heat, but still not really suitable for a walking tour of the city.

 As we left the park we spotted this local resident, who had a much more sensible way of dealing with the heat of a Spanish summer afternoon.

More to follow on our short visit to this beautiful city.


  1. I've quite enjoyed reading your Napoleonic battlefield walk blog, and managed to follow the clues to your sight here. My wife, son, and I will be traveling in Europe from September to March, and our son is a huge fan of Napoleon (as seen at the bottom of this post from January I'm working on the itinerary now. Do you have any recommendations of sights to visit that offer both Napoleonic history and scenic beauty? Do you have a "must see" list? You can find my e-mail via my blogspot profile if your reply is more detailed than commenting would allow. Thanks if you have time to share your experience! In the meantime, I will go back to reading your blogs.

  2. We have walked quite a lot of the Napoleonic battlefields in Europe, and I have written a series of blogs on each visit. You can find the master blog here, with links to each individual blog. Hope you find them interesting and useful. If you would like any further information just drop me an email: