Catalan Tarragona has a long and interesting history. Even before the arrival of the Romans, an Iberian settlement existed on the site of the future colony. The city flourished in the era of the Roman Empire: in the II-III centuries, an amphitheater, a circus and a ring of fortress walls were built, which have survived to this day and still remind of the greatness and invincibility of that era.
And yet, tourists do not come here for excursions, despite the fact that the city really has something to see. The main goal is the magnificent beaches of the Costa Dorada, relaxation and the gentle sun of Catalonia. Many people leave sightseeing for later, when the body is already fully enjoying the gentle waters of the Mediterranean Sea, and the brain wants new experiences.
What to see and where to go in Tarragona?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
Antique amphitheater of the II century, built right on the coast. The arena could hold up to 13,000 spectators. Gladiatorial fights and persecution of the first Christians by wild animals took place here. In the 4th century, after the recognition of the Christian religion, a temple was built in the arena in memory of the martyrs, of which only ruins have survived today. The amphitheater was discovered in the middle of the 20th century during archaeological excavations.
Cathedral of Tarragona
A Catholic church built in the early Gothic style in the 12th-13th centuries. It is located in the historical center of the city, which is surrounded by a fortress wall preserved from the time of the Roman Empire. Previously, on the site of the cathedral there was an ancient temple of Jupiter, an early Christian basilica of the Visigoths and a mosque. The interior space is decorated with a 15th century altar, benches and stucco ceilings from the 14th century.
A boulevard with a wide pedestrian part that stretches from the bus station to the Mediterranean coast. Along the alley are picturesque Art Nouveau buildings and unusual monuments. Restaurants are firmly established here, where you can taste the cuisine of different regions of Spain. The Rambla Nova is always full of life: tourists stroll, street musicians perform, and “live” sculptures demonstrate their skills.
The circus was built in the 1st century even before the amphitheater. Like all such structures, in ancient Rome, it was intended for chariot racing. Representations took place here until the 5th century, since the Christian religion, which had become official by that time, had nothing against such entertainment. Only a part of the building has survived to this day: stone stairs, stands and fragments of the facade.
The remains of the fortress wall of the city of Tarraco, which, according to many experts, are the best preserved examples of military architecture from the period of the Roman Empire. Defensive fortifications were erected in the 2nd century BC to protect the city. In 2000 they were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Today, a popular tourist route runs along the walls.
The collection of the museum is located on three floors and consists of items found during archaeological excavations on the territory of Tarragona. Here you can admire ancient sculpture, ceramics, Roman mosaics, weapons, coins and other artifacts. Visitors can also watch a film about the city's history. The exhibition appeared in the middle of the XIX century, today it honorably bears the title of the oldest museum in Catalonia.
House Museum of Castellarnau
An old mansion of the 15th century, which since the 18th century belonged to Carlos de Castellarnau. After the purchase, the aristocrat rebuilt the building in the Baroque style, but the Gothic and Renaissance features were still preserved in the appearance of the facade. The rooms of the mansion are decorated with furniture from the 18th-19th centuries, elegant Chinese porcelain, tiled frescoes and rich paintings. Residents of Tarragona believe that a ghost lives in the house - the spirit of the insane daughter of Carlos de Castellarnau.
Modern Art Museum
The exposition of contemporary art began its work in 1976, it was organized on the territory of three mansions of the 18th century. In the museum you can see the works of Catalan artists L. Saumels, R. Carrete, S. Martorel and other masters. In addition to paintings, tapestries, sculptures, furniture and jewelry are exhibited here. Part of the collection belongs to the period of the XII-XVIII centuries.
The inhabitants of Catalonia have an interesting tradition - during public holidays and festivities, they build "living" pyramids. Its origins date back to the 17th century: at that time, the Muisharanga dance was very popular in Valencia, which ended with the construction of a “living” tower. The Castelleros monument is dedicated to this tradition. It depicts a group of people standing on each other's shoulders. At the top of the pyramid is placed the figure of a child waving his hand.
Arena Tarraco Plaza
The bullring was built in 1888 in the Art Nouveau style by the architect R. S. Rikoma. In 2006, it was closed for restoration, which lasted 4 years. But the updated lists were not destined to open their doors again to the brave bullfighters, as Catalonia adopted a law banning bullfighting. Today, the arena is used for sports competitions and concerts.
Early Christian necropolis
Cemetery of the 3rd-5th centuries, which was discovered during the construction of a tobacco factory at the beginning of the 20th century. The necropolis consists of 2 thousand graves. Judging by the tombstones, representatives of different classes were buried here. According to numerous testimonies obtained during excavations, there used to be a basilica dedicated to the Christian martyrs who were killed in the arena.
El Medol Quarry
The quarry is located about 4 km from Tarragona. Its development began in the days of the Roman Empire in the II century BC. Local stone was used to build the colony of Tarraco (modern Tarragona). The quarry has not been operating for a long time, but it is very attractive for tourists. Here stands a 16-meter stone obelisk column, from where, presumably, mining began.
Roman aqueduct "Devil's Bridge"
A stone structure that once served to deliver water to the city. In total, there were two aqueducts in Tarragona, only one has survived to this day. The structure stretches over a deep gorge, it reaches a height of 27 meters. The name "Devil's Bridge" was given to the aqueduct thanks to a legend according to which the devil himself helped to build it in exchange for the soul of the one who would be the first to cross the bridge.
The beaches of Tarragona
The coastline of Tarragona stretches for almost 15 km. The city is located in the center of the Costa Dorada - a popular tourist region of Catalonia and all of Spain. Almost all local beaches have a gentle entrance to the sea and are great for families with children. Many of them have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag mark. Most of the beaches are equipped with infrastructure, some are located in deserted places.
An observation deck located at an altitude of 23 meters above sea level. It offers a beautiful view of the embankment, the sea, the roofs of houses, as well as the Roman amphitheater. The site is protected by a cast-iron fence. According to popular beliefs, if you hold on to iron bars, then luck will surely come. There is a cafe where you can have a bite to eat, and benches, sitting on which you can admire the bewitching landscapes for a long time.