Iberia enters written records as a land populated largely by the Iberians, Basques and Celts. Early on its coastal areas were settled by Phoenicians who founded Western Europe’s most ancient cities Cadiz and Malaga. Phoenician influence expanded as much of the Peninsula was eventually incorporated into the Carthaginian Empire, becoming a major theatre of the Punic Wars against the expanding Roman Empire. After an arduous conquest, the peninsula came fully under Roman Rule.
During the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule but later, much of it was conquered by Moorish invaders from North Africa. In a process that took centuries, the small Christian kingdoms in the north gradually regained control of the peninsula. The last Moorish kingdom fell in the same year Columbus reached the Americas. A global empire began which saw Spain become the strongest kingdom in Europe, the leading world power for a century and a half, and the largest overseas empire for three centuries.
Continued wars and other problems eventually led to a diminished status. The Napoleonic invasions of Spain led to chaos, triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire and left the country politically unstable.
Prior to the Second World War, Spain suffered a devastating civil war and came under the rule of an authoritarian government, which oversaw a period of stagnation that was followed by a surge in the growth of the economy.
Eventually democracy was peacefully restored in the form of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Spain joined the European Union, experiencing a cultural renaissance and steady economic growth until the beginning of the 21st century, that started a new globalised world with economic and ecological challenges.
The spectacular beaches in areas such as the Costa Brava, its world-class gastronomy, the works of famous artists such as Gaudí and Dalí , its great variety of museums, and its UNESCO World Heritage sites, all make this region one of Spain’s most popular destinations.
A trip around Catalonia is full of surprises. Although it is almost impossible to discover them all, you can have many!
Strolling through the most Roman of all Catalan cities, visitors might feel nostalgic for times when Tarraco (the original Roman name of Tarragona) was capital and home to half Hispania. But this sensation does not last long when you discover the rich medieval and modern heritage, the magnificent beaches and the wide range of recreational, cultural, festive and gastro activities in Tarragona .
Top Tarragona Sights
City of Human Towers
The castles —the human tower constructions— originated in Tarragona and in Penedès and their origin comes from Valencian dances. Tarragona lives and breathes the tower building spirit and ambience like never before.
To build human towers everyone is needed and in the right place, from the oldest to the youngest. If one is missing, it doesn’t get built, …………without bravery, neither
Built on 12th-14th century, in the highest point of the capital, in the same site where there was once an ancient Roman temple dedicated to the imperial cult.
Building that held fights between gladiators (2nd century), over which the Visigoth basilica was built (6th century) as well as a Romanesque church (12th century).
Balco del Mediterrani
The “balcony to the Mediterranean” a splendid viewpoint open to the sea over the beach.
Plaça de la Font, Plaça del Fòrum, Plaça del Rei
The modern city coexists with its imperial past, enjoy its terraces full of life in a unique environment and surrounded by history.
Praetorium and Roman Circus
Roman tower at the Provincial Forum square (1st century) transformed into a royal palace (14th century). Roman Circus Building used to hold horse and chariot races (1st century).
Are renowned for their extremely fine, golden sand, with a very mild slope which allows walking in the water or swimming as from 200 m from the beach line. Its privileged geographic location allows enjoying a mild climate throughout the year.
The typical fishing neighborhood, with its own personality where one can taste the fresh fish and seafood in its charming restaurants.
This is the true World Heritage of Tarragona!
It is a heritage made up of monuments that take us back to Roman, medieval, modern and modernist eras; but it is also a heritage made of people, of human stories and histories, of small moments, of emotions and feelings…
A city full of surprises with thousands of years of civilization just waiting to be discovered.
Tarragona, Living History.!