Tarragona (Catalan: [tərəˈɣonə], Spanish: [taraˈɣona]) is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona. As of the 2009 census, the city had a population of 155,323, and the population of the entire metropolitan area was estimated to be 675,921.
One Catalonian legend holds it was named for Tarraho, eldest son of Tubal in c. 2407 BC; another (derived from Strabo and Megasthenes) attributes the name to ‘Tearcon the Ethiopian’, a 7th century BC pharaoh who supposedly campaigned in Spain.
In Roman times, the city was named Tarraco and was capital of the province of Hispania Tarraconensis (after being capital of Hispania Citerior in the Republican era). The Roman colony founded at Tarraco had the full name of Colonia Iulia Urbs Triumphalis Tarraco.
The city may have begun as an Iberic town called Kesse or Kosse, named for the Iberic tribe of the region, the Cosetans, though the identification of Tarragona with Kesse is not certain. Smith suggests that the city was probably founded by the Phoenicians, who called it ‘Tarchon, which, according to Samuel Bochart, means a citadel. This name was probably derived from its situation on a high rock, between 700 and 800 feet above the sea; whence we find it characterised as arce potens Tarraco. It was seated on the river Sulcis or Tulcis (modern Francolí), on a bay of the Mare Internum (Mediterranean), between the Pyrenees and the river Iberus (modern Ebro). Livy mentions a portus Tarraconis; and according to Eratosthenes it had a naval station or roads (Ναύσταθμον); but Artemidorus says with more probability that it had none, and scarcely even an anchoring place; and Strabo himself calls it ἀλίμενος.
This answers better to its present condition; for though a mole was constructed in the 15th century with the materials of the ancient amphitheatre, and another subsequently by an Englishman named John Smith, it still affords but little protection for shipping. Tarraco lies on the main road along the south-eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It was fortified and much enlarged by the brothers Publius and Gnaeus Scipio, who converted it into a fortress and arsenal against the Carthagenians. Subsequently it became the capital of the province named after it, a Roman colony, and conventus juridicus.
Augustus wintered at Tarraco after his Cantabrian campaign, and bestowed many marks of honour on the city, among which were its honorary titles of Colonia Victrix Togata and Colonia Julia Victrix Tarraconensis. The city also minted coins. According to Mela it was the richest town on that coast, and Strabo represents its population as equal to that of Carthago Nova (modern Cartagena). Its fertile plain and sunny shores are celebrated by Martial and other poets; and its neighbourhood is described as producing good wine and flax.
Main article: Tarraco
The Roman ruins of Tarraco have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Part of the bases of large Cyclopean walls near the Cuartel de Pilatos are thought to pre-date the Romans. The building just mentioned, a prison in the 19th century, is said to have been the palace of Augustus. The 2nd century amphitheatre, near the sea-shore, was extensively used as a quarry after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and but few vestiges of it now remain. A circus, c. 450 m long, was built over in the area now called Plaça de la Font, though portions of it are still to be traced. Throughout the town Latin, and even apparently Phoenician, inscriptions on the stones of the houses mark the material used for buildings in the town.
Two ancient monuments, at some little distance from the town, have, however, fared rather better. The first of these is the Aqüeducte de les Ferreres, which spans a valley about 4 km north of the city. It is 217 m (711.94 ft) in length, and the loftiest arches, of which there are two tiers, are 26 m (85.30 ft) high. There is a monument about 6 km along the coast road east of the city, commonly called the “Tower of the Scipios”; but there is no authority for assuming that they were buried here.
Other Roman buildings include:
the walls, with two gates: Portal del Roser and the Portal de Sant Antoni.
the capitol, or citadel
the palace of Augustus, called the house of Pilate
the circus or amphitheatre
the so-called tower, or sepulchre, of the Scipios
arch of Sura, or of Bara
the Aurelian Way.
The city is also home to the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona.
View of Gothic quarter and Cathedral of Tarragona.
the Cathedral, dating to the 12th-13th centuries, combining Romanesque and Gothic architectural elements.
the convent of the Poor Clares, near the walls
The convent of Santa Teresa
The church of the Capuchins, the parish church of the port
The former convent of San Francisco
The Jesuit college was turned into barracks, their church, however, has been restored to them
The convent of the Dominicans, now the town hall
The archiepiscopal palace, situated on the site of the ancient capitol, one tower of which still remains. It was rebuilt in the 19th century.
Near the sea, in the Roman amphitheatre, are the remains of a church called Santa María del Milagro (Holy Mary of the Miracle), which belonged to the Knights Templar. It was afterwards used by the Trinitarian Fathers, and was later converted into a penitentiary. It was demolished around 1915.
The seminary of San Pablo and Santa Tecla was founded in 1570 by the cardinal archbishop, Gaspar de Cervantes, and was the first to comply with the decrees of the Council of Trent. In 1858 Archbishop José Domingo Costa y Borrás built a fourth wing. Benito Villamitjana built a new seminary behind the cathedral in 1886, in the courtyard of which stands the old chapel of San Pablo. Pope Leo XIII raised this to the rank of a pontifical university.
50 km (31.07 mi) north of the city is the monastery of Poblet, founded in 1151 by Ramón Berenguer IV, which was used for sepultures of the kings of Aragon.
Tarragona is home to a large port and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Much of its economic activity comes from a large number of chemical industries located in the city or in surrounding areas.
The main living heritage is the Popular Retinue, a great parade of dances, bestiary and spoken dances- and the human towers. They specially participate in Santa Tecla Festival. They are so popular in Tarragona and also in all Catalonia that they have got their own home. It is called “Casa de la Festa”, Festivities House, where you can visit them all the year. 
A number of beaches, some awarded a Blue Flag designation, line the Mediterranean coast near the city.
Tarragona is located near the holiday resort of Salou and the theme park Port Aventura, one of the largest in Europe.
The city is located a few kilometers away from Reus Airport, which has many low-cost destinations and charter-flights (over a million passengers per year). Reus is the second city of Tarragona area (101,767 inhabitants in 2006), known by its commercial activity and for being the place where the architect Gaudí was born.