Zaragoza, the capital of the Aragon region, is situated in northeast Spain. Located in the centre of the Ebro Valley, its population of nearly 700,000 makes it Spain’s fifth-largest city. It is equidistant from Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao and connects to the rest of Europe through the Pyrenees, making it a strategic communications centre. The historic city centre, part of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its folklore and gastronomy make it a magnet for tourism.
The city’s location means that logistics and transport are now the most important sectors in the local economy, which in previous decades was mainly concentrated in light metal and car production, notably with an Opel plant established in 1982. Since then, there has been an expansion in renewable energy, sustainable industries and new technology. Zaragoza is also known as a ‘City of Meetings’, thanks to the ease of access (high-speed train links to Madrid and Barcelona in less than 1 hour 30 minutes), two conference centres and a total of 10,500 hotel rooms.
Zaragoza hosted the world fair Expo 2008, highlighting water and sustainable development. It was a major international event that brought a high level of public investment in infrastructure and the regeneration of the Ebro riverfront. It also helped to promote the city around the world, leading to the establishment of Zaragoza Global, a company whose shareholders were the Municipality of Zaragoza, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Zaragoza and the Regional Government of Aragon. However in 2012, the agency was dismantled as a consequence of spending cuts in the public sector in Spain.