The Pilar Basilica

Amaury Cabrera
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The Pilar Basilica is one of the most important Marian sanctuaries in the catholic world and is visited every year by thousands of pilgrims. It is also a leading artistic centre with a collection of valuable works from different periods, in particular the frescos by Goya.

From the panoramic elevator you can see a fantastic view on the city (tourist visit).

The present day building is closely related to the increase in Marian devotion throughout the 17th century. The former Gothic-Mudejar construction had become outgrown by the increasing number of believers and it was necessary to erect a new imposing monumental temple, which was closer to the triumphant spirit of the Counter-Reformation and the newly acquired status of co-cathedral.

The appearance of the Pilar today is the result of a long process that was started by the Zaragozan Felipe Sanchez and later revised by the architect to Carlos II, Herrera el Mozo. From 1750 onwards, a second royal architect, Ventura Rodríguez, was to have a significant effect on the building. He renovated the interior decoration in line with the new classicism of the period and designed the Holy Chapel and the "Coreto" vault. He remodelled the exterior building plan, adding cupolas to the existing central one -which was originally intended stand alone- and towers that would not be completed until the middle of the 20th century.

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