Roman Forum, Circus and Pretori Tower: Tarragona. UNESCO sites
The Provincial Forum (el Fòrum Provincial) was built around 73 AD, during the time of the emperor Vespasian, in the upper part of Tarraco. It combined the functions of the leadership of both political and economic activities of the province. Consilium Provinciae Hispaniae Citerioris (provincial council) was the governing body of the new administrative network, a member of which was the governor.
The place chosen for the creation of the Forum is the highest point in the city. The approximate total area of buildings is 7.5 hectares.
The provincial forum was divided into two terraces using the natural mountainous terrain. On the upper terrace, there was an “imperial zone” and fences, at the bottom – a place for meetings. On the third terrace, there was a circus, which was built later.
The provincial forum ceased to function structurally at the beginning of the 5th century. Since that moment the administrative area has been reduced to a very small space, which is still unknown. As for architecture, most high-rise Roman buildings in the Middle Ages began to be rebuilt and turned into modern facilities.
The circus was, without a doubt, the most popular show in the Roman world. In this place, in particular, there were races on two or four horses, and this was one of the greatest forms of entertainment in ancient Rome.
The circus complex in Tarraco was built at the end of the 1st century AD, during the reign of Domitian, and was part of a large provincial monumental complex that occupied the lower terrace of the Forum buildings. It is still very well-preserved.
The Roman Circus of Tarraco was around 325 meters in length and 100 to 115 meters wide.
The Roman Tower of Pretori is also known as the “Pilates Tower” or “King’s Palace”. The structure belongs to the 1st century AD and connected the buildings relating to the Roman Forum to the circus. In the Middle Ages, it belonged to a complex of royal buildings. Parts of the structure also served as a prison.