Tarraco, the Great Roman City of Hispania

Nowadays we know it as Tarragona, but in the 3rd century B.C. it was the great Tarraco. This ancient Roman city became one of the most important cities of Hispania during the Roman Empire. Its magnificence amazes many people to this day. The archaeological site of Tarraco was declared a World Heritage site in 2000. It is also the oldest Roman settlement in the Iberian Peninsula.

The ancient city of Tarraco deserves a route for its most emblematic points. A trip to the past that includes the Roman Forum, the Circus and the Amphitheater with its sea views. A walk along the Roman wall of Tarragona will transport us through the more than two thousand years of history with which the city has. The ancient Tarraco, founded by the Romans, retains much of its splendor.  If we look closely, we can still find some inscriptions in Latin and Phoenician in the stones at the houses.

Catedral de Tarragona

The archaeological complex that Tarraco has left us is made up of great ruins in very good condition. An essential stop is the Roman wall aka the “Muralla Romana,” a military fence that surrounds the old town. Although it used to reached 4 kilometers long, we’ve maintained slightly more than 1 kilometer. It has become one of the most characteristic symbols of Tarragona.

As if we were an inhabitant of Tarraco drinking in its grandeur, the old center of the city envelops us with its magic. We can not fail to see the Cathedral of Tarragona, in early Gothic style. It is located in the highest part of the city.

We then reach the center of activity in Tarraco, the Roman Forum, which housed the administrative, cultural and religious buildings of the city.

Pretorio romano

The ruins of the Roman circus make us imagine the many horse races that they cheered on from the stands. It was built at the end of the 1st century A.D., and it is located in the city center. It is believed that this helped it become one of the best preserved in the world, and it provides an opportunity to learn more about the history of Rome.  Under the ground, we have the underground vaults of the Roman Circus, which support the stands, perfect for discovering Tarraco from the inside.

Anfiteatro romano

The last stop on this route through the great Roman city of Tarraco ends at the Roman amphitheater, another building where the spectacles of the time took place. Built on a funerary area, there were gladiator and animal fights, athletic exhibits, hunting… To protect the spectators from the sun, a huge tent was sometimes put over the amphitheater. Located by the sea, this route ends with beautiful views of the coast of Tarragona.

Do you want to know a little more?

El Puente del Diablo

On the outskirts of Tarragona you will find the Devil’s Bridge, aka the “Puente del Diablo.” It is a Roman series of aprovided water trches that forms part of the aqueduct that, from the river Francolí, provided water to the city of Tarraco. It is also a World Heritage site.

Do you want to join this route through the ancient Tarraco (Tarragona)?

If you liked this walk through Tarraco, the great Roman city of Hispania, take advantage of this tour through Tarragona from June to December on the weekends. It starts at 11:00am and lasts approximately two hours. It is ESSENTIAL to join this tour for “La Tarragona Romana” at this link; Otherwise you won’t be able to do it. The tour will be led by an expert local guide.

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