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Discover Tarragona: Mediterranean hub of the Roman Empire and cultural gem

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18 photos

Situated an hour south of Barcelona, by the Mediterranean sea, the town of Tarragona has considerable historic heritage dating back to the roman and medieval period making it an ideal destination to visit for culture vultures and those looking to escape the busy city of Barcelona.

Tarragona or 'Tarraco', as it was called by the Romans in 281 BC was an important hub for them and many of the landmarks the Romans built are still in existence today and declared UNESCO world heritage conservation sites. The Roman structures include the roman amphitheatre, circo romano, the forum and roman walls which enclose the old town of Tarragona.

As well as its' historical heritage, Tarragona entertains many cultural events and festivals throughout the year which help the town come alive. The Festival of Santa Tecla (the town's patron saint) is the main attract in mid-September. During Sant Jordi day on April 23, Tarragona's famous demonstrations of human towers are celebrated on the main Rambla whilst the annual 'Tarraco Viva' festival in May pays homage to the towns roman heritage with reenactments and performances of life in roman times.

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  • The Roman amphitheatre in Tarragona , Spain , Europe . Built around the 2nd Century the amphitheatre was scene of gladiator fights and other public spectacles in Roman times .
    The Roman amphitheatre in Tarragona , Spain , Europe . Built around the 2nd Century the amphitheatre was scene of gladiator fights and other public spectacles in Roman times .
  • The Pretori Roma tower standing over the remains of the Circo Romano in the historic town of Tarragona , Spain , Europe . The large open air venue that was used for events such as chariot racing in ancient Tarragona . Visitors can climb up to the top of the Pretori Roma tower to get a wonderful view over Tarragona
    The Pretori Roma tower standing over the remains of the Circo Romano in the historic town of Tarragona , Spain , Europe . The large open air venue that was used for events such as chariot racing in ancient Tarragona . Visitors can climb up to the top of the Pretori Roma tower to get a wonderful view over Tarragona
  • View of the port and marina of Tarragona from the ’Mediterranean balcony’ , Catalonia , Spain , Europe
    View of the port and marina of Tarragona from the ’Mediterranean balcony’ , Catalonia , Spain , Europe
  • The large monument of Roger de Llúria , 1887 in Tarragona , Catalonia , Spain , Europe . The emblematic monument stands at the start of the Rambla Nova in Tarragona next to the balcony overlooking the Mediterranean sea
    The large monument of Roger de Llúria , 1887 in Tarragona , Catalonia , Spain , Europe . The emblematic monument stands at the start of the Rambla Nova in Tarragona next to the balcony overlooking the Mediterranean sea
  • Little boy climbs to top to complete the human tower being created during festival day of Sant Jordi ( April 23 ) in Tarragona , Catalonia , Spain
    Little boy climbs to top to complete the human tower being created during festival day of Sant Jordi ( April 23 ) in Tarragona , Catalonia , Spain
  • Tiles on a wall painted with a scene of human towers in front of Tarragona cathedral during the Santa Magi festival in 1984 , Catalonia , Spain . Tarragona is well known for its public demonstrations of Castells ( human towers ) which are showcased at many festivals during the year in the city .
    Tiles on a wall painted with a scene of human towers in front of Tarragona cathedral during the Santa Magi festival in 1984 , Catalonia , Spain . Tarragona is well known for its public demonstrations of Castells ( human towers ) which are showcased at many festivals during the year in the city .
  • Humans rising - the base supporting the creation of a human tower during festival in Tarragona , Catalonia , Spain
    Humans rising - the base supporting the creation of a human tower during festival in Tarragona , Catalonia , Spain
  • Remains of a wall from ancient Roman times in la Plaza del Forum, Tarragona, Catalona, Spain, Europe
    Remains of a wall from ancient Roman times in la Plaza del Forum, Tarragona, Catalona, Spain, Europe
  • Garden of Casa Canals, a stately home now preserved as a museum for the public in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
    Garden of Casa Canals, a stately home now preserved as a museum for the public in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Stone gothic arches on Merceria street. Tarragona old town, Catalonia, Spain
    Stone gothic arches on Merceria street. Tarragona old town, Catalonia, Spain
  • Beach and city view of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
    Beach and city view of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Circo Romano (Circ Roma in Catalan) in the old town of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.The Circo Romano was large open-air venue that was used for events such as chariot racing and other activities in ancient Roman times in Tarragona
    Circo Romano (Circ Roma in Catalan) in the old town of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.The Circo Romano was large open-air venue that was used for events such as chariot racing and other activities in ancient Roman times in Tarragona
  • Roman Legionairres marching during an exercise recreated during the annual festival ’Tarraco Viva’, which pays homage to Tarrogana’s Roman heritage, Catalonia, Spain. The first ’Tarraco Viva’ events started in 1999 and has since grown to become an international cultural festival taking place annually, usually in the month of May, incorporating live reenactments, theatre, gastronomy, discussions and exhibitions.
    Roman Legionairres marching during an exercise recreated during the annual festival ’Tarraco Viva’, which pays homage to Tarrogana’s Roman heritage, Catalonia, Spain. The first ’Tarraco Viva’ events started in 1999 and has since grown to become an international cultural festival taking place annually, usually in the month of May, incorporating live reenactments, theatre, gastronomy, discussions and exhibitions.
  • Old and new - Roman ruins of the Colonial Forum in the centre of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. The Forum was the centre of the Roman era of Tarragona or ’Tarraco’ as it was then known. The city’s main streets led to it and it was the focal point for all public activities.  It was the centre of the social and political life of the time. It is now a musuem which is open to the public.
    Old and new - Roman ruins of the Colonial Forum in the centre of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. The Forum was the centre of the Roman era of Tarragona or ’Tarraco’ as it was then known. The city’s main streets led to it and it was the focal point for all public activities. It was the centre of the social and political life of the time. It is now a musuem which is open to the public.
  • Roman Legionnaire soldiers reconstruction during annual ’Tarraco Viva’ festival, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. The annual festival pays homage to Tarrogana’s Roman heritage. The first ’Tarraco Viva’ events started in 1999 and has since grown to become an international cultural festival taking place  usually in the month of May, incorporating live reenactments, theatre, gastronomy, discussions and exhibitions.
    Roman Legionnaire soldiers reconstruction during annual ’Tarraco Viva’ festival, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. The annual festival pays homage to Tarrogana’s Roman heritage. The first ’Tarraco Viva’ events started in 1999 and has since grown to become an international cultural festival taking place usually in the month of May, incorporating live reenactments, theatre, gastronomy, discussions and exhibitions.
  • ’Casa Castellernau’, the palacial home of the Castellernau family of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. Casa Castellernau’ was built at the beginning of the 15th century and was home to one of the city’s most influential families until the 19th century. Today it can be visited as a museum and is now  the property of the city.
    ’Casa Castellernau’, the palacial home of the Castellernau family of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. Casa Castellernau’ was built at the beginning of the 15th century and was home to one of the city’s most influential families until the 19th century. Today it can be visited as a museum and is now the property of the city.
  • Santa Tecla street leading to the side of the cathedral in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. Santa Tecla is the patron Saint of Tarragona and the ’fiestas’ which bring much fame to the town are celebrated every year in September.
    Santa Tecla street leading to the side of the cathedral in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. Santa Tecla is the patron Saint of Tarragona and the ’fiestas’ which bring much fame to the town are celebrated every year in September.
  • Outdoor market and cafe by roman ruins in la plaza del forum, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
    Outdoor market and cafe by roman ruins in la plaza del forum, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain

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