Independencia Boulevard

From España Square we go along to the Salón de Santa Engracia (Santa Engracia Hall), renamed Independencia Boulevard in 1863, which ended at Santa Engracia Gate, situated next to the Regional Army Headquarters and demolished in 1904. This boulevard -taking as example those of Paris- became one of the main routes of the city and the favourite place for walking and leisure. Despite the fact that the wide perspective allows citizens to see clearly the silhouette of the Monument to the Justiciazgo, we must stop a little bit before and imagine the place of this monument before being moved.

Public sculptures were built at the beginning of the 20th century to remember sad events from a remote past. Nevertheless, sometimes and more frequently as the century went by, sculptures showing rejection and condemning recent events were built. For instance, the Monument to the Municipal Civil Servants was placed at Independencia Boulevard, after taking into consideration other places such as the cemetery, next to the area were the murders of the officers took place, and the nearby Aragón Square. As a consequence, it was moved to the Constitución Boulevard until today. Not only commemorative sculptures suffered from these changes for the benefit of urban reforms, but the same happens with urban furniture, an important part of the decoration of the city. An example is the city´s bandstand, a magnificent Modernist construction planned by Martínez Ubago Brothers for the French-Spanish Exposition, currently placed at the Parque Grande, after being at los Sitios Square and the Independencia Boulevard.

The Monument to the Civil Servants remembers us an age marked by social crisis which caused continuous strikes, riots, violent events, and tragedies such as the murder attack of the year 1920. This tragedy was so important that it spread beyond Zaragoza, and the Central Society of Architects decided to take part in the homage with a commemorative stone plaque inaugurated in January 1924. The plaque was only devoted to the memory of the municipal architect José de Yarza. Made by a teacher of the School of Arts and Crafts of the city, Ricardo Pascual Temprado, it was placed on the facade of the building at No 30 of the Independencia Boulevard, where the architect lived.

This work is an example of a humble kind of homage, a stone plaque that used to be placed inside buildings or at facades. Even sometimes, a city street received the name of an important character. In those cases, the sculpture consisted of a profile portrait of the guest of honour. Later on, we will present an example.