Zaragoza Cathedral sunset

Our first day of the Tour of Spain – May 21 – was also one of the Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 9.15.54 AMlongest. It started in Barcelona in mist and wind. It ended in Zaragoza with one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen.

The above picture of the Zaragoza Cathedral del Pilar illustrates one aspect of it. This Roman bridge over the river Ebro, on the other side of the cathedral, provides the flipside.


And the image at the very top of the page, encapsulates both.

IMG_3386Del Pilar was the first of many beautiful cathedrals we have seen during our Tour of Spain. This holy place is intimately connected with the story of Jesus through Saint James (see About Basilica del Pilar below).  And we were fortunate enough to be in time also to hear the sunset bells, and a special mass the following day.

IMG_3383 IMG_3385

It was served by a cardinal,  to bring the relics of the two new saints Pope Francis had declared to the altar. They were the two former popes – John Paul II and John XXIII. The Vatican announcement was made in April.

Sunset Bells, Choir at Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar in Zaragoza, Spain, a video clip recorded at 9PM on 5-21-14 and 5-22-14 by Bob Altar Djurdjevic

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After finding a hotel and settling down, we went for a long walk through downtown Zaragoza.  With a population of nearly three quarters of a million, Zaragoza (also spelled Saragossa in English) is the fifth largest city in Spain.  In the short time we spent there, we discovered it is also one of the most beautiful.

Check it out for yourself…

IMG_3322 IMG_3299  Zaragoza sunset IMG_3329 IMG_3327IMG_3301 IMG_3302IMG_3326 IMG_3317 IMG_3320  IMG_3332IMG_3315 IMG_3307 IMG_3306

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A special significance of this holy place:


Soon after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Saint James was preaching the Gospel in Spain, but was disheartened because of the failure of his mission. Tradition holds that on 2 January 40 AD, while he was deep in prayer by the banks of the river Ebro, the Mother of God appeared to him and gave him a small wooden statue of herself and a column of jasper, and instructed him to build a church in her honor.
“This place is to be my house, and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build.” (Mother Mary). 
And that’s how this magnificent edifice was originally created.
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