Tarragona

Located in northeastern Spain, just 92 kilometres from Barcelona, we find what was the first Roman city outside the Italian Peninsula, later to become the epicenter of the Romanization of the Iberian Peninsula. Declared a World Heritage Site in the year 2OOO, Tarragona stands on a hill which serves as a natural watchtower, a balcony over the Mediterranean which is always open to the sea. Today it is a meeting point for the town people and it is the city’s hallmark ...

For years it was the capital of Hispania Citerior or Tarraconensis, the city became one of the major Mediterranean urban centre, hence it had all kinds of infrastructure. Among these were buildings dedicated to spectacles, such as the amphitheatre, where gladiators and beasts fought and executions took place, or the circus, without doubt one of the best preserved in Europe with stands supported by vaults and cells. It was the heart of the Mediterranean economy and culture, proof of that is the important legacy we can still enjoy these days in museums like this, the national archaeological museum. Tarragona can also boast having the oldest (third century BC) and the largest monument in the peninsula, its wall. Originally it was 4 kilometres long, by 5 metres wide and 12 metres tall, and it enclosed a city dotted with stones in every corner. Exactly 50,000 cubic metres of stone were taken from here, the Medol quarry. Its 16 metre needle shows us the depth of the material extracted from here…

Tarragona has also combined the Roman legacy with its medieval past, represented in places like the Pla de la Seu, one of the sites that best preserves the medieval atmosphere of the city. The Cathedral is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic buildings of the medieval city. In its interior, the fifteenth century altar stands out for its beauty. It is a polychromed alabaster filigree that depicts the life and martyrdom of Saint Tecla, patron saint of the city. One of the most remarkable collections of Catalan Romanesque art is to be found in the cloister of the Cathedral from the end of the XII century, where the rats procession is shown to visitors as a genuine stone sculptured book for those who could not read and from which we draw the following moral: Cunning is more powerful than strength.

A new chapter in Tarragona´s history begins in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is then that the modernist city emerges, the creation of which lasts until the nineteenth century. An example of this is the Castellarnau house from the early fifteenth century. It was the residence of the most influential families of the city, even Charles V lived here during his stay in Tarragona. It is an example of refinement and elegance in every corner. Our tour takes us to the Metropol Theatre, an architectural jewel created by Josep Jujol, a direct disciple of Antonio Gaudi, who was able to create a unique atmosphere. For Jujol the building was a boat that led the faithful and the spectators to the seas of salvation. The Quinta de San Rafael, originated as a healing, meditation and relaxation place. It offers the visitor a modernist building located in an area of peace and tranquility, an ideal place to finish the tour of a town which has been a witness of history, one which we will have to visit step by step.