Saturday, August 13, 2016

Spain: Tarragona

A picturesque view of Tarragona. 
The most interesting village we visited while in Salou was the town of Tarragona, rich with Roman history. Many ancient ruins remain from its time as Tarraco, while under Roman rule, and they have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cathedral in Tarragona
The cathedral stands majestically above the village. The church dates from the 12th century and combines both Romanesque and Gothic architecture.

A view of the Roman ruins in Tarragona
In the Roman Circus area, you can enter the vaults where chariots and other materials were stored. Within the vaults is a museum of sorts, explaining the activities of the chariot races and the men who drove the chariots.

Walking through one of the vaults in the Roman Circus area.
Various statues and tombstones from Roman times are also included in the vaults.

 A section of the arena for chariot races during Roman times.
The Roman circus, used mainly for chariot races, was built at the end of the 1st Century AD and was probably used until the end of the the 4th century AD. It was 450 meters long and one end has a semi-circular bend. You can see portions of the circus along the streets as you walk through the town. It is considered to be one of the most well-preserved circuses in Western Europe.

Village streets: Celebrating thirty years of something?
We visited Tarragona on a Sunday, and the streets were virtually empty. There were several museums of merit that we did not take time to visit, including the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona. Numerous churches are located throughout the village, including the remains of a church called Santa Maria del Miracle, which belonged to the Knights Templar and was demolished in 1915. It can be found near the seaside amphitheater.

Roman marketplace....still in use today for that purpose.
When we stopped for an espresso break near one of the churches, we noticed the ancient Roman marketplace, shown in the photo above. During the week, vendors sell their wares in the same space that Romans did in ancient times.

A view of the seaside Roman amphitheater. 
Tarragona is well worth a visit, and I wish we'd had more time to explore all that it has to offer. For more information, check out this link:

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