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Monday, September 03, 2012 (read 826 times)
Tarragona, Spainby Seun
Tarragona is another of those Spanish cities to which belongs an extensive length of historical on-goings. The city, set on the north-eastern coast of Spain just 90 km south of Barcelona, is the eponymous capital of the province of Tarragona. Once under Roman rule, Tarragona, (then Tarraco), also enjoyed a period as the capital of all Roman Hispania. Benefiting from an amphitheatre, it once far outweighed Barcelona in terms of wealth and reputation (an amphitheatre being something which the Romans never saw need to build in that other city). In 711 the city was subjected to just over 4 centuries of Moorish rule before the city’s re-conquering and return to western Catholicism in 1116 by Ramón Berenguer III.
The beginning of Tarragona’s most eventful époque coincides with its conquest at the start of the 12th century; although it is perhaps only more eventful for the simple fact that a richer collection of records has been left to us from this period onward. In 1129, Archbishop of Tarragona, Olegario, with what must have been some considerable power to his name, made Tarragona an ecclesiastic principality. Of course, by doing this he named himself the principal authority of the city, but, as Olegario himself was based in Barcelona, he then appointed the Norman mercenary Robert Bordet as Prince of the region. Under Bordet, Tarragona saw an influx of Normans and the city rose further in fortification. This unsurprisingly became a motive for quarrel at Olegario’s death and at the succession of Bernat Tort to his seat in 1146. As a man who entertained such loyalty to the Count of Barcelona and thus also entertained contempt towards Bordet’s undermining authority, Tort engaged frequently in conflict with Bordet during a decade until, finally, the former found advantage by which to see to the latter’s assassination.
Such was the volatile ambience of medieval Tarragona; and so full and vivid is the city’s wealthy historic tale. The sound of Tarragona is most certainly not gone out; from the Roman era remains the amphitheatre, and from the 12th century still stands the Cathedral of Tarragona which sees the mixing of Romanesque with Gothic architectural styles. From the 18th and19th centuries Tarragona is given the Portal de San Antonio which was rebuilt into the Roman muralla, and also the city’s impressive Tarraco Arena Plaza. Indeed, a wealth.
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