Tarragona: a great place to see Roman architecture

Barcelona is not the only place worth visiting in Catalonia, it seems – just down the cost, Tarragona is full of atmosphere, and has lots of Roman remains!

The ‘Museu d’Historia de Tarragona’ is a collection of museums throughout the city; there is a combined ticket for them all, but I went on a Friday when it’s all free!

First the amphitheatre – and yes it’s really an amphitheatre, unlike the ‘amphitheatre’ mentioned in the Lonely Planet Plovdiv section, which was actually a Roman theatre… It is an impressive place, and its location by the sea, near the town beach, is great. Much of the stone was used to build the port, so it’s largely reconstructed, and there are two great big churches in the middle of it, built in the 6th and 12th centuries when it was thought that the Christian bishop Fructuosus had been killed in the arena.

Then the ‘Passeig Arqueologic Muralles’ – a walk between the two city walls, one ancient, the other 18th century. The 3rd-century BC walls are amazingly well-preserved.

The Forum Provincial Pretori i Circ Romans – Roman circus, forum and tower – are excellent. A great place to see Roman remains, and all very well-presented.

Then the Archaeological museum, which is not just your average archaeological museum (I’ve seen quite a few now on this trip!). The mosaics are particularly impressive, and there’s a great fresco.

The Colonial Forum is surrounded by modern six-storey blocks of flats, but is very atmospheric, and largely consisted of a basilica and a temple, both mostly destroyed now.

I finished off the trip with a visit to the Necropolis Paleocristiana, which was deserted, owing in part to its location on the outskirts of town, and also the time – nearly lunch and siesta time!

Speaking of which…


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