The visible trace of the medieval architecture of Tarragona

The traveler who thinks of the city of Tarragona probably only has Roman Tarraco in mind, but We are going to see below the importance of medieval architecture in Tarragona. We invite you to take a tour of the most representative buildings of the Middle Ages in this beautiful town.

If we talk about the city of Tarraco, we go back 2000 years ago, to one of the capitals of the most important provinces of Roman Hispania, the Tarraconensis province.. When the visitor walks through this city bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, he finds history in every corner, in every square, and even in the viewpoints that overlook the sea.

In Tarragona, we can still see remains of that city through its amphitheater, theater, circus, aqueduct, walls or Roman forum. And of course, the traveler cannot miss the remains that are in the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona for a complete visit.

Examples of medieval architecture in Tarragona

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the world changed and was transformed. This process is also felt in the formation of cities. Medieval architecture in Tarragona during the 13th and 14th centuries made the city adorn itself with buildings of great importance, and that today can still be seen in the city.

A detail that the traveler will notice in many of the buildings that he visits in Tarragona is that the city is based on Roman architecture, and this base is what serves as the seed for medieval architecture. Many of the foundations of medieval buildings are actually the foundations of Roman buildings.

The King’s Castle

On the foundations of an ancient Roman tower, a family of Norman nobles built the so-called Castle of the King in the 12th century, where the kings of Aragon lived. The King’s Castle was formerly the Roman Praetorium, the Palace of Augustus or the Tower of Pilate. During the 17th century, it was used as a weapons depot, barracks and even a prison.

In the War of Independence (1813), this building was largely destroyed; after a tough restoration, it became a prison again until the mid-fifties of the last century.

The King’s Castle It is a beautiful building that preserves constructive elements from all eras., Roman foundations and ashlars, 14th century windows and even a Gothic room. Currently, it is the Museum of the History of the city of Tarragona.

Tarragona Cathedral

Another example of a building located on ancient Roman ruins, specifically on a temple probably dedicated to Emperor Augustus, is the Tarragona Cathedral. It is located in the highest area of ​​the historic center.

Although the building construction began in the middle of the 12th century, it was not consecrated until the 14th centuryand for this reason we can see different styles of architecture: Romanesque and Gothic on the outside and Renaissance and even Baroque on the inside.

On its façade, we can see a scene of the final judgment. Inside, meanwhile, we highlight the narration of the life of Santa Tecla, patron saint of the city of Tarragona. You can not leave the visit of the Cathedral without taking a walk through its cloister or climbing its bell tower, from where there are magnificent views of the city of Tarragona.

Seu Square

This square is located next to the Cathedral, and in it we can see what was the essence of the city medieval, with many of the buildings that belonged to noble families. These are several Gothic houses, including the old vicarage and Casa Balcells, which has an interior patio with arches and beams that still retain their original colours.

Mercerias Street

Mercerías street is one of the best preserved in the medieval quarter of Tarragona. Its porticoed structure stands out in perfect condition, today full of small shops that preserve the charm of the medieval markets that were held here in the 14th century.

medieval hospital

In the surroundings of the Cathedral, we find the Medieval Hospital, known as the Hospital of San Pablo and Santa Tecla. It was built in the 12th century and only the façade remains, which has a porch with five arches semicircular arches that are supported by pillars with columns attached to the main facade and two smaller arches that are supported by the side facade.

Nearby we have the Romanesque chapel of Sant Pau from the 13th centurywhich is also a visit for travelers to discover the medieval architecture of Tarragona.

We cannot finish without knowing the idea of ​​the Medieval City Museum. This is a very interesting pedagogical and informative initiative for schoolchildren from 7 to 15 years old. Hand in hand with a foundation, they will get closer to medieval Tarragona and will be able to spread their knowledge to their relatives. This information will not fall on deaf ears, because it will make many visitors know and enjoy it.

Definitely, strolling through the streets of the historic center of Tarragona is to get lost in the past of its medieval architecture. Undoubtedly, a magnificent option to enjoy a unique setting steeped in history in a city that has been a World Heritage Site since 2000.

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