One hour journey from Sants station Barcelona brought me to my destination. I disembarked the train and started to climb up the walking path. After 7 minutes this sight was there. One of the well-preserved Roman amphitheatres outside Italy. Welcome to Tarragona, formerly known as Tárraco, capital of the province Hispania Tarraconensis under the mighty Roman Empire.
This impressive Amphitheatre built in 2nd century was the venue for Gladiator fights and other events with estimated capacity of 14.000 spectators.
In front of the Amphitheatre is the access to Praetorium and Roman circus. The painting on the wall illustrates how gigantic this edifice was then. Built in the 1st century it has an elongated structure measuring 325 by 115 metres, its original capacity has been estimated at 30,000 spectators.
Can you spot the tower and the Cathedral from afar? The circus reached from where I took this picture up until where the Cathedral stands. That is the peak of the hill. During the Roman era there stood the Roman temple as the centre of the city.
The circus was the arena of horses and chariot races. Impressive labyrinths are silent witness of all that glory.
Husband caught me wondering how it must have been there. I had several thoughts and questions: Was it enough light for both people and horses? How did it smell? Were there women and children allowed in the labyrinth?
Some of the original structure remains hidden under old 19th-century buildings. Above this is the famous Plaça de la Font, downtown.
I bought a ticket for the Archeological Promenade. This passe-partout allows entrance in The Praetorium and the Circus, The Wall, The Amphitheatre and The Forum if I’m not mistaken. The promenade covers the highlights of Roman traces in the city. It has been acknowledged since 2000 by Unesco as World Heritage under the name of Archaelogical Ensemble of Tárraco.
This city wall was built in the 1st century, protecting Tárraco from the enemies. Originally the wall was 3,5 km long, now it remains 1,1 km. Long enough to give visitors good impression how it was.
Salve Caesar! This Augustus in Prima Porta on the city wall is a reproduction of the original in Vatican. The great Roman Imperator had stayed in Tarraco from 26 to 25 BC.
These cannons were used during The Peninsula War in the 19th century.
Exploring the Roman archeological route reveals how well-developed the city was. Flourishing in commerce and protecting the coastline made Tárraco special. There is an annual Roman festival with re-enactments, Roman food and many more. I wish one day I would be able to attend.