Cathedral of Santa Maria

The Cathedral of Tarragona is called the Cathedral of Santa Maria. It was built on the site where the Roman temple of Jupiter was. This temple formed part of the provincial forum in the first century AD. In the 12th century, Bishop Hug de Cervello of Tarragona collected a large amount of money to start the construction of the church. He died in 1171, but the construction started. The Cathedral started as a Romanesque structure in the 12th century, but in the 14th century the style was changed to the Gothic. Later baroque chapels were added in the 16th century. The church was consecrated in 1331.

The main facade shows the Gothic style, with a very large rose window that is very beautiful. The wings of the church are Romanesque. The main doorway has a sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the middle column. This was sculpted by Master Bartomeu of Normandy in the late 13th century. On the flanks of this statue are 22 statues of apostles and prophets arranged in the niches of the jambs. The tympanum shows the Last Judgment.

The church has a Latin cross plan with three naves. It also has a very big octagonal dome that is 36 meters high. The main altarpiece calls attention with its Romanesque style. There are polychrome alabaster sculptures created by Pere Joan that are dated to the 15th century . The top part has episodes of the Virgin's life and the lower part shows that of Santa Tecla, the patron saint of the city. There is a choir that occupies the central space of the main nave and has chairs from Flanders from the 15th century. There is a chapel dedicated to Santa Tecla that was started in 1775 and has Churrigueresque decoration from J. Prats.

There is a beautiful cloister that has the Romanesque style and also the Gothic style. There are remains of the ancient temple of Jupiter. The sculptures in the cloister are some of the best examples of Romanesque art in Catalunya in the 13th century. There is also a Diocesan Museum that is very interesting because it has many works of church art, tapestries from Brussels, altarpieces, stone sculptures, woode carvings, gold work, wrought iron work, textiles coins, ceramics, and Roman art. The church occupies the highest point of the city.