I've included this street in the local customs section because I think it is one of the most iconic images of Tarragona and one you are definitely likely to come across when reading about the city. I saw this image in a travel feature about Tarragona earlier last summer and fell in love with it. In fact, though I'd been planing to visit the Roman ruins, it was this image that made me decide 'yes, I definitely have to see this'. The name Baixada Misericordia is a bit of a mystery to me. I think Baixa means lower in Catalan and Misericordia probably means mercy. It's a sloping street that goes round a corner and leads into Carrer Major which is the street that leads directly up to Placa del Seu and the cathedral . There are lots of steps and I think it's the kind of place that people would enjoy hanging out in and shooting the breeze. I didn't see much activity on it though, because the Sunday I visited there were very few people anywhere in the old town.
Tarragona is an ancient wine-producing region and its wines have its own DO. The harbour of Tarragona was an important trading centre for these wines in Roman times. In addition, many of the communion wines used by the Catholic church worldwide used to and still do originate from Tarragona. A traditional producer of these is the De Muller estate, founded in 1831, which also supplies the Vatican.
The following white grape varieties are permitted: Chardonnay, Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Malvasía, Moscatel de Alejandria, Moscatel de Frontignan, Sauvignon Blanc and Xarel-Io, as well as the following red varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Merlot, Monastrell, Pinot Noir, Samsó (Cariñena), Syrah and Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo). Two thirds of the production is of white wine. Grapes for cava production are also cultivated
Well-known producers include José Lopez Beltrán, Beyme, Bodegas Josep M. Bach, Barbara Forés, Capafons-Ossó, Capçanes, De Muller, Gandesa, Pedro Masana, Pedro Rovira, Vidal i Vidal, Vinya Janine and Viños Piñol.
Castells (or human towers) are typical constructions of the province of Tarragona. The castells' world is very complex: there are different kinds of castles and every castle has its own name. The castles can reach 10 floors but the most usual castles have between 7 and 8 floors.
The main parts of any kind of castle are:
-"pinya" all the people on the ground floor that help to build the castle
-"tronc" the different floors of the castle
-"enxaneta" is the kid on the top of the castle;
You can consider that a castle is "carregat" or finished when the "enxaneta" arrives at the top and he/she raises the hand
In Tarragona's area there is a big rivalry between the "colles" or groups castellers, specially if they are from the same city; The rivalry is bigger if they are building castles in their local town festivities: they try to do the best and more complicated castles to impress the public
I guess we all agree on this on; there is nothing more exciting than going travelling - exploring another country, experiencing a different culture, travelling around in new ways, sampling the local cuisine and chatting to the local people for a different perspective on life.
However during our travels we learned that there is one certain thing that you should be aware of and prepared for to make sure that the trip is as easy and enjoyable as possible. We always try to see everything once we're there, but this is not always an act of responsible travelling. We always talk to the locals and we know that they have the information about just the right spots to visit and how to undertake them. It will not only enhance your experiences but also avoid any unnecessary hassles.
For us the travel tips we have written in this section made the most of our travel experience and we came home in the same happy, healthy state that we left.
The province of Tarragona is famous for its 'casteller' festivals, in which teams of men stand on each other's shoulders in an effort to built the highest human tower (castell). Configurations depend on the number of men who form the base. Teams wear similar colours, and often have names denoting their home town. The small boy who has to undertake the peilous climb to the top, where he makes the sign of the cross, is called anxaneta (weathercock). Castellers assemble in competition for Tarragona province's major festivals throughout the year. In the wine town of Vilafranca the turn for Sant Felix (30 August) and in Tarragona city for Santa Tecla, its 'festa major' on the 23th of September.
Unfortunately we did not see any actual castellers in action, because we really would have liked that. But everywhere in the city of Tarragona we were pointed at this great tradition. We saw , for example, a beautiful street sign at Plaza de Santiago Rusinol and the bronze statue Monument als Castells, monument of the human tower at the Rambla Nova.
The Sardana is Catalonia's national dance and is more complicated than it probably appears. It succes depends on the dancers forming a circle and accurately counting the complicated short- and long-step skips and jumps, which accounts for their serious faces. Music is provided by a cobla ( an 11-person band consisting of a leader playing a three-holde flute (flabiol) and a little drum (tambori), five woodwind players and five brass players. The Sardana is performed during most 'festes' and at special day-long gatherings called 'aplecs'. In Barcelona it is danced every Sunday evening at 18:30u in the Placa de Sant Jaume.
We had quite a nice experience with this dance being in Tarragona. We were sitting in the sun having a nice cool beer in the Old Town. All of a sudden we saw a lot of people gathering together and suddenly heared music and the clapping of hands. I had a look and saw that some local people just spontaniously started to dance The Sardana. Just great!
There are a lot of things you have no idea of once you're planning your trip. For us it is always a surprise how the facilities are for our two little kids. We were pleasantly amazed by the fact that Tarragona is a city that is very, very friendly for little kids.
First of all (but we guess you'll find it anywhere) all the local people spoke to us about little Sam and his 'big' sister Iris. Sam was just over one year at that time. Everybody thought he was adorable and Iris was just about the perfect example of a sweet girl. It was also nice to hear that everybody said that we were great parents to take such a sweet and young kids on vacation, instead of leaving them home! Everybody gave them a little present or candy.
But what truly amazed us was that every (little) part of the town has a very well organized and maintained playground for little kids. Some of them even have officials who guard the ground. It was great!
The four bars on the 'senyera', the Catalan flag, are said to represent the four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona. The Senyera is a vexillological symbol that consists of four red stripes on a golden background. It historically represented the king of Crown of Aragon; today is the flag of the Spanish Autonomous Community of Catalonia.
The design derives from a legend of Guilfré el Pelós, first Count of Barcelona. It relates how he received a call for help from Charles the Bald, who was King of the West Franks and grandson of Charlemagne. Guilfré went to his aid and turned the tide of battle, but was mortally wounded. As he lay dying, Charles dipped his fingers in Guilfré's blood and dragged them accross his plain gold shield, giving him a grant of arms.
We saw the Catalan flag at numerous of places. The Catalonian people are extremely proud of their own (beautiful) province.
In Tarragona going to the beach is no problem and the people who live here really have a good deal going for them. There are seven main beaches seperated by rocky outcrops and one of these, a little way outside town is a nude beach. The main town beach, the Platja del Miracle is so convenient and centrally situated that going for a swim is the easiest way to cool down here. Of course this applies to visitors also and at the end of a long day's sigtseeing, on the way back to the train, it 's the easiest thing in the world to stop at the beach and have a quick dip. This is one of the many features, that in my opinion, make Tarragona a virtually perfect place to visit.
What is it about ruins and cats ? No matter how magnificent the classical ruins you are visiting, there are always a couple of cats enjoying the facilities for free and looking down their noses at those people who actually had to pay to get in. Well Tarragona is no exception and its fine Roman ruins all have cats as fixtures and fittings. These three were basking on some of the remains of the Roman circus near Placa dell Sedassos. They are wearing their camo-fur coats so you have to click to see them .
The Balco del Mediterranean is much beloved by Tarragona citizens and there isa local superstition that touching the railings of this balcony brings luck. It's a natural viewing point situated 40 metres above the sea, at the end of the Rambla Nova. To say that the views from here are spectacular is actually an understatement and the glorious vista underneath of sea, Platja del Miracle beach and the Roman amphitheatre is one of the finest I've seen anywhere. The photo is taken from just above the Balcon.
The Rambla Nova was buzzing with people on Sant Jordi day!
It's a Catalan holiday in honour of Catalonia's patron Saint - Saint George (dragon slayer).
Men and women exchange roses (to celebrate Sant Jordi) and books in tribute to Cervantes and Shakespeare, who both died on April 23 (1616).
**Various charitable and activist organizations sell the flowers and the books(I believe the money goes to support their cause).
purviat mi suvet e:nikoga ne kazvaite v tarragona ili kudeto i da bilo v catalunia,che kataluncite sa ispantsi:te se vuzpriemat kato otdelna natsiai imat svoi ezik i kultura .
za edin bulgarin v katalunia ne e losho-vse oshte si spomniat koi e stoichkov,a tova ne e malko!
well...first of all...you can see something on the rambla itself..the human tower..the catalan people are excellent human tower builders..another thing..don´t call the people spanish..some of them will probably be offended..they are from cataluña not spain!..or something like that..
People there is so friendly, we say that people from 'Deltebre' is very different than the rest of villages... they are so special. why? Their unique sense of humor. Sometimes a little bit difficult to understand for some people....