Cultura

From Santiago Bridge to the Stone Bridge

On the opposite side of the Pirineos Avenue, two stones with two iron rings for tying horses or cattle have been placed at the entrance to Macanaz Park, in the middle of a continuous circular bench of about 4 metres of diameter. These stones remember the visitor that these kind of natural groves on the Ebro banks were used for animals to drink, as it can be seen in many Costumbrista style engravings and paintings from the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

Macanaz Grove is historically famous, among other reasons, because it served as big cemetery for many people who died during Zaragoza Sieges, and because here started the tradition of celebrating with a picnic the "Cincomarzada" (the Five of March). This popular festivity remembers the failed Carlist invasion of Zaragoza that took placed on 5 March 1838. The Cincomarzada has been celebrated in different places but, in memory of the popular singing and dancing that have cheered this place up, it was placed here -just opposite the Pilar Basilica (as it is sung in many jotas)- an interesting work in bronze made by the sculptor Manuel López, as posthumous monument commissioned by peña el Cachirulo: the bust of Demetrio Galán Bergua, an illustrious booster and scholar of our folklore. Going up the ramp to Cataluña Avenue, we can see far away the fountain of the Emerging Dragon, an ironic hommage of the sculptor Carlos Ochoa to this creature of the Aragonese heraldry and tradition.

Talking about animals and folklore, a popular jota says that there were four lions at the Stone Bridge, that even can be seen today in historical photos; but they were removed after the reform works for extending the parapets built in 1908. Therefore, during nearly the whole 20th century, the only sculpture of the bridge was the Cross in Memory of Basilio Boggiero, Santiago de Sas and the Baron of Warsage. Fortunately, from 1991 the bridge has four new lions made in bronze -not lying down but upright- made by the Aragonese sculptor Francisco Rallo Lahoz, placed on very high pedestals at both sides of the oldest bridge of Zaragoza. These lions have become one of the most emblematic elements of Zaragoza public art, above all because in the spring of 2006, to mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of El Corte Inglés in Zaragoza, this department store sponsored 25 copies made in polyester painted by the same number of contemporary artists. Those lions formed a temporary exhibition at the Independencia Boulevard, but, twenty of them were donated to the City Council and deposited in different municipal buildings and other institutions.