From the World Heritage inscription for Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco:
Tárraco (modern-day Tarragona) was a major administrative and mercantile city in Roman Spain and the center of the Imperial cult for all the Iberian provinces. It was endowed with many fine buildings, and parts of these have been revealed in a series of exceptional excavations. Although most of the remains are fragmentary, many preserved beneath more recent buildings, they present a vivid picture of the grandeur of this Roman provincial capital.
The Roman remains of Tárraco are of exceptional importance in the development of Roman urban planning and design and served as the model for provincial capitals elsewhere in the Roman world. Tárraco provides eloquent testimony to a significant stage in the history of the Mediterranean lands in antiquity.
If you drove through the city of Tarragona you might not think it was anything special, even if you saw the Roman ruins in the middle of town. However, this was one the Roman capital of the entire Iberian peninsula. Julius Caesar, Augustus, Pompey, and Hannibal all visited here. As Roman ruins go, Tarraco isn’t the greatest in the world. What is lacks in the spectacular ruins it more than makes up in history. The ruins of Tarraco are an easy one hour drive from Barcelona by car.
The Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco is a cultural site recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain. It was added into the list in 2000. This archaeological site is located in what is now the modern day Tarragona. This site features archaeological monuments from the first and oldest Roman settlement along the Iberian Peninsula. This was used as base by the Roman conquest that enabled them to conquer the rest of the island’s interior.
The city of Tarragona, which was the site of the Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco, is built on three terraces. The archaeological monuments that were built by the Romans showcase how the earlier conquests adapted to its environment. These monuments were constructed during the 3rd century BC.
About the Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco
There are several components that make up the Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco. The site consists of the following monuments:
Wall of Tarragona: The Wall of Tarragona is one of the sites belonging to the Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco. It is also a Spanish Property of Cultural Interest, which was designated as a non-movable monument in 1884. The Roman Walls are one of the best reminders of the rich Roman heritage in the city.
Provincial Forum of Tarraco: This is another Roman archaeological site in Tarragona. This site encompasses 18 hectares of land area. This forum was built in 73 AD as commissioned by Emperor Vespasian. The forum remained in use until the 5th century. The Provincial Forum of Tarraco consists of many buildings such as the provincial council, state treasure, curia, audience hall, and the temple of the Imperial worship.
The Circus of Tarraco: The Circus of Tarraco is an open air and underground ruins from the Roman Empire in the province of Tarragona. It was built in the 1st century CE circus and tower. This site is a notable entry into the list of Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco because of its architectural achievements but due to its place in the city.
Colonial Forum of Tarraco: The Roman colonial forum in Tarraco is one of the best examples of the Roman heritage in the city.
Roman Theatre of Tarraco: This is a Roman theater that was built in Tarraco during the time of Augustus. The theater was built on a hill wherein the builders took advantage to use the slope to build part of the theater seating. By the 20th century, majority of the theater have been destroyed. However, the three fundamental parts of the Roman Theater has remained intact.
Tarragona Ampitheater: This amphitheater was built on the former Roman city of Tarragona. The amphitheater is one of the most important monuments that consist the Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco recognized by UNESCO. This amphitheater was built in the 2nd century AD and is located close to the Roman forums in the city.
Les Ferreres Aqueduct: The Les Ferreres Aqueduct is an ancient bridge that forms part of the Roman aqueduct that was built to supply water to Tarraco. This site is also known as Pont del Diable. This part of the aqueduct is made up of two levels of arches: the upper and lower section.
Arc de Bera: This triumphal arch was built following the result of the will of Lucius Licinius Sura. This arch was erected during the time of Augustus’ reign in 13 BCE.
The other monuments that are included in the Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco are as follows: Roman Villa of Centcelles, Ville dels Munts, Torre dels Escipions, and Early Christian cemetery.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain.
View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.