After visiting Tarragona for the first time a few weeks ago during the Festa Santa Tecla, & discovering a little of its ancient history in the form of a Roman amphiteatre & Roman circus, I made a decision to return in the near future, curious about other Roman antiquities, I had subsequently been informed, remain scattered around the city. So a couple of days ago I embarked on a jaunt along with my friend Fareed, to find some interesting things to shoot pictures of. The weather was fantastic, for October, a cloudless 22C on the mediterranean coast, bliss.
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As before I took the train from Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona to Tarragona, having a pleasant & uneventful journey, (this time with my friend visiting from England, Fareed), & arriving just after 11am. Upon alighting we immediately set off towards the old part of town, Part Alta, or the upper area. The higher ground of course being the most easily fortifiable, this part of Tarragona contains some of the citys oldest architecture in the form of Roman ruins, as they were when the city was called Tarraco. As soon as we arrived in the vicinty of the start of our tour, along Rambla Nova, Fareed decided breakfast was required & so we found a typical no-frills cafe & sat down outside in the wonderful sunshine. In line with my previous visit I soon discovered there was nothing on the menu suitable for me to eat besides lettuce (enciam), tomato (tomaquet) & onion (ceba), so I sat absorbing solar energy while Fareed nourished his body with fish, salad (amanida) & fries, swilled down with freshly squeezed orange juice & sweet milky coffee. I continued to absorb solar energy through the pores of my skin, calming my twitching shutter finger.
Since I photographed the ruins of the amphiteatre & circus during my first visit, (documented in a previous blog post), after briefly showing them to a satiated Fareed, I determined that by intuition & nous we should explore Part Alta for more of its hidden antiquities & attractions.
After about 30 minutes of meandering through old winding passages, crossing small plaças with bars & cafes, & photographing bits of the ancient architecture & old buildings, we arrived at Tarragona museum of modern art, which is free to enter.
Having found out I was allowed to photograph inside the museum we proceeded through the initial part, which afforded space to the art of local schools' childrens projects. This covered the small area of the ground floor, which also contained a large tapestry designed by Joan Miró & crafted by Josep Royo, which was originally commissioned by Dr. Rafel Orozco as payment for the treatment he gave Miró's daughter, Maria Dolors, after she was hit by a train.
A couple of sculptures occupied the elaborate stairwell space, & on entering the first room of the upper floor we encountered bronze heads crafted by Catalan sculptor Julio Antonio (b. Tarragona 1889, d. Madrid 1919). Also among the museums collection were more modern sculptures & visual art pieces. I have included a selection in the slideshow below.
I really enjoyed the museum visit. Although it is a small museum, it's permanent pieces, the sculptures of Julio Antonio, I found most engaging. On exiting, we made our way, again in a twisty-turny fashion, around another corner of Part Alta, past the cathedral & on to Plaça de la Font, where the town hall is, & the main place of events for the festa Santa Tecla. Here Fareed decided his hunger yet again needed satiating, & after sauntering a little while in the soothing afternoon sunshine we seated ourselves outside a suitable eatery (suitable for fareed that is). Fareed again felt the call of the sea & ordered mussels, bread, orange juice & sweet, milky coffee. I watched, absorbing more of the wonderful solar energy, which bore down upon me ceaselessly, in an unending wave of healing rays.
The remainder of our brief visit to Tarragona was spent exploring another corner of Part Alta, which revealed more lovely old buildings & ancient ruins. I leave you with more photographs of this fine old city, which will hopefully entice you to visit; make a date for the Festa Santa Tecla, the feast day of which is 23rd September.
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I am a freelance photographer specialising in performance arts.
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