Discover Tarragona and Its Hinterland
05 April, 2017
Situated just under an hour and a half from Barcelona lies the city of Tarragona, its Roman and medieval past providing visitors with an amazing wealth of history and art. However, this cultural journey goes beyond the city limits – inland we find the three gems of the Cistercian route, as well as the landscapes that inspired such artists as Antoni Gaudí and Joan Miró. What more could you ask for?
Itinerary 1: the Roman Legacy
Tarraco – Roman Tarragona
What was once the capital of the province of Hispania Tarraconensis still preserves numerous vestiges of that splendid past. Designated a World Heritage Site in 2000, travellers to the city will be dazzled by the Roman wall, the provincial forum, the circus, amphitheatre and a host of remains awaiting them on their walks through ancient Tarraco. You can join a guided tour at Auriga Serveis Culturals so as not to miss any details of that legacy.
Roman Villa of Centcelles
Just six kilometres from Tarragona, in Constantí, lies the Roman villa of Centcelles, a landmark monument of palaeo-Christian art. One of the highlights of that site is the dome ornamented with a Christian-themed mosaic, one of the oldest surviving examples from the Roman world.
Roman Villa of Els Munts
Located in Altafulla, 12 kilometres from Tarragona, is the villa of Els Munts. It was apparently used for agricultural purposes and still displays constructions featuring richly decorated elements.
Itinerary 2: a Splendid Medieval Past
Jewels of the Cistercian Route
The three jewels that make up this magnificent route through Cistercian monasteries are the Monastery of Santes Creus, with its stunning chapterhouse and Gothic cloister, the Monastery of Vallbona, a 12th-century nunnery boasting a monumental church and cloister and – the most popular of all – the Monastery of Poblet, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its magnificent cloister and royal pantheon where King James I the Conqueror is buried, among others.
Montblanc – Medieval Spirit
Montblanc is one of the paramount medieval complexes in Catalonia, thanks to its excellent state of preservation. Make a point of exploring it and wandering through its streets, where you are sure to be transported to medieval times. Or, if you prefer, you can sign up for one of the routes organised by the Town Council, featuring options to suit all tastes.
Siurana – the Stuff of Legend
This village in the Priorat, which seems to have leaped out of some novel, was one of the last Moorish enclaves in Catalonia which managed to hold out and check the Christian advance. Turismo de Siurana offers dramatised guided tours highlighting stories, tales and legends about the area.
Discover the First Charterhouse on the Iberian Peninsula
Built in the 12th century in the Priorat county, the Carthusian Monastery of Escaladei is regarded as the earliest Carthusian monastery to emerge on the Iberian Peninsula. Those parts of the charterhouse currently open to the public include the three cloisters, church, refectory and a monk’s cell which has been reconstructed down to the last detail.
Itinerary 3: In the Footsteps of Miró and Gaudí
Mont-roig – Source of Inspiration for Joan Miró
Joan Miró first visited Mont-roig del Camp in 1911, when he was 18 years old. The landscape made such an impact on him that it became his habitual place of pilgrimage, a town he would return to time and again in search of peace and inspiration. Well worth visiting is the Centre Miró where you can acquire greater insight into the relationship between the artistic genius and the town and its surroundings.
Searching For the Origins of Gaudí
Just 18 kilometres from Tarragona lies the small town of Riudoms, site of the house where Antoni Gaudí was born. Open to the public, it reveals the origins of this unique artist and the environment which was to influence his work. Interesting, isn’t it?
Text by Agencia Catalana de Turismo
05 April, 2017