We’re back home now, after a long day of travel followed by a day of unpacking and feeling out of sorts and off schedule.  That’s my excuse for the delay in posting about our Saturday trip to Tarragona.

Anyway, we spent the day with Jordi, a fellow language learner.  We met on italki and talk on skype, practicing English and Spanish.  Jordi met us at the Camp Tarragona train station and showed us around the city.  As you can see, the weather was iffy, alternating between pleasant and ugly.

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We even got to share a delicious lunch with Jordi and his wife, Gloria.  Like everyone we met in Spain, both are gracious hosts.  Thank you!

In Roman times Tarragona was known as Tarraco.  Here’s how it looked at its peak.

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Tarraco was an important Roman city, even hosting Augustus for a winter.  As such, it had all of the buildings you would expect.  A wall, of course, an aqueduct, amphitheater, circus, forum, etc.  We visited the aqueduct on the outskirts of town first.  It’s amazingly well preserved.

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I loved the shaped pin that holds the blocks in alignment, and walked out to the middle, mostly confident that the ancient structure was unlikely to fail at that particular moment after all these years.

Next, we visited the wall.  What’s interesting to me is the mix of ancient and recent in a city like Tarragona, and we encountered a great example of that before even exiting the underground parking.

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 Yes, the parking facility is built right around part of the ancient wall.  Many parts of the city are like that.  Jordi mentioned that there’s even a shopping mall where ruins were discovered during construction, and the mall was built around them, including areas devoted to displaying the excavated ruins.

Here are some more pics of the wall.

As you can see, over the years, other structures have been built next to, and even through the walls.

As usual, I love the details.

The town itself is beautiful.  It’s not crowded, and the pace seems even slower than Valencia.

Here’s a bit Taragona’s heritage expressed in sculpture.

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We went to the cathedral next, but I’m going to save that extraordinary place for another post.  Instead, here are pics of the amphitheater.

The steps lead down to the arena, and maybe for some, they were the among their last steps.

In the middle of the amphitheater are the remains of a Visigoth church, a much older example of the mixture of old and new in Tarragona.

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I’m sure it was much easier to recycle the stones from the amphitheater by building the church right in the arena.

Much of modern Tarragona covers the circus.  Chariots and horses would have used this tunnel.

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Here’s a view of the city from the ruins.

Next time we’ll visit the Tarragona cathedral, where a proud 92 year old church member gave us an impromptu tour.

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The church is absolutely full of the odd and unique stuff I love.