The Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. The Basilica reveres Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title Our Lady of the Pillar applauded as 'Mother of the Hispanic Peoples' by Pope John Paul II. It is rumored to be the main church committed to Mary in history. Local customs take the historical backdrop of this basilica to the beginning of Christianity in Spain ascribing to a spirit to Saint James the Great, the missionary who is accepted by convention to have conveyed Christianity to the nation. This is the main revealed spirit of Mary to have happened before her trusted Assumption.
A day at the Basilica of Pilar
1. The High Altar
The altarpiece was made somewhere in the range of 1509 and 1515 by Damian Forment in polychrome alabaster, blending Gothic and Renaissance components and has the common oculus of the Aragonese altarpieces. We recognize three primary scenes there: Purification of the Virgin, the Assumption and the Nativity of Our Lady. The sacrificial stone is he tomb where rests San Braulio, who was cleric of Zaragoza.
2. Goya Dome and The Cript
The dome ‘Regina Martyrum’ was painted by Francisco de Goya (1781) using fresco technique with bright and colorful figures. Around the Virgin Mary are Aragonese holy martyrs as San Lorenzo, Santa Engracia, San Lamberto and Santo Dominguito Val among others. The Crypt opens just once a year. On November 1st, to celebrate All Saints festivity, the doors are open for the public to visit it. Here we find the graves of Aragonese General Palafox, and other famous people. If you want to know this place history, do not miss the guided tour “El Pilar como Panteón” of this day.
3. The Choir, Pilar and Tower of The Museum
The Choir has chairs made of oak from Flanders. The decorative motifs span the huge range of Renaissance. The organ, expanded and remodeled from the s. XVI, has now 4 keyboards, one pedalboard, 80 sets of registers and 6,500 pipes. The Pilar Museum provides you the jewelry collection that people have offered to the Virgin. A detailed model of the Chapel of the Virgin and several capes are also exhibited. The Tower Elevator is the perfect spot to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the city from the top of the Tower of San Francisco de Borja.
How to Get Tickets?
There are 3 types of tickets that Basilica of Pilar offers here. The first one is normal tickets, free tickets to the Basilica itself. Visiting the Tower will cost you 3 Euros, yet it is free for children aged 0 until 9. Visiting the Museum will cost you 2 Euros.
How To Get Around?
To get around and have a tour in the Basilica of Pilar is best to go on foot. After paying tickets you will experience the altar, the architecture and also the panorama provided there.
What Should I Wear?
There are no fixed dress codes to have a tour on the Basilica of Pilar, just wear something comfortable for your tour here.
Best Time to Visit
The Basilica of Pilar opening hours during winter are from 06.45 to 20.30 on weekdays and public holidays, for every 12th October from 03.45 to 21.30. Summer from 06.45 to 21.30. Visiting the Museum will be available every Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 13.30 and 16.00 to 17.30. For Saturdays, it will be from 10.00 to 13.30. The Basilica of Pilar is closed on Sundays. Panoramic visit to the tower will be opened every winter from 10.00 to 13.30 and 16.00 to 18.30. It is closed on Monday. Visiting at summer will be great, from 10.00 to 14.00 and 16.00 to 19.00.
Will I Need a Guide?
It is very recommended for you to have a guide from the Basilica of Pilar to accompany you in every attraction. Always remember to ask the fee or tickets before having a tour with the guide.
How To Get There?
The Basilica of Pilar is located at Plaza del Pilar, s/n, 50003 Zaragoza, Spain. It will be better to set your transport by public transportation (bus) or by taxi. The palace also provides some parking area, so it is okay for you to have a tour by your own car.
Today, Our Lady of the Pillar is the second-most visited journey destinatination in Spain after Santiago de Compostela (likewise connected with St. James). A large number of pioneers come each year to kiss the little statue given by the Virgin herself, and the El Pilar Festival is a standout amongst the most prominent in Spain. The Fiestas del Pilar are held every year to pay tribute to the Zaragoza's benefactor holy person, the Virgin of the Pillar. Celebrations start on the Saturday before October 12 and keep running for nine days. Amid the celebration, huge amounts of blossoms and natural product are conveyed to the Virgin's sanctum in the basilica, while the roads are loaded up with parades, road entertainers, music and moving. Bullfights and theater exhibitions are likewise held. Book convenience ahead of schedule amid the celebration: the city's populace triples amid this period.