Cathedral-Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zaragoza

The Basílica del Pilar (Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar) is the cathedral of Zaragoza. It is an important church dedicated to Nuestra Señora del Pilar.

Plan your cultural visit to the Cathedral-Basilica

The origins of the Basílica del Pilar date back to the 9th century. A church dedicated to the Virgin Mary occupied the place of the current basilica at that time.

The construction of a Romanesque church began in the 12th century and ended in the 13th century. That was when the old chapel of El Pilar was built. The pillar or column had been related to Marian devotion.

Around 14th century a new Gothic-Mudejar church was built. The old chapel of El Pilar remained standing until the 18th century.

During Baroque times, another new church was built. Its construction works finished in 1765. Ventura Rodríguez participated in the last stage of the construction and designed the new chapel.

The current church looks a bit Byzantine because of the Marquis of Peralada. He designed the towers and domes.

Basílica del Pilar
Domes of the Basílica del Pilar.

The exterior of the Basilica del Pilar stands out for its size, as well as its domes and towers.

It currently has eleven domes with green, yellow, blue and white glass tiles.

Basílica del Pilar
Tower of the Basílica.
Basílica del Pilar
Shots on the eastern facade.

The northern and eastern facades still have the marks caused by the French bombing during the Peninsular War.

The southern facade, that is the main one, was renovated at the middle of the 20th century.

Corinthian columns and triangular pediments decorate the two entrances on the ends. On the other hand, a series of pilasters decorate the wall. The whole structure was covered with a cornice with balustrade.

Basílica del Pilar
Main facade.

The interior of the cathedral is really beautiful and impressive. It has three naves on the same height. Walls are decorated with Classicist elements.

Upon entering the Basilica, you first notice the Santa Capilla (Holy Chapel). Built from a design by Ventura Rodríguez. It is one of the most beautiful works of the Spanish Baroque.

It is a small sacred space where it is located the image of the Virgen del Pilar. The silver and green marble space is of great beauty and splendor.

It also holds spectacular jaspers, marbles and bronzes together with the sculptures and paintings.

Basílica del Pilar
Holy Chapel.

The paintings on the dome were made by painters such as Antonio González Velázquez, Francisco Bayeu and Francisco de Goya.

The fresco of Regina Martyrum by Francisco de Goya it is particularly famous due to its beauty. In addition, another of his paintings is located on the coreto.

Basílica del Pilar
Regina Martyrum.

The Humilladero is a space on the wall though it you can see the Santa Columna (Holy Column). The sculpture of the Virgin, in a late Gothic style, is believed to be done by Juan de la Huerta. It has more than three hundred cloaks.

Basílica del Pilar.
Basílica del Pilar
Carving of the Virgin.

The Main Altar has an important altarpiece by Damián Forment. It is about the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It was made in polychromed alabaster and wooden and its style is between Gothic and Renaissance.

The choir has an iconographic programme that tells the story of Christ and the Virgin. It is one of the most important Spanish works in this field. Furthermore, it has a grille of Mannerist style.

Before finishing the trip, you should also visit every chapel of the cathedral. Some of them are the Coreto, the Holy Chapel, the chapel of San Juan Bautista, Santa Ana and San José.

Basílica del Pilar
Altarpiece of the Main Altar.

Location: Plaza del Pilar, s/n, 50003 Zaragoza.
Phone: +34 976 39 74 97
Opening times: 

  • Monday to Saturday: 7.30 am-1.30 pm / 4.30 pm-8.30pm
  • Sunday: 7.30 am-1.30 pm / 4.30 pm-9.30pm

In order to enjoy the rest of the city, here you have our recommendations webpage. In addition to the best restaurants to eat in Zaragoza.

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