Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain

Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona.

The Roman ruins of Tarraco have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Part of the bases of large Cyclopean walls near the Cuartel de Pilatos are thought to pre-date the Romans. The building just mentioned, a prison in the 19th century, is said to have been the palace of Augustus. The 2nd century amphitheatre, near the sea-shore, was extensively used as a quarry after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and but few vestiges of it now remain. A circus, c. 450 m 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. Two ancient monuments, at some little distance from the town, have, however, fared rather better. The first of these is the Aqüeducte de les Ferreres, which spans a valley about 4 km north of the city. It is 217 m (711.94 ft) in length, and the loftiest arches, of which there are two tiers, are 26 m (85.30 ft) high. There is a monument about 6 km along the coast road east of the city, commonly called the “Tower of the Scipios”; but there is no authority for assuming that they were buried here.

Other Roman buildings include:

  • the walls, with two gates: Portal del Roser and the Portal de Sant Antoni.
  • the capitol, or citadel
  • the Forum
  • the palace of Augustus, called the house of Pilate
  • the circus or amphitheatre
  • the so-called tower, or sepulchre, of the Scipios
  • arch of Sura, or of Bara
  • the Aurelian Way.

The city is also home to the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona.

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