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Coordinates : 41°06'56.51”N 1°14'58.54”E? / ?41.1156972°N 1.2495944°E? / 41.1156972; 1.2495944
Autonomous Community Catalonia
Mayor Josep Felix Ballesteros (PSC)
Land Area 181.60 km2
Altitude 68 m AMSL
Population 155,563 (2009)
Density 1,511.40 hab./km2 (2009)
Native name Tarragona (Catalan)
Spanish name Tarragona
Founded 5th century BC
Time zone CET (GMT +1)
- summer CEST (GMT +2)
Postal code 43001 - 43008
Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
View of Roman Circus
State Party Spain
Criteria ii, iii
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription 2000 (24th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia and east of Spain, by the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragones. As of the 2009 census, the city had a population of 155,563, and the population of the entire urban area was estimated to be 675,921.
In Roman times, the city was named Tarraco (????????) and was capital of the province of Hispania Tarraconensis (after being capital of Hispania Citerior in the Republican era). The Roman colony founded at Tarraco had the full name of Colonia Iulia Urbs Triumphalis Tarraco.
Some experts suggest that the city was an Iberic town called Kesse or Kosse, derived of the iberic tribe of those region: the cosetians.Smith suggests that the city was probably founded by the Phoenicians, who called it 'Tarchon, which, according to Samuel Bochart, means a citadel. This name was probably derived from its situation on a high rock, between 700 and 800 feet above the sea; whence we find it characterised as arce potens Tarraco.  It was seated on the river Sulcis or Tulcis (modern Francolí), on a bay of the Mare Internum (Mediterranean Sea), between the Pyrenees and the river Iberus (modern Ebro).  Livy mentions a portus Tarraconis; and according to Eratosthenes it had a naval station or roads (???????µ??); but Artemidorus says with more probability that it had none, and scarcely even an anchoring place; and Strabo himself calls it ???µ????.
This answers better to its present condition; for though a mole was constructed in the 15th century with the materials of the ancient amphitheatre, and another subsequently by an Englishman named John Smith, it still affords but little protection for shipping. Tarraco lies on the main road along the south-eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.  It was fortified and much enlarged by the brothers Publius and Gnaeus Scipio, who converted it into a fortress and arsenal against the Carthagenians. Subsequently it became the capital of the province named after it, a Roman colony, and conventus juridicus.
Augustus wintered at Tarraco after his Cantabrian campaign, and bestowed many marks of honor on the city, among which were its honorary titles of Colonia Victrix Togata and Colonia Julia Victrix Tarraconensis. The city also minted coins.  According to Mela it was the richest town on that coast, and Strabo represents its population as equal to that of Carthago Nova (modern Cartagena). Its fertile plain and sunny shores are celebrated by Martial and other poets; and its neighborhood is described as producing good wine and flax.
There are still many important ancient remains at Tarragona. Part of the bases of large Cyclopean walls near the Cuartel de Pilatos are thought to pre-date the Romans. The building just mentioned, a prison in the 19th century, is said to have been the palace of Augustus. But Tarraco, like most other ancient towns which have continued to be inhabited, has been pulled to pieces by its own citizens for the purpose of obtaining building materials. The amphitheatre near the sea-shore has been used as a quarry, and but few vestiges of it now remain. A circus, 1500 feet long, was built over in the area now called Plaça de la Font, though portions of it are still to be traced. Throughout the town Latin, and even apparently Phoenician,
View of Gothic quarter and Cathedral of Tarragona.
inscriptions on the stones of the houses proclaim the desecration that has been perpetrated. Two ancient monuments, at some little distance from the town, have, however, fared rather better. The first of these is a magnificent aqueduct, which spans a valley about 4 km north of the city. It is 217 m in length, and the loftiest arches, of which there are two tiers, are 26 m high. There is a monument about 6 km along the coast road east of the city, commonly called the "Tower of the Scipios"; but there is no authority for assuming that they were buried here. 
The Roman Aqueduct
Entrance of the Tarragona Cathedral.
Main article: Aqüeducte de les Ferreres
In the forest a few kilometers north of the city, a Roman arch bridge carrying an aqueduct has been preserved. It is known locally as "Devil's Bridge" (El Pont del Diable in Catalan, or El Puente del Diablo in Spanish). 
Main article: Tarragona Amphitheatre
The Roman amphitheatre, next to the sea, was built in the second century.
Tarragona is home to a large port and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Much of its economic activity comes from a large number of chemical industries located in the city or in surrounding areas.
Tarragona tourist attractions include the Museum of Archaeology and the Roman ruins of Tarraco, which has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Tarragona has a wall surrounding the old city, too. There are two gates through the wall of Tarragona: the Portal del Roser and the Portal de Sant Antoni.
The main living heritage is the Popular Retinue -a great parade of dances, bestiary and spoken dances- and the human towers. They specially participate in Santa Tecla Festival. They are so popular in Tarragona and also in all Catalonia that they have got their own home. It is called "Casa de la Festa", Festivities House, where you can visit them all the year. 
A number of good beaches, some awarded a prestigious Blue Flag designation, line the Mediterranean coast near the city.
Tarragona is located near the holiday resort of Salou and the theme park Port Aventura, one of the largest in Europe.
The city is located few miles away from Reus Airport, which has many low-cost destinations and charter-flights (over a million passengers per year). Reus is the second city of Tarragona area (101,767 inhabitants in 2006), known by its commercial activity and for being the place were the architect Gaudi was born.
One of the most important and interesting carnivals in Catalonia, with one of the most complete ritual sequences of the Catalan carnivals, so local and so universal that this is the synthesis that makes it special. Official website
* Tarragona international dixieland festival.
The unique dixieland festival in Spain and one of the most important in Europe: 25 bands and 100 concerts and activities the week before Holy Week. Official website
* Tarraco Viva
One of the most important Roman re-creations of the world. A lot of groups around Europe recreate the Roman world: from the Roman legions, to daily life. It's celebrated between 10 and 20 May.
* Tarragona International Fireworks Displays Competition.
The most important fireworks contest in the Mediterranean area is held every first week of July in Tarragona, in a wonderful bay - Punta del Miracle -, a place praised by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. The competition selects six international pyrotechnic companies every year. Official website1
Official website 2
* Sant Magí Festival in Tarragona
The second traditional religious festival in Tarragona, between 15 and 19 August. Official website
* Santa Tecla Festival in Tarragona
One of the most important Mediterranean traditional festivals, between 15 and 24 September. It has been celebrated since 1321 and it is considered of national touristic interest by the state. Official website
* Tarragona is a candidate to be the Spanish representative as European Capital of Culture in 2016
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