Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name
Tarragona (province)
Tarragona is a province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the autonomous community of Catalonia. It is bordered by the provinces of Castellón, Teruel, Zaragoza, Lleida, Barcelona, and the Mediterranean Sea....

 and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès
Tarragonès is a comarca in Catalonia, Spain. It is one of the three comarques formed in the 1936 comarcal division of Camp de Tarragona. It lies on the Mediterranean coast, between the comarques of Baix Penedès to the northeast and Baix Camp to the south. Over 60% of the population live in the...

. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona
Vegueria of Tarragona
The Vegueria of Tarragona was a historical territorial entity of Catalonia that agglutinated the counties of Tarragona. In all the moments of validity of this territorial division, the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona has been the city of Tarragona...

. As of the 2009 census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

, the city had a population of 155,323, and the population of the entire metropolitan area was estimated to be 675,921.


One Catalonian legend holds it was named for Tarraho, eldest son of Tubal
Tubal, תובל or תבל , in Genesis 10 , was the name of a son of Japheth, son of Noah.Many authors, following the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus , related the name to Iber- Caucasian Iberia...

 in c. 2407 BC; another (derived from Strabo and Megasthenes
Megasthenes was a Greek ethnographer in the Hellenistic period, author of the work Indica.He was born in Asia Minor and became an ambassador of Seleucus I of Syria possibly to Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra, India. However the exact date of his embassy is uncertain...

) attributes the name to 'Tearcon
Taharqa was a pharaoh of the Ancient Egyptian 25th dynasty and king of the Kingdom of Kush, which was located in Northern Sudan.Taharqa was the son of Piye, the Nubian king of Napata who had first conquered Egypt. Taharqa was also the cousin and successor of Shebitku. The successful campaigns of...

 the Ethiopian', a 7th century BC pharaoh who supposedly campaigned in Spain.

In Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 times, the city was named Tarraco and was capital of the province of Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica...

 (after being capital of Hispania Citerior
Hispania Citerior
During the Roman Republic, Hispania Citerior was a region of Hispania roughly occupying the northeastern coast and the Ebro Valley of what is now Spain. Hispania Ulterior was located west of Hispania Citerior—that is, farther away from Rome.-External links:*...

 in the Republican era
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

). The Roman colony founded at Tarraco had the full name of Colonia Iulia Urbs Triumphalis Tarraco.

The city may have begun as an Iberic town called Kesse or Kosse, named for the Iberic tribe of the region, the Cosetans, though the identification of Tarragona with Kesse is not certain. Smith
William Smith (lexicographer)
Sir William Smith Kt. was a noted English lexicographer.-Early life:Born at Enfield in 1813 of Nonconformist parents, he was originally destined for a theological career, but instead was articled to a solicitor. In his spare time he taught himself classics, and when he entered University College...

 suggests that the city was probably founded by the Phoenicians, who called it Tarchon, which, according to Samuel Bochart
Samuel Bochart
Samuel Bochart was a French Protestant biblical scholar, a student of Thomas Erpenius and the teacher of Pierre Daniel Huet...

, means a citadel. This name was probably derived from its situation on a high rock, between 700 and 800 feet above the sea; whence we find it characterised as arce potens Tarraco. It was seated on the river Sulcis or Tulcis (modern Francolí
The Francolí is a river in Catalonia . Its source is in the Prades Mountains and it flows into the Mediterranean Sea at Tarragona....

), on a bay of the Mare Internum (Mediterranean), between the Pyrenees and the river Iberus (modern Ebro
The Ebro or Ebre is one of the most important rivers in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the biggest river by discharge volume in Spain.The Ebro flows through the following cities:*Reinosa in Cantabria.*Miranda de Ebro in Castile and León....

). Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

 mentions a portus Tarraconis; and according to Eratosthenes
Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, poet, athlete, geographer, astronomer, and music theorist.He was the first person to use the word "geography" and invented the discipline of geography as we understand it...

 it had a naval station or roads ; but Artemidorus
Artemidorus Ephesius
Artemidorus of Ephesus was a Greek geographer, who flourished around 100 BC. His work in 11 books is often quoted by Strabo, but only fragments of the work exist...

 says with more probability that it had none, and scarcely even an anchoring place; and Strabo himself calls it .

This answers better to its present condition; for though a mole
Mole (architecture)
A mole is a massive structure, usually of stone, used as a pier, breakwater, or a causeway between places separated by water. The word comes from Middle French mole and ultimately Latin mōlēs meaning a large mass, especially of rock and has the same root as molecule.Historically, the term "mole"...

 was constructed in the 15th century with the materials of the ancient amphitheatre
An amphitheatre is an open-air venue used for entertainment and performances.There are two similar, but distinct, types of structure for which the word "amphitheatre" is used: Ancient Roman amphitheatres were large central performance spaces surrounded by ascending seating, and were commonly used...

, and another subsequently by an Englishman named John Smith, it still affords but little protection for shipping. Tarraco lies on the main road along the south-eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

. It was fortified and much enlarged by the brothers Publius
Publius Cornelius Scipio
Publius Cornelius Scipio was a general and statesman of the Roman Republic.A member of the Corneliagens, Scipio served as consul in 218 BC, the first year of the Second Punic War, and sailed with an army from Pisa to Massilia , with the intention of arresting Hannibal's advance on Italy...

 and Gnaeus Scipio
Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus
Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus was a Roman general and statesman.His father was Lucius Cornelius Scipio, son of the patrician censor of 280, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus. His younger brother was Publius Cornelius Scipio, father of the most famous Scipio – Scipio Africanus...

, who converted it into a fortress and arsenal against the Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

nians. Subsequently it became the capital of the province named after it, a Roman colony, and conventus juridicus
Conventus iuridicus
In Ancient Rome territorial organization, a conventus iuridicus was the capital city of a subdivision of some provinces with functions of seat of a district court of justice and maybe others.-External links:...


Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 wintered at Tarraco after his Cantabrian campaign, and bestowed many marks of honour on the city, among which were its honorary titles of Colonia Victrix Togata and Colonia Julia Victrix Tarraconensis. The city also minted coins. According to Mela it was the richest town on that coast, and Strabo represents its population as equal to that of Carthago Nova (modern Cartagena
Cartagena, Spain
Cartagena is a Spanish city and a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. As of January 2011, it has a population of 218,210 inhabitants being the Region’s second largest municipality and the country’s 6th non-Province capital...

). Its fertile plain and sunny shores are celebrated by Martial
Marcus Valerius Martialis , was a Latin poet from Hispania best known for his twelve books of Epigrams, published in Rome between AD 86 and 103, during the reigns of the emperors Domitian, Nerva and Trajan...

 and other poets; and its neighbourhood is described as producing good wine and flax.

Ancient remains

The Roman ruins of Tarraco have been designated a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...


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
Tarragona Amphitheatre
Tarragona Amphitheatre is a Roman amphitheatre in the city of Tarragona, in the Catalonia region of north-east Spain. It was built in the 2nd century AD, sited close to the forum of this provincial capital....

, near the sea-shore, was extensively used as a quarry after the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine 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
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, 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
Aqüeducte de les Ferreres
The Aqüeducte de les Ferreres is a Roman aqueduct in Catalonia, Spain built to supply water to the ancient city of Tarraco. The aqueduct is located 4 kilometers north of Tarragona, in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia...

, 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 (85.3 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
    Portal de Sant Antoni (Tarragona)
    The Portal de Sant Antoni is a monumental gate on the wall of Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.As attested by an inscription, it was built in 1737, in Baroque style. Over the arch is the coat of arms of King Philip V of Spain, flanked by two lions. Under it, is the coat of arms of Tarragona....

  • the capitol, or citadel
  • the Forum
    Roman Forum (Tarragona)
    The Roman Forum is a Roman archaeological site in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain, encompassing an area of 18 ha. Together with other Roman remains in the city, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000....

  • 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
National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona
The National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona is a public museum located in the city of Tarragona focusing on its rich historical heritage and ancient remains. It includes archaeological findings of Tarraco's Roman and Early Christian past, as well as a library...


Religious buildings

  • the Cathedral, dating to the 12th-13th centuries, combining Romanesque and Gothic architectural elements.
  • the convent of the Poor Clares, near the walls
  • The convent of Santa Teresa
  • The church of the Capuchins
    Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
    The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

    , the parish church of the port
  • The former convent of Sant Francesc
  • The Jesuit college was turned into barracks, their church, however, has been restored to them
  • The convent of the Dominicans
    Dominican Order
    The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

    , now the town hall
  • The archiepiscopal palace, situated on the site of the ancient capitol, one tower of which still remains. It was rebuilt in the 19th century.
  • Near the sea, in the Roman amphitheatre, are the remains of a church called Santa Maria del Miracle (Holy Mary of the Miracle), which belonged to the Knights Templar
    Knights Templar
    The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

    . It was afterwards used by the Trinitarian
    Trinitarian Order
    The Order of the Holy Trinity is a Catholic religious order that was founded in the area of Cerfroid, some 80 km northeast of Paris, at the end of the twelfth century. The founder was St. John de Matha, whose feast day is celebrated on 17 December...

     Fathers, and was later converted into a penitentiary. It was demolished around 1915.

The seminary of San Pablo and Santa Tecla was founded in 1570 by the cardinal archbishop, Gaspar de Cervantes, and was the first to comply with the decrees of the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

. In 1858 Archbishop José Domingo Costa y Borrás built a fourth wing. Benito Villamitjana built a new seminary behind the cathedral in 1886, in the courtyard of which stands the old chapel of San Pablo. Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII , born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903...

 raised this to the rank of a pontifical university.

50 km (31.07 mi) north of the city is the monastery of Poblet, founded in 1151 by Ramón Berenguer IV
Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona
Ramon Berenguer IV , sometimes called the Holy, was the Count of Barcelona who effected the union between the Kingdom of Aragon and the Principality of Catalonia into the Crown of Aragon....

, which was used for sepultures of the kings of Aragon.

Modern Tarragona

Tarragona is home to a large port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Rovira i Virgili University is located in the cities of Tarragona and Reus, Catalonia. Its name is in honour to Antoni Rovira i Virgili....

. Much of its economic activity comes from a large number of chemical industries located in the city or in surrounding areas.

The main living heritage is the Popular Retinue, a great parade of dances, bestiary and spoken dances- and the human towers. They specially participate in Santa Tecla Festival
Santa Tecla Festival
The Santa Tecla Festival is a festival held in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.Plunging into the festivities of Santa Tecla of Tarragona unavoidably involves becoming impregnated with fragrances that link the present times with history, with heritage legacy...

. They are so popular in Tarragona and also in all Catalonia that they have got their own home. It is called "Casa de la Festa", Festivities House, where you can visit them all the year. http://casafesta.tarragona.cat

A number of beaches, some awarded a Blue Flag
Blue Flag beach
The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education that a beach or marina meets its stringent standards.The Blue Flag is a trademark owned by FEE which is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation consisting of 65 organisations in 60 member countries in Europe,...

 designation, line the Mediterranean coast near the city.

Tarragona is located near the holiday resort of Salou and the theme park Port Aventura, one of the largest in Europe.

The city is located a few kilometers away from Reus Airport
Reus Airport
-Incidents and accidents:* On 20 July 1970, a Condor Boeing 737-100 which was approaching Reus Airport, collided with a privately owned Piper Cherokee light aircraft near Tarragona, Spain. The Piper subsequently crashed, resulting in the death of the three persons on board...

, which has many low-cost destinations and charter-flights (over a million passengers per year). Reus
Reus is the capital of the comarca of Baix Camp, in the province of Tarragona, in Catalonia, Spain. The area has always been an important producer of wines and spirits, and gained continental importance at the time of the Phylloxera plague...

 is the second city of Tarragona area (101,767 inhabitants in 2006), known by its commercial activity and for being the place where the architect Gaudí was born.



  • The Carnival
    Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

  • Tarragona international dixieland festival
    Tarragona international dixieland festival
    The Tarragona International Dixieland Festival was born in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain, in 1994, where since the restoration of democratic local governments jazz had been recovered as a stable form within the different cultural programmes during the year...

    . Houses 25 bands and 100 concerts and activities the week before Holy Week.
  • Tarraco Viva. A lot of groups around Europe recreate the Roman world: from the Roman legions, to daily life. It's celebrated between 10 and 20 May.
  • Tarragona International Fireworks Displays Competition
    Tarragona International Fireworks Displays Competition
    The most important fireworks contest in the Mediterranean area is held every first week of July in Tarragona, in Catalonia, Spain, in a wonderful bay -Punta del Miracle-, a place praised by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. The selector board, formed by people appointed by the City Council of...

    . The competition selects six international pyrotechnic companies every year. Official website1
  • Sant Magí Festival, held between 15 and 19 August.
  • Santa Tecla Festival
    Santa Tecla Festival
    The Santa Tecla Festival is a festival held in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.Plunging into the festivities of Santa Tecla of Tarragona unavoidably involves becoming impregnated with fragrances that link the present times with history, with heritage legacy...

    , held between 15 and 24 September. It has been celebrated since 1321 and it is considered of national touristic interest by the state.
  • Tarragona 2017 XVIII Mediterranean Games
    2017 Mediterranean Games
    The XVIIIth Mediterranean Games, commonly known as the 2017 Mediterranean Games will be the 18th Mediterranean Games. The Games will be held in Tarragona, Spain over 10 days from 30 June to 9 July, 2017.-Candidate cities:...

    , Tarragona was chosen as the venue for the Mediterranean Games in 2017. They will be held on July 2017.

Tarragona was also a candidate to be the Spanish representative as European Capital of Culture in 2016.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Tarragona is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

Avignon is a French commune in southeastern France in the départment of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 94,787 inhabitants of the city on 1 January 2010, 12 000 live in the ancient town centre surrounded by its medieval ramparts.Often referred to as the...

, France, since 1968 Alghero
Alghero , is a town of about 44,000 inhabitants in Italy. It lies in the province of Sassari in northwestern Sardinia, next to the sea.-History:The area of today's Alghero has been settled since pre-historic times...

, Italy, since 1972 Orléans
-Prehistory and Roman:Cenabum was a Gallic stronghold, one of the principal towns of the Carnutes tribe where the Druids held their annual assembly. It was conquered and destroyed by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, then rebuilt under the Roman Empire...

, France, since 1978 Stafford
Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire, in the West Midlands region of England. It lies approximately north of Wolverhampton and south of Stoke-on-Trent, adjacent to the M6 motorway Junction 13 to Junction 14...

, United Kingdom, since 1992 Klagenfurt
-Name:Carinthia's eminent linguists Primus Lessiak and Eberhard Kranzmayer assumed that the city's name, which literally translates as "ford of lament" or "ford of complaints", had something to do with the superstitious thought that fateful fairies or demons tend to live around treacherous waters...

, Austria, since 1996 Pushkin
Pushkin (town)
Pushkin is a municipal town in Pushkinsky District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, Russia, located south from the center of St. Petersburg proper, and its train station, Detskoye Selo, is directly connected by railway to the Vitebsky Rail Terminal of the city...

, Russia, since 1997 Pompei
Pompei is a city and comune in the province of Naples in Campania, southern Italy, famous for its ancient Roman ruins. As of 2010 its population was of 25,671.-History:...

, Italy, since 2006

See also

  • Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco
  • Archdiocese of Tarragona
    Archdiocese of Tarragona
    The Archdiocese of Tarragona is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory located in north-eastern Spain, in the province of Tarragona, part of the autonomous community of Catalonia...

  • Royal Tarragona Yacht Club

External links

Official Website of Tarragona
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.