World Reviewer rating

Not yet rated

Shrines of the two Marys

Listed under Sacred Spaces in Zaragoza, Spain.

Photo of Shrines of the two Marys
Photo by Martin Gray
Pin It

Towards the end of the 1st century BC, the ancient Celtiberian sacred site of Salduba was conquered by the Romans and renamed Caesaraugusta after the Roman Emperor. Called Saraqustah by the Arabs, the modern name of the city, Zaragoza, is a corruption of these earlier names. There are two primary sacred places within the city, the small shrine of Mary Magdalene shown in the foreground of the photograph, and the cathedral of Nuestra Senora del Pilar, in the background. This cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin of the Pillar, the patroness of Spain, is the site of the earliest known Marian apparition in Europe. The Christian telling of the foundation legend tells that St. John the Apostle, the brother of St. John the Evangelist, spent the years following the crucifixion preaching in Spain. St. John the Apostle arrived in Zaragoza in 40 AD and, upon a megalithic standing stone, saw an apparition of Mary which instructed him to build a church. Because of its megalithic-era sanctity, its Marian apparition and the presence of a Black Madonna statue, Zaragoza soon grew in size and religious importance. The early chapel was frequently enlarged following wars and fires, and the existing cathedral was erected, upon the site of the original megalithic standing stone, between the 17th and 18th centuries.

Throughout the centuries mysterious apparitions have frequently been observed around the pillar and large numbers of pilgrims, both Christian and neo-pagan, continue to visit the shrine. Each year on October 12, a small, 15th century statue of the Virgin is taken on a procession around the city. Few visitors to Zaragoza take the time to meditate in the nearby, and quieter, shrine of Mary Magdalene. The Magdalene, whose relics were originally stored at the French shrine of St. Maximin and later transferred to Vezelay, was highly venerated in the medieval ages as the wife of Jesus and the mother of his children.

Shrines of the Two Marys on the Sacred Sites Website.

Written by  Martin Gray.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment, review or question

I want to
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?

Who's been here

No travelers have told us they have been here. Have you?

Similar Experiences

  • Angkor Wat

    There are two great complexes of ancient temples in Southeast Asia, one at Bagan in Burma, the other at Angkor in Cambodia. The…

  • The Great Pyramid

    The Great Pyramid is the most substantial structure of the ancient world, and one of the most mysterious. Constructed from appr…

  • The Parthenon

    The supreme expression of ancient Greek architectural genius, the Parthenon has enchanted painters and poets for two thousand y…

Related links

Contribute to this page