Zaragoza called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It is situated on the Ebro river and its tributaries, the Huerva and the Gállego, near the centre of the region, in a valley with a variety of landscapes, ranging from desert (Los Monegros) to thick forest, meadows and mountains.
On 1 September 2010 the population of the city of Zaragoza was 701,090, within its administrative limits on a land area of 1,062.64 square kilometres (410.29 square miles), ranking fifth in Spain. It is the 35th most populous municipality in the European Union. The population of the metropolitan area was estimated in 2006 at 783,763 inhabitants. The municipality is home to more than 50 percent of the Aragonese population. The city lies at an elevation of 199 metres (653 feet) above sea level.
Zaragoza hosted Expo 2008 in the summer of 2008, a world's fair on water and sustainable development. It was also candidate for the European Capital of Culture in 2016.
The city is famous for its folklore, local gastronomy, and landmarks such as the Basílica del Pilar, La Seo Cathedral and the Aljafería Palace. Together with La Seo and the Aljafería, several other buildings form part of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fiestas del Pilar are among the most celebrated festivals in Spain.
The city is connected by motorway with the main cities in central and northern Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Bilbao, all of which are located about 300 kilometres (200 miles) from Zaragoza.
The city has a network of buses which is controlled by the Urban Transport Company of Zaragoza (TUZSA). The network consists of 31 regular lines (two of them circle lines), two scheduled routes, six shuttle buses (one free), and seven night buses operating on Fridays and Saturdays. Zarazoga also has an interurban bus network operated by Transport Consortium Zaragoza Area (CTAZ) that operates 17 regular lines.
Zarazoga's bicycle lanes facilitate non-motorized travel and help cyclists to avoid running into pedestrians and motor vehicles. The city council also has a public bicycle-hire scheme; for a small annual charge, people can collect a bicycle from one hire point and ride it to another part of the city, leaving the bicycle at a different hire point.
The first line of the Zaragoza tram is fully operational along the first phase from Valdespartera to Plaza Paraíso. Construction of the second phase (Plaza Paraíso-Parque Goya) began on July 19, 2011, and the works are scheduled to be finished in 18 months, followed by a three-month trial period.
Zaragoza is a part of the Spanish high speed railway operated by RENFE, AVE, which connects Madrid and Barcelona via high-speed rail. Madrid can be reached in 75 minutes, and Barcelona in approximately 90 minutes. The central station is "Intermodal Zaragoza Delicias Station", which serves both railway lines and coaches. In addition to long-distance railway lines and the high-speed trains, Zaragoza has a network of commuter trains operated by RENFE called cercanías.
Zaragoza Airport is a small commercial airport and the home of the Spanish Air Force's 15th Group. It was also used by NASA as a contingency landing site for the Space Shuttle in the case of a Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL).