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CULTURE: Tarragona's Roman Amphitheatre

Post 228. Written by Ben Kesp


Roman Amphitheatre with Our Lady of Miracle church remains in the centre

Located in Tarragona, the beautiful old port city in the northeast of Spain or Tarraco as it was formally known during the Roman period, sits a Roman amphitheatre. The oval shaped amphitheatre was constructed in the 2nd century and could accommodate up to 15,000 spectators in addition to its position offering magnificent views overlooking the Mediterranean Sea

But the history of the amphitheatre was not only for sport. During the persecution of Christians in 2nd/3rd centuries, the Emperor Valerian had the city’s bishop, Fructuosus and his two deacons burned alive within the grounds of the site. 

Unusual for a site like this, you can also find the remains of a 6th century Visigoth Basilica, built following the rise of Christianity when the site was left abandoned. The site was abandoned again following the Islamic invasion of Spain until the 12th century which followed with the construction of the mediaeval Santa Maria del Miracle or Our Lady of Miracle Church, built on top of the Visigoth basilica. The church was demolished at the beginning of the 20th century making this an interesting site to visit with so many visible layers of history exposed for us to explore. 

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