Nora Johnson – Tarragona’s Early Saints and Spectacles

Everyone knows about the attractions of Barcelona, but maybe not those of nearby Tarragona…

In striking contrast to Barcelona’s thrusting hipness, Tarragona’s main appeal stems from the Roman era, when the town, then called Tarraco, was the bustling melting pot of the western Mediterranean and Saint Paul was packing them in with his punchy sermons.

Compared to those hedonistic pagans up the coast, Tarragona has always been a devout kind of town and the sarcophagi and inscribed tablets at the necropolis suggest it got on the Christian bandwagon pretty early. Some of those who hopped aboard a bit too early for their own safety may have ended up in the circus, pitting their faith against the sharp claws of some lions.

And just like the Roman Forum, the amphitheatre is still a spectacular attraction overlooking the sea, with a seating pitch only marginally less steep than in Barcelona’s modern equivalent, the Camp Nou football stadium. Round off a step back into antiquity with a visit to one of the many cafés where only the exemplary coffee makes any concession to the 21st century.

Speaking of ancient times, did you know that the rabbit was brought to Britain by the Romans, who discovered it in Spain? And that the name “España” derives from the Phoenician expression for “land of rabbits”? What a hare-raising thought…

Nora Johnson’s 12 critically acclaimed psychological suspense crime thrillers, including the latest ‘The Couple across the Street’ (, all available online at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.      

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.