Tarraco Viva festival underway with first full weekend of historical activities

Organizers hope to recover pre-pandemic attendance figures with program for all audiences in Tarragona area

The Roman military reenactment in Altafulla featured a demonstration of artillery from the time (by Ariadna Escoda)
The Roman military reenactment in Altafulla featured a demonstration of artillery from the time (by Ariadna Escoda) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 23, 2022 12:35 PM

The Tarraco Viva Roman-themed festival celebrated the first full weekend of its 24th edition, having started on May 15, with a focus on the humanities.

According to the director of the event, Magí Seritjol, although the applied sciences represent a pillar in today's society, "it is not enough" and that is why they have made a program emphasizing recent history and archeology.

With a budget of around €220,000, this year’s edition sees some 300 activities, hoping to recover pre-pandemic attendance, when some 17,000 attended the festival.

Several municipalities in the southern Catalan Tarragona area welcome activities for all audiences, such as the town of Altafulla, which hosted a historical recreation of Roman legionaries this Sunday.

Just under a hundred people gathered at the Era del Senyor space in the town to learn first-hand what a day was like in the life of the Roman military.

In contrast to the war scenes, a narrator was present, providing information on the daily activities of the legionaries, as well as explaining their feelings, aspirations and obligations.

At the end of the reenactment, there was a small demonstration of Roman artillery.

Families made up a majority of attendees. One of these was that of Guillem Hidalgo, a father from Terrassa, who took advantage of the weekend's program to spend a few days around Tarragona and Altafulla.

He commented that this is the first time that his family have taken part in the festival, but “will not be the last”.

Over the course of the week from May 23 to 29, there will also be a series of cultural events - both in-person and online - honoring the history of the region, ranging from reading clubs to food-tasting, exhibitions to guided tours of Tarragona’s iconic Roman buildings.

More information, as well as tickets for these events, are available via the festival website.

The event’s organizers pointed out that the festival’s reach stretched beyond the borders of Catalonia, with visitors from Valencia, Aragon, Madrid and the Basque Country. It also attracted history and Latin teachers, as well as other professionals involved in these fields.

Aside from Altafulla and Tarragona, the event is being celebrated in other towns in the area, such as Cambrils, Constantí, Altafulla, Vila-rodona and for the first time this year, Reus.

Humanities take center stage

2022 marks several historical anniversaries, such as the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb and the beginning of excavations in the Mesopotamian city of Ur 100 years ago, the 200th anniversary of the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics and of the birth of Heinrich Schliemann, the discoverer of Troy.

To mark these milestones, the festival has prepared a program with the humanities at the forefront as, according to Seritjol, in the 21st century it has often been in the shadow of the applied sciences.

In this way, the director of Tarraco Viva has remarked that remembering the past not only allows us to understand a chapter of history, but also to understand the present.

With another weekend ahead with activities focused on history and archeology, Seritjol is already thinking about the next year’s edition, with proposals for opening a new window on history, specifically on Mesopotamian cultures.