Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Basilica Our Lady of El Pilar

The Basilica del Pilar, also known as “el Pilar,” is a prominent metropolitan cathedral in Zaragoza, Spain, and one of the most significant Marian shrines. According to tradition, it houses and venerates the pillar -a jasper column- that the Virgin Mary would have placed in the year 40, being considered the first Marian temple of Christianity. Its documented history dates back to the 9th century, with a Mozarabic church dedicated to Saint Mary.

The basilica, of baroque architecture, has three naves and several domes, highlighting the Santa Capilla de la Virgen del Pilar. Since 1676, it shares the seat of the Archbishop of Zaragoza with the Seo del Salvador and has been recognized as a minor Basilica by Pope Pius XII in 1948. It is part of the Marian Route, together with other sanctuaries, standing out for its patrimonial and spiritual richness. It is also an outstanding point of the Ignatian Way. Although St. Ignatius does not mention it in his Autobiography, he certainly stopped on his way to the new church of El Pilar, which had just finished the new façade and the high altar in alabaster only four years earlier. To stop once again in front of the image of the Virgin and contemplate the narration of her life unfolding on the altar would surely have been a very interesting spiritual moment for the young Íñigo.

The Basilica del Pilar is a key point in the Marian Route, an itinerary guided by Marian devotion that connects important sanctuaries such as Torreciudad, Montserrat, Meritxell and Lourdes. Its importance extends beyond the spiritual, encompassing heritage, gastronomic and natural aspects. Decorated with paintings by artists such as Francisco de Goya, Antonio González Velázquez and the brothers Ramón and Francisco Bayeu, the basilica houses the altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin, a Renaissance masterpiece created by Damián Forment between 1515 and 1518.

  • Address
    Plaza del Pilar, s/n, Casco Antiguo, Zaragoza (Spain)
  • Web
  • Visiting Hours
    Everyday from 6.45 am to 8.30 pm.
  • What to see
    Santa Capilla, the Pillar, Goya’s paintings, Pilarista Museum, Mirador tower



This post is also available in: Español Italiano

Leave a Comment