The roman footprint in Tarragona | Cultural Heritage. Goverment of Catalonia.


Amfiteatre de Tarraco  (Josep Giribert) / Necròpolis paleocristiana / Arc de Barà (Josep Giribert)

Route map

The roman footprint in Tarragona

An outstanding historic location, declared World Heritage by UNESCO
Tarragona was one of the main cultural, political and military centres of the Roman Empire on the Iberian Peninsula and it was the capital of the province, first of Hispania Citerior, or 'Nearer Iberia' and then of Hispania Tarraconensis.

In 2000 the large group of archaeological remains of the Roman city of Tarraco, present-day Tarragona, was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO on account of its size, and the density and quality of the remains, which are now recognised as being of incomparable and universal value. They include numerous buildings dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 6th century CE and they are in very good condition.

You could start your tour by visiting the three buildings intended for putting on a show: the theatre, the forum and the amphitheatre, the latter being the most iconic of the three. It was located outside the city walls, near the Via Augusta and the beach, where the animals that were to take part in the entertainments were unloaded. It was the site for gladiatorial combat and battles with wild animals, as well as for public executions.

The early Christian necropolis is bordered by Avinguda de Ramon i Cajal, Avinguda de la Independència, the Fàbrica de Tabacs and Avinguda del Cardenal Vidal i Barraquer. It is one of the most extensive and important burial grounds in Tarraco and, with more than 2,000 tombs, is considered to be one of the largest and most important cemeteries in the western Roman Empire.

After visiting the sites within the city of Tarragona itself, you could take a 6 km trip to Constantí to visit the Centcelles Roman villa, a building of key importance in early Christian art. One of the rooms contains a dome mosaic, in exceptionally good condition, on a Christian theme. It is the oldest in the Roman world.

In Altafulla, just 20 minutes by car from Centcelles, you could finish your tour by visiting the Dels Munts Roman villa, the remains of what was once a large residential complex. It was one of the most important ones in its category on the Iberian Peninsula and it is an example of the kind of residence a high-ranking official in Tarraco would have expected to have.

If you would like to find out more about the history of Tarraco, pay a visit also to the Museu Nacional Arqueològic in Tarragona, the most important Museum for the conservation and dissemination of Tarragona's Roman heritage, and of key importance for understanding our history. You might also like to visit the Arc de Barà and the Torre dels Escipions.

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