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9 curiosities about the culture and heritage of Tarragona

3 February, 2023

Tarragona it is heritage, culture, gastronomy and much more. A city that you cannot miss when planning your next trip. The Amphitheater, the Roman Circus or the Pont del Diable are some of the must-see monuments in the city, combined with a walk through the fishing quarter and the historic center.

But do you want to know more about Tarragona? Would you like your experience to be even better?

Delve into this article and discover curiosities of Tarragona that you may not have known.


Nearly 14.000 spectators at the Tarragona Amphitheater

The Roman Amphitheater of Tarragona It is one of the jewels of the city. Did you know that it had a capacity for about 14.000 spectators? A figure similar to that of new stadium, the soccer field Nastic of Tarragona.

The fight between gladiators it was melee and they were watched by a referee. Curiously, the loser had to request forgiveness. If he was granted, he was still alive, but otherwise he was executed. Although in the cinema they have shown it to us in other ways, on many occasions they were pardoned.

Near the sea, this monumental space was built to facilitate the landing of the wild beasts on Miracle beach who arrived in Tarraco by boat. Later they went up to the arena with a forklift.

A 325 meter long circus

El Tarragona circus It could accommodate up to 30.000 spectators and was about 325 meters long.

It had a large long track with spectators on both sides. As is known, generally Tarraco bigas competed, carriages with two horses, although sometimes also four. The races could last up to a whole day.

Do you know that some of the charioteers who drove the chariots became very famous and recognized and had groups of followers? He charioteer Eutyches He was one of those popular heroes, who died at the age of 22 due to fever, and his tombstone is preserved in the Diocesan Museum of Tarragona.

As if it were a Formula 1 circuit, inside the enclosure there were taverns and even betting places.

El Serrallo, the seaside neighborhood par excellence

El seraglio It is one of the most picturesque and charismatic places in Tarragona. He seaside neighborhood par excellence It allows you to visualize walls painted with illustrations that show the characteristics of this much-loved space.

In the Seraglio is the Royal Yacht Club of Tarragona. We are talking about the oldest in the Spanish State, founded in 1878.

We must not forget another of the emblems of the Seraglio and Tarragona: the port clock. Located on Paseo de la Escullera, it is one of the symbols of the city. As a curiosity, it stands out that it has the shape of a temple, since this way the fishermen, fishermen and other workers could appreciate the time more easily. In its beginning it served to show the schedule of the working day.

The Rock Amparito in the Carillon of the Central Market

Do you know the Rock Amparito? We could say that it is the anthem par excellence of the Festivities of Santa Tecla. Imagine an even better situation, mixing the festive procession and the song in the carillon of the Central Market of Tarragona. The figures of the festive elements come out every day at 12 and 18 hours to the rhythm of the emblematic piece.

An unfinished Cathedral?

La Tarragona Cathedral bears a similarity to the Holy Family of Barcelona: both are incomplete. The bubonic plague it reached the city, killing part of the population, so the Cathedral was left without manpower and funding.

Before the Cathedral, a temple was built in memory of the Roman emperor César Augusto. Subsequently, its current construction began in the middle of the 1331th century and it was consecrated in XNUMX. The Cathedral of Tarragona is one of the symbols of the city.

Its bell tower is 70 meters high and has 19 bells. The biggest is called capona. She plays every hour and announces the prayer, with a sound that is heard from all over the city. Also, the bells ring on the hour and again at 2 minutes.

The Arm of Santa Tecla

Every September 23 the relic of the arm of Santa Tecla takes much of the leading role of the day, when it comes out in procession through the Part Alta, the historic center of Tarragona, accompanied by all the People's Entourage. But where does this relic come from?

It was the year 1321 and Santa Tecla was already patron saint of Tarragona. The Cathedral was almost finished, but the city still did not have any relics of the saint.

Thecla's remains rested in distant lands. She was born in Iconia, in southern Turkey, and was buried in Malula, in present-day western Syria. An expedition left Tarragona to cross the Mediterranean with the mission of convincing the King Onsino of Armenia to agree to an exchange.

From that trip came the relic that every September 23 lights the city with fire, music and party.

Sant Magí and the Brufaganya

In the Tarragona Cart Portal there is a chapel dedicated to Sant Magí, patron saint of Tarragona. Do you know the legend?

Sant Magí was a hermit from Tarragona who lived in a cave in the Brufaganya, near the city. By the time the Emperor Dacian he ordered all the Christians to be sacrificed, he tried to flee, with such bad luck that the soldiers found him.

In good faith, Sant Magí gave water to some soldiers dying of thirst by hitting the ground three times with his staff and making three puddles of water appear. The legend says that at that moment the Gaià river appeared. Right after, the soldiers killed him.

To keep this feat alive, year after year, every August 18 the so-called Racks of the water, thousands of liters of water go down from Brufaganya to Tarragona. The descent of the water is carried out with carts drawn by horses.

Culture in the city. A tapestry by Joan Miró

Tarragona is also the city of modern and contemporary art, with renowned works such as the Joan Miro tapestry. It is a tapestry that the artist made from a drawing, together with joseph royo.

In 1966, the artist's daughter, Maria Dolors, suffered a serious accident in Mont-roig del Camp. She was treated at the Monegal Clinic of Tarragona by Dr. Rafael Orozco until his recovery and, as a token of gratitude, Miró gave the tapestry to the Tarragona Red Cross Hospital.

The Red Cross currently retains ownership of the tapestry, but has given it as a deposit to the Diputació de Tarragona. The tapestry can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art, where you can also see a wide variety of works by various artists from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXst century, such as the legacy of the sculptor Julio Antonio. In addition, there are several permanent exhibitions and other temporary ones that you cannot miss.

The oldest trade in Tarragona

walking through the haberdashery street (historic center) you will come across a small business that attracts attention at number 17. It is Cal Corderet, the oldest store in Tarragona, opened in 1751, and a historic building. The stones that cover the lower part of the façade maintain up to four Roman inscriptions.

Its characteristic smell and its entrance seduce from the first moment. It has more than 260 years of history. It continues to this day as a industry producing candles, tapers and natural and manufactured incense. Undoubtedly, a claim for the people of Tarragona and tourists.

The history of trade is appreciated from the outside. Your showcase serves as candle show and its decoration is also original. In fact, the shelves on the walls of the store are more than two and a half centuries old. And that's not all, they hide a secret door that, at the time, was used to access the basement of the house. Several neighbors had hidden here during the French War and the Civil War. They were also used to store soda soap that was made manually.