Tarragona

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Tarragona
city
View of Tarragona
View of Tarragona
Flag of Tarragona
Flag
Coat of arms of Tarragona
Coat of arms
Location of Tarragona in Catalonia
Location of Tarragona in Catalonia
Tarragona is located in Spain
Tarragona
Tarragona
Location of Tarragona in Spain
Coordinates: 41°06′56.51″N 1°14′58.54″E / 41.1156972°N 1.2495944°E / 41.1156972; 1.2495944Coordinates: 41°06′56.51″N 1°14′58.54″E / 41.1156972°N 1.2495944°E / 41.1156972; 1.2495944
Country  Spain
Autonomous Community  Catalonia
Province Tarragona
Comarca Tarragonès
Founded 5th century BC
Government
 • Mayor Josep Fèlix Ballesteros (PSC)
Area
 • Total 55.60 km2 (21.47 sq mi)
Elevation(AMSL) 68 m (223 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 134,085
 • Density 2,400/km2 (6,200/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 43001 - 43008
Area code(s) +34 (Spain) + 977 (Tarragona)
Website Official website
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
View of Roman Circus
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii
Reference 875
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2000 (24th Session)

Tarragona (Catalan: [tərəˈɣonə], Spanish: [taraˈɣona]; Phoenician: טַרְקוֹן, Tarqon; Latin: Tarraco) is a port city located in the north-east of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Tarragona province, and part of the Tarragonès county and Catalonia region. Geographically, it is bordered on the north by the province of Barcelona and the province of Lleida. The city has a population of 134,085.

History[edit]

One Catalan legend holds that it was named for Tarraho, eldest son of Tubal in c. 2407 BC; another (derived from Strabo and Megasthenes) attributes the name to 'Tearcon the Ethiopian', a 7th-century BC pharaoh who supposedly campaigned in Spain. The real founding date of Tarragona is unknown.

In Roman times, the city was named Tarraco and was capital of the province of Hispania Tarraconensis (after being capital of Hispania Citerior in the Republican era).[1] 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 Cossetans, though the identification of Tarragona with Kesse is not certain.[2] Smith suggests that the city was probably founded by the Phoenicians, who called it 'Tarchon, which, according to Samuel Bochart, means a citadel. This name was probably derived from its situation on a high rock, between 250 and 300 feet above the sea; whence we find it characterised as arce potens Tarraco.[3] It was seated on the river Sulcis or Tulcis (modern Francolí), on a bay of the Mare Internum (Mediterranean), between the Pyrenees and the river Iberus (modern Ebro).[4] Livy mentions a portus Tarraconis;[5] and according to Eratosthenes it had a naval station or roads (Ναύσταθμον);[6] but Artemidorus says with more probability that it had none, and scarcely even an anchoring place; and Strabo himself calls it ἀλίμενος.[7]

This answers better to its present condition; for though a mole was constructed in the 15th century with the materials of the ancient amphitheatre, and another subsequently by an Englishman named John Smith, it still affords but little protection for shipping.[8] Tarraco lies on the main road along the south-eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.[9] It was fortified and much enlarged by the brothers Publius and Gnaeus Scipio, who converted it into a fortress and arsenal against the Carthagenians. Subsequently it became the capital of the province named after it, a Roman colony, and conventus juridicus.[10]

Augustus 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.[11] According to Mela it was the richest town on that coast,[12] and Strabo represents its population as equal to that of Carthago Nova (modern Cartagena).[12] Its fertile plain and sunny shores are celebrated by Martial and other poets; and its neighbourhood is described as producing good wine and flax.[13]

Peninsular War[edit]

During the Peninsular War, In the first siege of Tarragona from 5 May to 29 June 1811, Louis Gabriel Suchet's French Army of Aragon laid siege to a Spanish garrison led by Lieutenant General Juan Senen de Contreras. A British naval squadron commanded by Admiral Edward Codrington harassed the French besiegers with cannon fire and transported large numbers of reinforcements into the city by sea. Nevertheless, Suchet's troops stormed into the defenses and killed or captured almost all the defenders.

In the second siege of Tarragona (June 3–11, 1813), an overwhelming Anglo-Spanish force under the command of Lieutenant General John Murray, 8th Baronet failed to wrest Tarragona from a small Franco-Italian garrison led by General of Brigade Antoine Marc Augustin Bertoletti. Murray was subsequently removed from command for his indecisive and contradictory leadership. The Anglo-Spanish forces finally captured Tarragona on 19 August.

Main sights[edit]

Ancient remains[edit]

Main article: Tarraco

 

Amphithéâtre of Tarragona and the Mediterranean Sea

The Roman ruins of Tarraco have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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, near the sea-shore, was extensively used as a quarry after the fall of the Western Roman 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, 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, which spans a valley about 4 kilometres (2 miles) north of the city. It is 217 m (712 ft) in length, and the loftiest arches, of which there are two tiers, are 26 m (85 ft) high. There is a monument about 6 km (4 mi) 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.[14]

Other Roman buildings include:

  • The Roman walls
  • The capitol, or citadel
  • The Amphitheatre
  • The Roman circus
  • The Pretorium - Tower
  • The Forum
  • The Necropolis
  • The palace of Augustus, called the house of Pilate
  • 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.

Religious buildings[edit]

  • 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, 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, 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. It was afterwards used by the Trinitarian Fathers, and was later converted into a penitentiary. It was demolished around 1915.[15]
Tarragona Cathedral.

The seminary of Sant Pau and Santa Tecla was founded in 1570 by the cardinal archbishop, Gaspar Cervantes de Gaeta, and was the first to comply with the decrees of the Council of Trent. 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 Sant Pau. Pope Leo XIII 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 Ramon Berenguer IV, which was used for sepultures of the kings.

Modern Tarragona[edit]

Plaça del Fòrum.

Tarragona is home to a large port and the Universitat 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. 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. [1]

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

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

The city is located a few kilometers away from Reus Airport, which has many low-cost destinations and charter-flights (over a million passengers per year). Reus 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.

Food and drink outlets[edit]

Tarragona contains a number of small bars, restaurants, and cafes serving tapas and sandwiches, and local seafood and Catalan dishes. Many such outlets are found in the historic centre, including those at the Plaça de la Font, Plaça del Rei and Plaça del Fòrum. The neighbourhood of El Serrallo, at the harbour, specialises in seafood cuisine.

Climate[edit]

Tarragona has a Mediterranean climate (Csa) with mildly cool winters and warm summers. Autumn and spring tend to be the wettest time of the year, whilst winter and summer have relatively drier days.

Climate data for Reus Airport (between Reus - 3 km (1.86 mi) and Tarragona - 7 km (4.35 mi))
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13.8
(56.8)
15.0
(59)
16.7
(62.1)
18.4
(65.1)
21.5
(70.7)
25.4
(77.7)
28.7
(83.7)
28.8
(83.8)
25.9
(78.6)
21.7
(71.1)
17.2
(63)
14.7
(58.5)
20.7
(69.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.9
(48)
10.1
(50.2)
11.6
(52.9)
13.4
(56.1)
16.7
(62.1)
20.6
(69.1)
23.7
(74.7)
24.0
(75.2)
21.2
(70.2)
17.0
(62.6)
12.4
(54.3)
10.0
(50)
15.8
(60.4)
Average low °C (°F) 4.0
(39.2)
5.1
(41.2)
6.6
(43.9)
8.4
(47.1)
11.9
(53.4)
15.7
(60.3)
18.6
(65.5)
19.3
(66.7)
16.5
(61.7)
12.3
(54.1)
7.6
(45.7)
5.2
(41.4)
10.9
(51.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 38
(1.5)
23
(0.91)
35
(1.38)
40
(1.57)
60
(2.36)
38
(1.5)
15
(0.59)
51
(2.01)
77
(3.03)
65
(2.56)
49
(1.93)
40
(1.57)
504
(19.84)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 4 3 4 6 6 4 2 4 5 5 4 4 51
Mean monthly sunshine hours 160 164 199 223 243 264 308 264 201 184 160 138 2,509
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[16]

Events[edit]

Carrer Major during Santa Tecla Festival.
Torre dels Escipions.

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

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Tarragona is twinned with:

Tarragona had partnerships with:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Ptolemy, ii. 6. § 17
  2. ^ Silvia Orvietani Busch (2001). Medieval Mediterranean Ports: The Catalan and Tuscan Coasts, 1100 to 1235. BRILL. p. 53. ISBN 90-04-12069-6. 
  3. ^ (Auson. Class. Urb. 9; cf. Mart. x. 104.)
  4. ^ (Mela, ii. 6; Plin. iii. 3. s. 4.)
  5. ^ (xxii. 22)
  6. ^ (ap. Strabo iii. p. 159)
  7. ^ (ap. Strab. l. c.; Polyb. iii. 76)
  8. ^ (Ford's Handbook of Spain, p. 222.)
  9. ^ (Itin. Ant. pp. 391, 396, 399, 448, 452.)
  10. ^ Pliny l. c.; Tacitus Ann. i. 78; Gaius Julius Solinus 23, 26; Polybius x. 34; Livy xxi. 61; Stephanus of Byzantium p. 637.
  11. ^ (Grut. Inscr. p. 382; Orelli, no. 3127; coins in Eckhel, i. p. 27; Florez, Med. ii. p. 579; Théodore Edme Mionnet, i. p. 51, Suppl. i. p. 104; Sestini, p. 202.)
  12. ^ a b (l. c.)
  13. ^ (Mart. x. 104, xiii. 118; Sil. Ital. iii. 369, xv. 177; Plin. xiv. 6. s. 8, xix. 1. s. 2.)
  14. ^ (Cf. Ford, Handbook, p. 219, seq.; Florez, Esp. Sagr. xxix. p. 68, seq.; Miñano, Diccion. viii. p. 398.)
  15. ^ Comisión de Antigüedades de la Real Academia de la Historia: catálogo e índices, Cataluña. Page 256. Published in Spanish, 2000.
  16. ^ "Valores Climatológicos Normales. Tarragona - Reús / Aeropuerto". 
  17. ^ "Jumelages et Relations Internationales - Avignon". Avignon.fr (in French). Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  18. ^ "Atlas français de la coopération décentralisée et des autres actions extérieures". Ministère des affaires étrangères (in French). Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  19. ^ "45 ans de jumelage : Histoire de cités Le jumelage à Voiron" [45 years of twinning: The history of Voiron's twin towns]. Voiron Hôtel de Ville [Voiron council] (in French). Archived from the original on 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  20. ^ "Tarragone (Espagne) : une ville amie Des liens noués autour de la Chartreuse" [Tarragona, Spain: Friendship town of Voiron]. Voiron Hôtel de Ville [Voiron council] (in French). Retrieved 2013-09-04. 

External links[edit]