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Tarragona Mini Guide
Tarragona, the 'Balcony of the Mediterranean', is one of Spain's oldest cities and one of the best situated, a mighty rampart of a town nearly 200ft above the sea. The Iberians fortified it so well that many of the later Roman and medieval buildings, as if shedding old skins, rise from bases of their huge, rough-hewn blocks.
The Romans were quite fond of Tarraco, as they called it, and lavished on it the entire province of Tarraconensis, or Hispania Citerior.
Over the years, they made it the most elegant city on the Iberian peninsula; the poets Martial and Pliny praised its superb climate, fertile fields and delicious wines.
Augustus relaxed there after his 26 BC campaign in the north of Spain. By the 2nd century AD it had 30,000 inhabitants.
Legend has it that St Paul preached in Tarragona. The Visigoths made it one of Spain's leading bishoprics in the 5th century; St Hermenegild, a Visigoth prince who converted to Catholicism, led the city in a revolt against the Arian heresies of his father King Leovigild, who had him martyred.
Under Moorish rule, Tarragona is said to have been almost entirely Jewish; when it was retaken by Ram6n Berenguer IV, the new cathedral was built by Jewish architects.
After peaking in the 14th century, the city declined into a backwater. The modern city has spread far beyond the hilltop walled enclosure, owing its revival to the popularity of wine and the Costa Daurada.
Tarragona is linked frequently to Barcelona
and Valencia by rail, and to Zaragoza, Madrid and L1eida several times a day. The RENFE station is just below the Balco del Mediterrani.
The bus terminal is at Rambla Nova 40. Buses depart from the vicinity of the Pia Ponent, near the Municipal Forum.
For the Aqueduct, take the El Salvador bus (every 20 mins from Prat de La Riba). Nearly any bus going up the coast will let you off at Tamarit Castle and beach.
- From the 20th to the 28th April, San Jorge de Montblanc hosts a Medieval Week where the town is bedecked as a 14th century town. Everyone dresses up for games, competitions and tournaments and there are street markets, medieval dinners and more to entertain you.