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Travel: Tarragona, Spain 3/17-24/2023 +

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Continuation of the trip which started on

3/2/2023 - Amsterdam (part 1) 3/12-16/2023 - Barcelona (part 4)

3/4-5/2023 - Amsterdam (part 2) 3/17-18/2023 -Catalan Villages (part 5)

3/6-12/2023 - London (part 3)

The weekend soccer game of Sun, Mar 19 FC Barcelona - Real Madrid had brought into Barcelona many many visitors, who swelled-up the town, immensely.

So on Friday (March 16th) heading to Tarragona , which we also visited, briefly, last in 2017, was both a relief escape from the crowds, and an opportunity to further explore this charming historic port town, situated an hour and half drive south, from Barcelona.

There was no problem to checking into this great Tarragona hotel overlooking the Mediterranean sea, on Friday eve. and then again as of Sunday, so we did.

However we spent the Saturday - one night in the Catalan mountains.(here)

Hotel we stayed in Tarragona

Highly recommended

H 10 Imperial - Tarragona

Located in the historic center of Tarragona facing beach front

2 Rambla Vella +34 900 444 466 (more)

Just by the Roman Via Augusta -

the longest and busiest of the major roads built by the Romans, in antiquity.

Along Via Augusta

A fun way to get antiquated with the city is to take the one hour ride of the

Blue Chu-Chu train

Tarraco Traen one hour ride of the Blue Train - best way to quint oneself with the town 665688118

I loved the gorgeous sea views and Roman antiquities of this ancient

town. as well as its more modern parts,

Once the capital of the Roman Empire in Spain, the city full of history, is also full of culture Mediterranean blue skies, beautiful beaches and of fine wine and cuisine

This port city located in northeast Spain on the Mediterranean Costa Daurada and is the capital of the Province of Tarragona, was founded before 5th BC

The city has a population of about 140K Tarragona is home to also to Rovira i Virgili University. Much of its economic activity comes from a large number of chemical industries located south of the city.

During the Roman Republic, the city was fortified and much enlarged as a Roman colony by the brothers Publius Cornelius Scipio and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, who converted it into a fortress and arsenal against the Carthaginians.

Augustus wintered at Tarraco after his Cantabrian campaign, and bestowed many marks of honor on the city, among which were its honorary titles of Colonia Victrix Togata and Colonia Julia Victrix Tarraconensis.

There were three main venues in which to hold spectacles in Roman Times

: the theatre, the circus and amphitheatre.

*Roman theatre of Tarraco

The theater was the first to be built ,and it was located between the local forum and the port, near the Via Augusta, close to the entrance of the town and near the beach, which gave a very comfortable "shipping" animals that were supposed to be on the show.

Via Augusta & Necropolic 1stC/Amphitheater 2n C/ Abonmdmnet of the theater

The Roman Theater built in 2nd C at a time, when Tarraco was the capital of the Roman province. at the time of Augustus. The Romans took advantage of the steep slope of the hill in the area to build part of the seating.

Seating is still visible but most of it is in these ruins

it suffered considerable destruction and was hidden from view for many centuries.

Tarragona Amphitheatre near the seashore was extensively used as a quarry after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and a church was built on its site.

Stones of the Roman theater were used for the construction of the Basilica in memory of the three martyrs (more)

Visigothic Basilica 7th C /Santa Maria de Miricale 12C / Triniterian Convent 16C

El Penal de Milargo Prison 19C

.It also served as a convent and then In 1780, the amphitheater was used as a prison for prisoners who built the port of Tarragona. After the closing of the prison, the amphitheatre was abandoned until the mid-20th century, when work began on the restoration of the theater.

The Theater is managed by the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona and is part of the Roman Tarraco archaeological complex

*Circ Romà - Circus

Open-air & underground ruins of a 1st C Roman circus -chariot-racing track, & tower.

A Roman Circus

A circus c. 450 m (1,480 ft) long, was built over in the area now called Plaça de la Font, though portions of it are still to be traced. Throughout the town Latin, and even apparently Phoenician, inscriptions on the stones of the houses mark the material used for buildings in the town.

King's Castle

It was called also Praetorium, Augostus Palace or Pilate's Castle

The castle was built at the start of the Christian resettlement, taking advantage of an old Roman tower. on the Circus site.

The tower was built to join the low part of the city and the circus with the province’s forum stage square by means of a staircase.

It served as the residence of the city's Norman family until 1171 A.D., when it passed into the hands of the King and the Crown of Aragon.

The castle underwent major renovation work during the reigns of Jaume II and Pere III.

It was converted into a military camp in the 16th -C and was greatly damaged during the city’s Napoleonic occupation. by French troops in 1813.

The current building preserves a totally medieval style, although it has many elements from the Roman times, Note the southern façade, with its many soaring windows from the 14th -C, survives, as do some interior walls, arcades, Gothic chamber on the upper floor, It is part of the heritage managed by the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona (MNAT), just next to the circus and Castle

Part of the bases of large Cyclopean walls near the Cuartel de Pilatos are thought to pre-date the Romans.

Historic Town' Center also known as Part Alta (upper city)

The Roman Layout

Most of the historic area is surrounded by Roman walls. towers, and buildings such as the theater/amphitheater, the circus the remains of the forum, the Roman and paleo-Christian necropolis, one of the most important in Europe

Many of its findings are on display in the Tarragona Archaeological Museum.

The Cathedral square and surrounding streets are the hub of the Medieval Center

The 12th-Cathedral formed in a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic l is located in a site previously occupied by a Roman temple dating to the time of Tiberius, a Visigothic cathedral, and a Moorish mosque. It was declared a national monument in 1905

Next to the Cathedral

On our Sept. 2017 visit the historic center which amazingly traces the original Roman forum, was mobbed with celebrating local Catalans.

The traditional human pyramid was formed for the pleasure of the spectators, right on top of the hill in front of the 12c Cathedral, where once the Roman temple stood.

As the last climber peaked to the top of the pyramid, the crowed cheered and clapped most loudly.

On this visit, the town was quite empty, and no festivities were going on, excluding the chattering noise of university students, who filled the eateries on the main squarem a pedestrian zone Placa de la Font which gets very the lively at night

Major Square - Place de la Font

Where the impressive neoclassical Town Hall building (a former Domenican convent) stands from 1838

The area of Font located on the place where once stood a quarter of the Central part of ancient Roman arena circus. After the Roman era, it was almost abandoned, Later it was called "the paddock" and used to caring for livestock.then and until 1915 became a daily market,

Visit to some homes of nobles in the old center

C. Cavallers, 1443003Tarragona

977 24 22 20 / 977 24 27 52

In the Middle Ages, CarrerCavallers was where the city’s leading noble families had their homes and palaces like

once the powerful Castellarnau family, which is now is a museum

This ancestral Gothic building, built in the 15th c and went through the many transformations and architectural styles

Furniture is in the style of Queen Isabella II.

The interior of the house is more impressive than the exterior.

Casa Canalas -Maison (18C-19C)

C. d'En Granada, 11 977 24 28 58

This historic manor, from the beginning of the 19- partly furnished, with garden& views

is located between Passeig de Sant Antoni, Carrer Granada and Plaça de Sant Antoni,

turned into a museum.

The Blue painted large Casa Canalas from the inside of the wall

One of the few noble homes in Tarragona to have been fully preserved to this day.

It is a stately, modern-era home, done in the same style as Casa Castellarnau.

However, in this case the structure was designed to take advantage of a Roman wall dating back to the late 2nd- C., and vestiges of a 14th-c home which can still be seen on the first floor. The building moreover contains a Spanish Civil War-era shelter. a, main floor, garden and terrace, which overlooks the walls and offers spectacular views. The second floor has been fitted out to serve as a conference room, while the upper floors are used to host diverse temporary exhibits.

The exterior of the house in its front and back though different is more interesting than the interior.

Looking out the window from the top floor

Outside the walls

The Case's look from the street front

Muralles (3rd-11C) The Walls

Archaeological promenade along the Roman walls, towers from 2nd AD and later also featuring gardens & sculptures.

Augusts Statue

More ancient Monuments in the Old Town's Center

Santa Tecla la Vella Chapel 13th C on Carrer de Sant Pau, 5,

Convent Augustinaian & Trinitarian 1646 Old Santa Tecla Hospital 1171 A.D

Jewish Quarter in Tarragona's Historic Town

The Jewish Quarter, or "Call Jueu", was completely separate from the rest of the city, with only 4 gateways connecting it to the outside world.

The "king'sJews" settled near the king's castle Protected by the royal powers,

Inside were the Jews’ homes– small buildings whose ground floors were usually used as workshops– the synagogue, the bakery, the baths and the school.

In the 14th century, the Jewish Quarter entered into a decline that ended with the expulsion of the Jews in 1492.

Today, a winding labyrinth of narrows streets and several pointed arches along CarrerTalavera and in PlaçadelsÀngels can still be seen. Unfortunately, old urban planning reforms partially destroyed the area and the recent demolition of certain mediaeval buildings marked the near complete disappearance of this Call. (more)

The post which was erected in 2010 states that" in 1492 the Tarragona Jews had to abandon their home just because being Jewish, and now the city of Tarragona which put this post in their honor for the sake of the descents of these banished, welcomes and is willing to take them back."

Other parts in the City

*Balcó del Mediterrani" - Mediterranean Terrace

Observation promenade offering beautiful views of the sea, the port, the beach & the Roman amphitheater.

Along "Rambla Nova" - the modern part

Rambla Nova - Tarragona's main and wide avenue is over 150 years old, dotted with sculptures and greenery and has the city's largest concentration of modern shops

This central axis crossing the modern city of Tarragona from the South-East to North-West and is perhaps the most famous and one of the most popular streets in the center of Tarragona.

Castel Human Pyramid Monument on Ranbla Nova

Placa Imperial Tarraco - along the Rambla Nova

The lovely Plaza Imperial Tarraco is the "Zero Kilometer" of Tarragona.

A road junction that connects this point of the city with the Part Alta (following C/Estanislao Figueres), the lower part and El Serrallo (after going through C/Pere Martell); original beginning of the Rambla Nova and exit gate from Tarragona towards other municipalities such as Vila-seca, Reus , Valls or provinces such as Lleida and Barcelona.. Services such as the Civil Government , the bus station or the Ciutat de Tarragona hotel are concentrated in its surroundings. .

Off and around the Rambal Nova

Food Market - Mercat Central (1915)

Bullfight Arena - Las Arenas

the Tarragona Bullring, now San Miguel Tarraco Arena was built in 1883, with capacity of 17,000 spectators by the architect Ramon Salas Ricom designed in the likeness of an ancient colosseum, decorated In 2010, local authorities passed a law banning bullfighting

in Catalonia.this since then it hosts concerts, theatrical performances and sports matches.

Roman Colonial Forum (1st C)

Located in the lower part of the Roman city, in a residential area, halfway between the administrative center of the province and the port

(between the streets of Cardenal Cervantes, Lleida, Gasometre and Fortuny.)

Main entrance from the street Lleida.

The ancient Roman forum, one of the first Roman structures that have emerged in Terraco

Forum of the Colony was an important center of community life, where was concentrated the social and political life of the city.