Tarragona, Spain – September 2015

Puente del Diablo, Santa Tecla / Travel Photography

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Before visiting Tarragona, we made a stop to see the ancient aqueduct located 4 km from the city, which was used to transport water from the Francolí River to the city in the past. However, during the Middle Ages, the locals forgot and didn’t understand the purpose of this structure. That’s why the Aqueduct is called the Devil’s Bridge (Puente del Diablo). Surrounding this construction is an eco-historical park. Those interested can even walk along a narrow channel right above the abyss, where water used to flow in the past.

Puente del Diablo, Spain

Tarragona is the most Roman city in Spain. The contrasting and colorful architecture of the city immediately catches the eye. While strolling through the old town, you come across fragments of medieval buildings and walls, a partially ruined Roman amphitheater (forum) reminiscent of the Colosseum, and a waterfront with a view of the industrial port. Tarragona is currently a major port and industrial center in Catalonia.

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Since we arrived in Tarragona on Saturday evening, it initially seemed that the locals were actively enjoying themselves, dancing on the central streets, drinking, eating, and making a lot of noise. However, when we encountered the first parade of giant dolls, we realized that there was a festival happening in the city. Later, we learned some details about it.

Every September, in the ancient Spanish city of Tarragona, the colorful festival of Santa Tecla is traditionally held, which is one of the largest and most important celebrations in Catalonia. The festival is dedicated to the heavenly patroness of Tarragona, Saint Tecla, whose relics are kept in the Tarragona Cathedral. During these days, the city’s residents bid farewell to the departing summer, reminisce about Catalan traditions, and enjoy themselves, immersing in a world of dances, music, and fireworks.

Thanks to the efforts of the organizers of the Santa Tecla festival in Tarragona, they manage to create an extensive program of events, featuring thrilling competitions of the “castellers” (human tower builders), pyrotechnic shows, and vibrant costume processions with the participation of “giants,” “big-heads,” and fire-breathing monsters. Visiting the Santa Tecla festival in Tarragona is a wonderful opportunity to experience Catalan traditions (both cultural and gastronomic), immerse in an atmosphere of friendship and joy, and, at the same time, explore Tarragona’s landmarks. Moreover, some of them can be visited for free as part of the festival celebration.

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