Tarragona Amphitheater – Tarragona, Spain - Atlas Obscura

In the city of Tarragona, the ruins of a massive structure stand by the water’s edge. Built in the second century, this amphitheater once held up to 15,000 spectators for various events including brutal gladiator fights.

From a distance this structure looks like a semi-circular Roman theatre, but the original plan was a complete oval. It was located outside the city, near the forum and the entrance of the town. 

The reason for its current appearance is that in the sixth century a Visigothic basilica and in the 12th century a Romanesque church were built on the site, destroying about half the terracing. One can see evidence of  both the later buildings and where the stonework of some of the terracing has been removed.

Despite the changes, can still see part of  the elaborate underground system whereby wild animals or additional combatants could be introduced into the center of the arena via trapdoors and elevators.

Today, visitors can explore the site and learn about its history. It is used for a number of events, including some spectacular mock gladiator fights.

Know Before You Go

Nearest parking is at the casino at the top of the hill.

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