Thursday, January 19, 2012


As you may know, the Romans conquered and ruled much of Europe. One of the first places they did this at in Spain was the city they called Tarraco. Now known as Tarragona, it is a major sight of Roman ruins. Still remaining are a theatre where the Romans would have small gladiator fights, as well as man versus lion fights. (Something I am becoming all too familiar with at this moment as I battle a feline for the use of my laptop.) There are some remains of a Circo (mostly turned into the walls of more modern housing now), where the chariots would have been raced.

 Inside of one of the ancient walls, where they are still in the process of excavating and preserving the Roman structures, this well and other antiquated structures stood. Inside the same structure, there was a miniaturized version of what the city might have looked like at the peak of the Roman empire.

A miniaturized version of the theatre

 We walked past some of the old walls, of which few are still freestanding.

 There were many preserved and restored statues along the path. Roman art was among the first to depict complex motion and depth. I have always loved the realism in the posture of statues like this.
 Also among the ruins were some cannons and battle stations. As this part of the city was at the top of a hill, it would be the ideal place from which to defend the city.
A Roman fountain

 The view from atop the hill was impressive. Spanish landscapes are so beautiful. I absolutely adore the color of earth here. At home, our soil is a dingy red-brown. Here is is a lively array of golden-brown.

 Statues of this kind are very common among Roman ruins. The story is from Roman mythology, but is similar to what we know as "The Jungle Book" in the States.
 The Romans were in part so successful because of their ability to transport water anywhere they needed it. Aqueducts outside of the city to bring water from long distances, and these small canals inside the city.

It is amazing to me that so much of these buildings still remains after so long of a time. The durability of these natural materials is incredible, and yet they were so easily manipulated and moved in order to construct the ancient buildings.

This is one end of the Circo. From this angle, the remaining bleachers are visible. Now houses and apartments stand where horses once pulled Romans in carts around the great, long, chariot race course.

Underneath the race track were these vast tunnels. Rather than have exterior entrances, it was easier to curb traffic to have these access tunnels directly beteath the Circo. Now crumbling with age, these tunnels were once the way for fans to get to their seats at the chariot race!

Here we see what remain of the stairs that lead down from the street into the access tunnels.
The ruins of the Circo are quite minute, but incredible to view in person.
The Theatre was so well preserved, I just could not believe it! The audience once perfectly incircled this monumental stadium to observe as man fought man or fought beast.

The structure at the far end was a church built in the Gothic era, when Christians were replacing Roman ruins with Catholic places of worship. The church was built in the shape of a cross, which is easy to make out in the rubble. However, in some conflict along the way, the church too became just a ruin among the Roman structures.

The Cathedral in Tarragona is most beautiful on the outside. Unfortunately, we were not there during its visiting hours.
This fountain out front of the Cathedral caught my eye. It too seems to eek an ancient aura, but I could not find a sign about it.
My adoration of European streets and city scapes is surely aparent in these posts, but my camera cannot do justice to the pure beauty of narrow cobblestone lanes. The most touristy areas are always where the big streets are because all of the big shops fit there, but it is so worth it to wander off of the beaten path and find these precious sights.

I adore fountains, I suppose for the decorations and the flowing water. This one was near where our bus was to pick us up from. It is more modern, for certain, but there is a simple kind of beauty in modern structures.

Tarragona is worth a day-trip. Perhaps more, if you enjoy simply wandering through windy streets and trying delightfully flavored Chocolate caliente at the local cafetería. Of course, there are sights that are much richer in Roman and other ancient ruins, but not many so close to Barcelona. On the way out of town, I spotted the remains of the aqueducts. My eye is quicker than my camera, though. They are immense and terrifying structures. How amazing is it that so much water could be moved along the tops of stone structures?

This weekend I am going to a Salsa club with mis amigas. There may not be photos, but I will tell you all of the delights of dancing in this mediterranian city.