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Tarragona [ Friday, 22 Aug 08 | 19:52 ]
ursine1
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[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

A week ago Tuesday Ruben and I traveled to Tarragona to do some sightseeing, mainly of the Roman ruins. I have broken this into two posts. This first one contains more general information while the second focuses on the various places that we visited.

Location of Tarragona (yellow spot)
with respect to Catalunya, Europe, and the World

Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalunya and northeast corner of Spain, by the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca (county) of Tarragonès. The city has a population of about 150 thousand, and the urban area of 450 thousand.

In Roman times, the city was named Tarraco and was the capital of the province of Hispania Tarraconensis. This province encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of Spain along with the central plateau and the north coast, and part of northern Portugal. During the Roman era Tarraco was much more important than Barcino, present day Barcelona.

Some suggest that the city was probably founded by the Phoenicians, who called it 'Tarchon, which means a citadel. This name was probably derived from its location on a high rock, between 700 and 800 feet above the sea. Tarraco lies on the main Roman road, Via Augusta, crossing all the Hispania Province, from Cádiz in the southern tip of current Spain and eventually leading to Rome. A branch of the Via Augusta runs in front of where I live.

Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire and for whom the month of August is named, wintered at Tarraco after his Cantabrian campaign. The city minted coins and was the richest town on the coast.

Ancient remains

Model of Tarraco.
The Roman Circus is in the foreground.
The temple in the rear is now a cathedral.

There are still many important ancient remains at Tarragona. Part of the bases of large Cyclopean walls near the Quartel 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.

But Tarraco, like most other ancient towns which have continued to be inhabited, has been pulled to pieces for the purpose of obtaining building materials. The amphitheatre near the sea-shore has been used as a quarry, and but a few vestiges now remain.

A Roman circus, 1500 feet long, is built above it, though portions of it are still to be traced. Throughout the town, Latin and even Phoenician inscriptions appear on the stones that have been “re-purposed” for building houses.

Ruben inside
an underground gallery
of the Roman Circus

Modern Tarragona

Tarragona is home to a large port. Much of its economic activity comes from a large amount of chemical industries located in the city or in surrounding areas.

Tarragona tourist attractions include the Museum of Archaeology and the Roman ruins of Tarraco, which has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Tarragona has a wall surrounding the old city, too. More about these in my next post.

Me in front of the cathedral
site of a Roman temple

A number of good beaches, some awarded the prestigious Blue Flag, line the Mediterranean coast near the city.

e_ticket could probably tell you about the nearby Universal Studios theme park Port Aventura, one of the largest in Europe.

The most important fireworks contest in the Mediterranean area is held the first week of July in Tarragona. The competition selects six international pyrotechnic companies.

Tarraco Viva is one of the most important Roman reactments of the world. Many groups around Europe recreate the Roman world: from the Roman legions and gladiators, to daily life. It’s celebrated between 10th and 20th of May.

LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: rockey1
Saturday, 23 Aug 08 | 14:40 (UTC)

thanks for sharing

Looks like a great adventure.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ursine1
Saturday, 23 Aug 08 | 14:51 (UTC)

Re: thanks for sharing

For me it's not that far away. The train station here is across the street and in Tarragona only a few hundred meters away to the ruins. And it cost about 5 € for the train trip (one-way).

So I like to do day trips because they are cheap. When you are retired conservation of money is more important than when you are working.

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: rockey1
Saturday, 23 Aug 08 | 15:13 (UTC)

I know what you mean

I may be in that position after May as I am planning on retiring at the end of this school year. I actually hope to come to Europe this next summer. I guess i will survive as i will be making within 100 buck a month of what I am making now and my house will be paid off so hopefully I will survive. Perhaps I will come over your way.
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Saturday, 23 Aug 08 | 15:18 (UTC)

Perhaps I will come over your way.

If you do come here, I will be glad to show you around town.

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: rockey1
Saturday, 23 Aug 08 | 17:53 (UTC)

I would enjoy that

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Sunday, 24 Aug 08 | 19:30 (UTC)

Re: I know what you mean

I can assess he's a great host
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[User Picture]From: rockey1
Sunday, 24 Aug 08 | 20:56 (UTC)

Thank you

I know Chuck from some years back when i went up to his then place in Truckey on th lake up there. It was a wonderful weekend. I went up there with squalidbear but that was quite a few years back
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Sunday, 24 Aug 08 | 22:20 (UTC)

That was quite a few years back

My guess is '98 or '99. But then who's counting?

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: rockey1
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 01:39 (UTC)

You are probably right

And yes you were/are a gracious host. And I try to be a gracious guest as well.
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 05:54 (UTC)

I try to be a gracious guest

From the many postings that you have made, I can tell that you are both a gracious host and guest!

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 06:06 (UTC)

Re: Thank you

He's a great man. I love him to bits!
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 06:15 (UTC)

He's a great man. I love him to bits!

¡Igualmente!

Carlos
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[User Picture]From: rockey1
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 01:40 (UTC)

And BTW

You are quite easy on the eyes handsome
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 06:03 (UTC)

Re: And BTW

Hehe, thanks a lot!
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[User Picture]From: rockey1
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 10:52 (UTC)

You Are Welcome

I just call them the way I see them
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 12:49 (UTC)

Re: You Are Welcome

*blush*
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Sunday, 24 Aug 08 | 19:30 (UTC)
Hey, isn't this Ruben's first picture in your LJ?
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Sunday, 24 Aug 08 | 22:14 (UTC)

Ruben's picture

Yes, it is.

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 06:04 (UTC)

Re: Ruben's picture

Yipee! :)
Step by step :)
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 06:14 (UTC)

Step by step

Neither Ruben nor any of his friends read my blog so no pasa nada.

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 08:15 (UTC)

Re: Step by step

Me voy a chivar :)
(and I never knew how to translate "chivar" into English)
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Monday, 25 Aug 08 | 08:32 (UTC)

I never knew how to translate "chivar"

In English:
tattle
"squeal on"
"rat on"

Chuck
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