Discover Tarragona on your own

Discover Tarragona on your own


The city of Tarragona, 100 kilometers southwest of Barcelona, ​​is well worth a visit. The city has a pleasant flair and offers an abundance of ancient sights. Tarragona is an attractive destination not only for cruise ship guests.

Tarragona-Rambla Nova

Tarragona-Rambla Nova


The city and the entire region came to power in 218 BC. Under Roman rule. The Romans called their settlement Táracco. It quickly developed into an important base. During the Roman rule, magnificent and large-scale public buildings were built, the remains of which can be seen all over the cityscape of Tarragona.

Tarragona - UNESCO World Heritage Site

The buildings are known as that Archaeological ensemble of Tárraco. It includes 14 monuments from Roman times. Many of them still exist as fragments. Others are hidden under the current building fabric.

These are important inner-city finds roman amphitheater, the Circ roma and I baked the Roman Forum. Outside the city are the grave monument Torre del Escipions, the Arc de Triomphe Arc de Bera, the archaeological site of centcelles with the mausoleum and that Pont del Diable called aqueduct. The finds are of such immense historical importance that Centcelles and the entire ancient Roman district of Tarragona were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name of the Ensemble of Tárraco in 2000.
Some of the Roman relics can be seen on an archaeological tour along the "Passeig Arqueològic" next to the city wall.

Start of the city tour

Cruise ships dock at the Moll de Llevant five kilometers from the city center. Taxis and shuttle buses ensure the connection to the city center.
The port buses stop in Via Augusta above the Roman amphitheater.

Port bus stop - Parc de l'Amfiteatre

Port bus stop - Parc de l'Amfiteatre


Via Augusta is the starting point of our recommended tour of Tarragona's historic center. 

The Roman amphitheater

The well-preserved oval amphitheater near the sea was built in the 2nd century AD on an area of ​​110 x 87 meters. There was space for 14.000 to 15.000 spectators in the wide oval. Visitors were enthusiastic about gladiator and predator fights as well as public executions. At festivals such as “Tarraco Viva” and “Història Viva”, everyday life in Rome is staged today.

Remains of the amphitheater

Remains of the amphitheater


Church buildings were erected over the arena in the 5th and again in the 12th century. Valuable building fabric was lost when the amphitheater served as a quarry in the Middle Ages. But large areas of the facility can still be seen today.
Location: Parc de l'Amfiteatre romà

The Praetorium

The huge tower above the amphitheater also dates from Roman times. The stairs of the Praetorium once connected the lower-lying district of Tarracos with the much higher-lying circus and the provincial forum.  

The Torre del Pretori
The Torre del Pretori

In the 12th century, the kings of Aragon used the complex as a palace. Later it served as a prison.
Location: Plaça del Rei

 

 

The representative building next to the Praetorium is the seat of the Museu Nacional Arqueològic de Tarragona (MNAT). Sculptures, mosaics, architectural fragments, ceramics, household items, military equipment, amphorae, cloakroom finds, grave goods and coins are on display. 

Plaça del Rei - National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona

Plaça del Rei - National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona


The Provincial Forum

Imposing remains of Roman walls stand on the Plaça del Forum. They belonged to the lower square of the Provincial Forum, a huge rectangular complex surrounded on three sides by colonnades. The original size is estimated at 318 x 175 meters. Presumably the square was surrounded by gardens and decorated with statues. The bases of the statues were later incorporated into the buildings of Carrer de la Merceria. This street connects the Plaça del Forum with the Plaça de les Cols below the cathedral.

Plaça del Forum - remains of ancient walls

Plaça del Forum - remains of ancient walls


The arcades of Carrer de la Merceria

The arcades of the Carrer de la Merceria are worth seeing. A market was held under the arches in the Middle Ages.

Plaça de les Cols - Carrer de la Merceria

Plaça de les Cols - Carrer de la Merceria


The Cathedral and the Diocesan Museum

Tarragona's three-aisled cathedral is dedicated to Saint Thekla. The construction of the church took a total of 160 years. Work began in 1171 and ended in 1331. The main portal completed in 1475, the white marble gate to the cloister and the valuable collections of religious art in the neighboring diocesan museum are particularly worth seeing.

Tarragona Cathedral
Portal of the cathedral
Cathedral - side wall
Tarragona's Cathedral


Location: Pla de la Seu
Entrance price: 5,00 euros (reductions for children, schoolchildren and seniors are granted)

The medieval hospital and the university

Carrer de les Coques runs along the east side of the cathedral. Noteworthy buildings on this street are Museu Biblic Tarraconense and I baked the Hospital medieval, the old hospital. Of the hospital founded in 1171, only the Romanesque-Gothic facade has been preserved. Behind it are office spaces that are used by a public institution. The house front with the pillared vestibule and the five round arches is worth seeing.

Hospital medieval on Carrer de los Coques

Hospital medieval on Carrer de los Coques


Not far from the old hospital is the really worth seeing Rectorate of the University of Rovira i Virgili (URV). It was built at the beginning of the 20th century in Spain's Art Nouveau, the "Modernisme". In the beginning, this stylish building was used as a slaughterhouse.     

The rectorate of the university

The rectorate of the university


Tarragona's historic center

Tarragona's historic center reveals itself to visitors mainly in the streets Carrer Major and Carrer dels Cavallers. It's in Carrer dels Cavallers Museu d'Història de Tarragona. The museum is dedicated to the history of the city of Tarragona.
Location: Carrer dels Cavallers 14

Casa Museu Castellarnau - Museu d'Història de Tarragona

Casa Museu Castellarnau - Museu d'Història de Tarragona


It is only a few steps from the museum Former Hearing with the model Maqueta de Tarraco. The interior shows an image of the Roman settlement Tarraco from the time of the 2nd century AD.
Location: Plaça del Pallol

The Antiga Audiencia

The Antiga Audiencia


Passeig Arqueològic

Of the originally 3.500 meter long Roman city wall, 1.100 meters are still preserved today. The wall is one of the oldest structures from Roman times outside of Italy. It received reinforcements between the 16th and 18th centuries. The mighty one Portal de Sant Antoni, the entrance to the old town, was built into the wall in the 18th century. The windows in the city wall were added later.

Roman city wall with the Portal de Sant Antoni
Roman city walls at Camp de Mart


An archaeological circular route runs between the city wall and the modern Unterwall. In front of Passeig Arqueològic, the Camp de Mart park extends with the multiple event area of ​​the auditorium.
The Portal de Sant Antoni is located on Passeig de Sant Antoni / Plaça de Sant Antoni.
Entry to the archaeological tour costs 3,30 euros.

 

 

Tarragona's town hall

The town hall on Plaça de la Font is worth a detour. The square covers a large part of the Roman circus; Alternatively, visitors are rewarded with a view of the successful, representative facade of the town hall built in the Ionic style. The building originates from the 19th century. The Plaça de la Font is a central event location. Bars and restaurants invite you to linger.

Plaça de la Font with the town hall

Plaça de la Font with the town hall


Mercat de Tarragona

The market hall is a worth seeing destination on weekdays. The building, which is over 100 years old and built in the style of Modernism, dates from 1915.
Location: Plaça de Corsini
Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 8.30am to 21.00pm

Mercat de Tarragona

Mercat de Tarragona


Forum romà

Not far from the market hall are the remains of the Roman Forum. Some columns, remains of columns and parts of vaults are reminiscent of the Roman rulers on the spacious area.

Roman Forum

Roman Forum


Circ roma

The original dimensions of the circus are estimated at 360 x 110 meters. Parts of the vaults of the circus are accessible under modern buildings. However, the Plaça de la Font covers a large part of the former racetrack.

Circ roma

Circ roma


The Rambla Nova

The Rambla Nova is Tarragona's main shopping street, which is almost two kilometers long. The roadways run on both sides of the Rambla. In between there is a promenade with shady trees and benches.

San Lorenzo Cathedral - central nave
San Lorenzo Cathedral - Altar


The street runs between the Plaça Imperial Tàrraco and the Balcon de Mediterráneo. Of the Balcony of the Mediterranean at the upper end of the Rambla Nova offers views of the sea, parts of the harbor, the amphitheater and the beach del Miracle from a height of 40 meters. Legend has it that if you touch the iron railing in passing, you will be lucky.

Balcony of the Mediterranean

Balcony of the Mediterranean


On the Rambla Nova, tourists admire the eleven meters high, located near the Font del Centanari Monument as Castellers. The huge group of people consisting of 222 bodies symbolizes a Catalan custom of the last two centuries: the human towers formed by the daring. The Tarragona Tower has seven levels. Individual people wear the faces of famous men such as Pablo Picasso, Antoni Gaudí or Joan Miró.

Monument as Castellers

Monument as Castellers


Roman buildings outside the city

It's four kilometers outside the city Les Ferreres aqueduct. It was part of the ancient Roman aqueduct. The remains of the structure are 217 meters long and 27 meters high. Together with the other Roman monuments in the city, the aqueduct is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Also outside Tarragona is the Arch of Berà. With a height of 11,40 meters and a clear width of 4,80 meters, it spans the ancient Via Augusta.

 

September 2019

 

 

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