In the year 2000 it was declared World Heritage by UNESCO. It is worth highlighting the spectacular amphitheatre (2nd century), where gladiator fights were held, the forum of the colony (1st century B.C.), the Roman walls and the Early Christian necropolis.
In the year 2000, the Roman heritage of Tarragona and its surrounding area was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in recognition of its historical, architectural, artistic and archaeological value. The itinerary of discovery of this exceptional complex may be started from the city’s historic centre.
First we will be entering the spectacular amphitheatre that dates back to the 2nd century, and which was the scene of gladiator fights, with a capacity of 14,000 people. The great interior arches, the stands and the arena, where the representations took place stand out in this building, which has the Mediterranean Sea in the background. In this latter part of the amphitheatre the remains of a Visigoth basilica can be seen.
Nearby is the circus, which hosted horse and carriage racing events, and could accommodate about 30,000 spectators. Part of the stands, the underground passageways and rooms are preserved. The circus is connected to the Praetorian tower, through which one would arrive to the representations’ square of the provincial forum, of which parts remain in the Forum, Pallol and Rey squares.
We continue our journey with the colonial or local forum, built in the first century B.C., of which a portion has been restored to provide a better understanding of the archaeological site. More modest are the remains of the theatre, which cannot be visited yet, although its restoration has been planned.
We can then visit the Roman walls, by strolling along a nice archaeological plant-lined walkway. These impressive walls are an excellent example of the integration of Roman monuments into the city throughout history: next to the Roman walls we can find other military infrastructures that have been built in later centuries.
The last stop of the proposed route is the Paleo-Christian necropolis and its annexed museum. With more than 2,000 tombs found so far, it is one of the most important funeral compounds of the late Roman civilization.
In order to continue the visit of the monument, we will have to move outside the town centre. The aqueduct, known as the Puente del Diablo, is in an excellent state of preservation.
More secluded and enigmatic, despite the proximity to the AP-7 motorway, is the Mèdol Quarry, an expressive area from where over 50,000 cubic metres of stone have been removed. Of particular importance is the Mèdol Spire and the walls marked by the works of Roman workers.
Near another road, the N-340, is the Scipio tower, Tarragona’s most famous tomb. Despite of its name, no member of the Scipio family is buried there.
Outside the municipality of Tarragona, we can visit the Berà Arch (in Roda de Barà), the Roman villa and the Centcelles Mausoleum (in Constantí) and the Roman villa of Els Munts (in Altafulla).