The Tarragona City Hall, through the area of Historic Heritage, has prepared a programme of activities to celebrate the XVI anniversary of Tarraco being declared a World Heritage Site. After this declaration, made on the 30th of November 2000, came the declaration of Intangible Cultural Heritage for the human towers and for the Mediterranean diet. Moreover, Tarragona is also included in the World Heritage for its eastern coast cave paintings. Therefore, Tarragona is a truly privileged city in acknowledgments towards its extremely rich historic heritage in the broadest sense of the term.
It is therefore right that we celebrate it and that we do so with a programme that, from the 30th of November to the 4th of December, will have diffusion, participation, accessibility and reflection upon the value of heritage and its cultural, recreational and social nature as its main themes.
We begin with the presentation of the app, Tarragona Accessible, an accessible guide created by the Group of Spanish World Heritage Cities, which is an advance on the way to having heritage and tourism for everyone. On the same day, the city will award the Tarraco Prize in recognition of the tasks carried out regarding the conservation, preservation and diffusion of Tarragona’s world heritage, a new award that comes about with the intention of placing value on the efforts made by the people and entities who work for our heritage. In the participation section, we would highlight the presentation of the conclusions reached from the Civic Tarraco participative project and the start of a new participative process regarding the uses of historic heritage, which will begin with a debating session on the 2nd and in which we can participate either in person during the session or through the Internet with the Messagenes platform.
The celebration continues on the 3rd and 4th with the events of a more diffusive and recreational nature, with open day sessions throughout Tarraco’s archaeological sites, historical re-enactments beside the monuments themselves, guided visits and an open day session at the new area that can now be visited inside the Cathedral: the Exedra Romana room.
We would encourage you to have a look at the events programme and to enjoy these days of celebration, but to also have a spirit of reflection about the responsibilities and the importance of conserving and diffusing the deep cultural and social meanings entailed in our heritage. In short, a programme that is open to everyone, for both our citizens and for visitors who, we are sure, will make an even greater contribution to the appreciation of our cultural heritage, which is a true symbol of identity for the entire region. We therefore invite you to participate and to enjoy our, your heritage.
Do you like castells? Would you like to know how a castells colla (group) is set? How about taking part on a guided tour that would take you round the main castells sceneries in Tarragona from the very origin? A brand new edition of the “Tarragona, Ciutat de Castells” festival is back –until 2 October, when “Concurs de Castells de Tarragona” competition (aka “Biennal de Castells”) takes place–. This a pioneering idea born back in 2013 with the intention of getting the city known on an international level –making the world of castells more accessible to those citizens and tourists not belonging to a local colla–, but also capitalizing one of the main cultural and tradition-related appeals of our country: castells, declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The 2 most successful activities –performances on Wednesdays and guided tours into the colles’ premises– will once again become the main attraction of this 2016 official programme. Thus, on every Wednesday of July, August and September, users will have the opportunity to admire single performances by the 4 main local colles: Xiquets de Tarragona, Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona, Xiquets del Serrallo and Castellers de Sant Pere i Sant Pau. The events will take place at 20h, in Pla de la Seu or Plaça de les Cols, just opposite the Cathedral.
In the same way, Tuesday evenings will provide those willing to know even more about this activity exciting guided tours into the premises of both Xiquets de Taragona and Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona during their rehearsal sessions, but also to the main castells-related spots in the city. All guided tours will start at 20h and will last 2 hours.
Free access to monument premises, guided tours to the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona (MNAT) at night, historical re-enactments of the life in the ancient Tàrraco, projections, conferences, exhibitions, gastronomy menus… Tarragona will be commemorating, between 24 November and 8 December, the 15th anniversary of the announcement of Tàrraco as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO with a number of events and activities.
On Sunday 29, for example, as users can access the main monument premises free of charge, a number of re-enactment activities will take place in Passeig Arqueològic, the Praetorium, the Roman Circus, the Amphitheatre, Vil·la dels Munts and Mausoleu de Centcelles. These locations will present you with the key to find out more about the lifestyle of legionaries, centurions, senators and theatre actors; what role magistrates and civil servants had; how life was for firefighters, councillors, auriga and prostitutes; or what gladiators, priestesses and editors did. Also, you’ll get to meet Caius and Faustina in their Vil·la dels Munts; observe Late Empire legionaries at the Mausoleu de Centcelles, or admire the Emperor Augustus at Volta del Pallol.
On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29, monument enclosures (Walls, Praetorium, Circus, Amphitheatre, Fòrum de la Colònia, Necròpolis Paleocristiana, Mausoleu de Centelles, Vil·la dels Munts and the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona) will remain open to public, and in the case of the MNAT, this will also remain open at night.
Espai Turisme, in Carrer Major 39, will project the first episode of the TV series about the Roman engineering produced by Digivisión for La2 TV channel on Saturday and Sunday. The showings of the documentary are continuous and with free entrance (limited capacity).
On the other hand, and coinciding with the event, a new square will be opened on Monday 30, at 5pm: Plaça de la Unesco, located on the roundabout where Rambla Vella and Passeig de Sant Antoni meet. The new Plaça de la Unesco is a very special spot in the city because it connects past and present, proximity and remoteness. This roundabout also joins Part Alta and the Port neighbourhood together, but also works as a link for the historical centre and the Eixample of the 16th century. Besides, here’s where the old Via Augusta ended, a connecting point between Tàrraco, capital city of the Tarraconense, and the eternal city, Rome. Just beside it, the Praetorium and Amphitheatre. And also a stone’s throw away from here, we can admire the annual Santa Tecla’s International Fireworks Competition, enjoy the Tarraco Viva festival and the processions of Holy Week. This is a place then, very near the meeting point of the entire heritage that defines the Tarragona of the 21st century.
Finally, the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the proclamation of Tàrraco as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO will also work to showcase a number of the city’s strong points, such as “castells” and the Mediterranean diet. As for the former, a tradition original from Valls, within Camp de Tarragona area, the city’s four main colles will build a commemorative tower on Sunday 29, at 1pm, in Plaça del Rei.
As fot the latter, the Mediterranean diet, nine restaurants in Tarragona will be offering menus based on this amazing diet, between 24 November and 8 December. Bread, wine, olive oil, legumes, vegetables, fish, meat and fruit are main characters of our beloved traditional diet.
Tarragona will welcome on Wednesday, 24 June –coinciding with Sant Joan’s castells (human towers) performance– the 3rd edition of “Tarragona, City of Castells”; a singular, original and authentic project willing to bring the world of “castells” to locals, as well as tourists willing to know more about it.
This project will kick off on Sant Joan’s Day and will end on Santa Tecla’s Festivities. The year’s edition main difference can be found in the higher number of performances that will take place in the city –two times more in fact–, which will be held every Wednesday night, from 8 July to 9 September, and that will include, simultaneously, the 4 “colles castelleres” (castells teams) in the city: Xiquets de Tarragona, Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona, Xiquets del Serallo and Castellers de Sant Pere i Sant PauTarragona, City of Castells” will still allow users to attend the actual rehearsals of both Xiquets de Tarragona and Jove Xiquets de Tarragona, as well as guided tours to the main and most relevant local “castells” scenes, among other activities.
“Tarragona, City of Castells” has consolidated as a product in just 3 years and has caught, not just the attention of locals –unaware until now of the way a “colla” works from the inside out–, but also to those tourists visiting the city and see “castells” as a spectacular and exciting tradition that, at the same time, gathers a number of values such as teamwork, solidarity, the relation between people of different ages and the acceptance of everyone, without any exceptions.
“Tarragona, City of Castells” will count on the support of Tarragona’s Tourism Board for the 3rd consecutive year, which will programme and promote the different activities in 4 languages (Catalan, Spanish, English and French) so that this product gets to every visitor.
In this sense, it is worth mentioning that tickets for the rehearsals are already for sale, and include a guided tour to the home of either Xiquets de Tarragona or Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona. The first of the rehearsals will take place on Tuesday, 30 June.
Tickets are available for purchase at Tarragona Tourism’s website:
Calendar for the 2015 “Tarragona, City of Castells” Wednesday’s events:
• 8 July: Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 15 July: Castellers de Sant Pere y Sant Pau.
• 22 July: Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona y Xiquets del Serrallo.
• 29 July: Castellers de Sant Pere i Sant Pau.
• 5 August: Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 12 August: Xiquets del Serrallo.
• 26 August: Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 2 September: Xiquets del Serrallo.
• 9 September: Castellers de Sant Pere y Sant Pau.
Rehearsals for both Xiquets de Tarragona and Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona (on Tuesdays):
• 30 June: Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 7 July: Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 14 July: Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 21 July: Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 28 July: Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 4 August: Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 11 August: Xiquets de Tarragona.
• No rehearsal on 18 August.
• 25 August: Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 1 September: Colla Jove Xiquets de Tarragona.
• 8 September: Xiquets de Tarragona.
When Losada sent the ball over the crossbar on the very last penalty shot during the UEFA Final game between Espanyol and Bayern Leverkusen (1988), Ricard Marrugat, one of the few Espanyol supporters (perico) in Gandesa, cried like a small child. He came back brimming with hope twenty years later in the time of De La Peña, Tamudo and Luis García, and decided to go on a pilgrimage with his team to the final in Glasgow. It was an austere trip, with no place to sleep. Espanyol was defeated again in the penalty shootout. Marrugat though, president of Castellers de Sant Pere i Sant Pau does not give up easily. He has learnt how to see the bright side of failures while stopping his group from becoming discouraged. “There should be motivation, although in Castells, one must find the way to recover”, he says; in every possible sense.
Born in 1990, the Colla Castellera de Sant Pere i Sant Pau has not the status of the two other great ‘colles’ of the city, the Xiquets and the Colla Jove, and yet, thanks to a renovation process of his core in recent years, its constructions are becoming more and more important and it is determined to enter the top20 in the short term. Marrugat, who joined the ‘colla’ a few years ago thanks to his son, knows the importance of keeping the illusion of projects alive. Despite the fact that ‘castells’ tend to go for the stars, he thinks it is essential to keep at least one foot firmly on the ground, in the same way the garnatxa vines he grows do in Gandesa. “When everything’s ok and the colla improves, no problem. However, one must get to know people and find the best way to speak when things go wrong. Only then can a setback work as the ideal push to keep on moving forward”, he explains.
Together with the Xiquets del Serralloo, Xiquets and La Jove, as well as other invited groups, Sant Pere i Sant Pau’s performances play a central role this summer in different spots around the city as part of the programme Tarragona, Ciutat de Castells. This initiative was designed to give visibility to the local Castells’ activity, to position the city as a reference in this field, and to work as October’s Concurs warm-up, the actual World Cup in the Castells calendar. Besides exhibitions, shows and workshops, the programme provides tourists with a unique opportunity to attend rehearsals. “We want to divulge our activity. We all win here”, Marrugat states. Sant Pere i Sant Pau is named after a 16,000-people neighbourhood; unfortunately, and due to its tiny dimensions, it can barely get new associates, the actual seed for new castells.
Human towers are a concept that is an essential part of Tarragona, which has experienced ups and downs throughout history, and which was reborn in recent decades coinciding with the restoration of democracy. Just like other associations born these years with the purpose of putting new energy to the city’s popular heritage, the castell groups (colles castelleres) are working as a sort of meeting point for different generations and sensibilities, people from various origins that are playing a certain role for the benefit of teamwork. Thus, they become a powerful instrument to provide assistance to the social structuring.
The square is the entire reason of being for castells. The colla Sant Pere i Sant Pau goes on 20 to 25 sortides (trips that involve a performance, a competition), which can gather up to 120 members of the group. It is during the rehearsals though –twice a week-, especially those involving difficult human towers, according to Marrugat, that one gets both the responsibility and the emotional implication of the members of the ‘colla’. “When we try important things, the room becomes silent; we’re not performing for the people, it is about oneself. Celebrations are also more effusive that in the square”, he says.
Marrugat, director of Institut Terra Alta, believes castells to include values related to education, such as thoroughness, motivation and evaluation. This is why, each year, 15-year-old teenagers of the mentioned institute come to Tarragona in order to create their final academic paper. “Castells improve people”, he states.