Tarragona located approximately 12 km from Salou and 100 km from Barcelona, is a beautiful city on the Mediterranean coast in Catalonia. Full of Catalonian history, culture, beautiful beaches and sights, this makes Tarragona an ideal destination for all the family.
Easily accessed by train from Salou the journey just takes approx 15 mins and never disappoints. There is a lot of activities to choose from, including water sports, sea fishing, horse riding, museums and sight seeing.
Tarragona is considered one of the most important Roman towns in Spain.
Roman Amphitheatre :
The Roman Amphitheatre was built at the end of the first century B.C and the beginning of the second century B.C. It held fights between gladiators in the second century. Remains of a large inscription dating to the reign of Elagabalus third century A.D can be seen in the podium.
The Visigoth basilica on site was built in the sixth century and was eventually replaced by the medieval Santa Maria del Miracle church which was erected using some of the buildings stones and the remains can be seen today. Overlooking the sea the amphitheatre is carved directly from the underlying rock. Built 109.5 metres long and 86.5 metres wide, it can hold up to 14,000 spectators.
It held many fights between gladiators and wild beasts. It was also the scene of public executions. In the year 259 A.D Bishop Fructuoso and his deacons Augurio and Eulogio were burned alive. After Christianity became the official religion of the empire,the amphitheatre lost its original functions. Tombs can also be seen excavated in the arena.
Praetorium and Roman Circus
Built in the first century, Tarragona’s circus was once used to hold horse drawn chariot races, usually between two horse chariots known as bigae or four horse drawn chariots known as quadrigae.
It is located between the provincial forum and Via Augusta. It is 350 metres long and 115 metres wide. It’s original capacity is estimated to hold 30,000 spectators. It is considered to be one of the best preserved circuses in the west even though some of the structure remains hidden under old 19th century buildings.
Sections of the walls and some of the tunnels which originally gave access to the stands remain, but now they run beneath the surrounding streets and buildings of the city centre. The Eastern side can still be visited, including the decorative facade and stands, the Sant Hermenegild vault and those on Carrer Enrajolat. The site includes the Praetorium tower which was once part of the Provincial Forum.
It once housed the stairs that connected the provincial forum to the lower city and connected by the means of underground passageways. In the 12th century it was transformed into a palace for the monarchs of the crown of Aragon and then subsequently it was used as a prison. Inside here there is useful information boards telling you the history and a display of Roman material.
There is amazing panoramic views from the top of the tower after climbing up the steps or there is also an elevator available. A combined ticket can be purchased for all the historic buildings for approx 7 euro.
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