Medieval Tarragona

The twelfth and fourteenth centuries marked the heyday of medieval Tarragona, an era that left us buildings such as the Cathedral. Its façade depicts judgement day, with Christ judging humanity. It is a place that combines Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Inside, we are greeted by its altarpiece. A polychromed alabaster filigree by Pere Joan that chronicles the life and martyrdom of Saint Tecla, the city´s patron saint. Inside its cloister we find monastic peace, where the capitals and cymantiums tell fabled tales, such as this: the procession of the rats, which shows that cunning is more valuable than strength. In a unique way, its sculptured stone tells the story of a cat that feigns death and resucitates when the rats are about to bury him. The cat then catches almost all of them. Finally it is worth visiting the city´s diocesan museum, where we can see, among other things, a beautiful fresco depicting Adam and Eve in front of a fig tree or the funerary biga driven by Eutyches. Outside the Cathedral, the Pla Seu shows us what the medieval acropolis was like with its noble buildings belonging to aristocratic families of the time. It is a place which is transformed every Sunday, when it turns into an interesting antique market. Continuing with our tour, we arrive at Mercerie street, undoubtedly one of the best preserved in the medieval quarter, with an arched structure, kept in perfect condition, housing shops with special charm. Its market past dates to the fourteenth century when for many years its arcades housed one of the town’s vegetable markets. A few meters away, on the main street we find the Old Town Hall, a building with a staircase, a courtyard and a beautiful Renaissance gallery from the XVI century, it now houses the Tourism Department and the Municipal Library-Archive. But without doubt, the best way to get to know the medieval past of the city is to take a walk around the old town, discovering with every step the postcard corners of a not too distant past.