It seems that not everything in Tarragona is related to Tarraco*, we are happy to know that!
Chases, fights, magic, witchcraft, vandalism, corruption, filth, darkness … a series of words appear in our mind when we think of the Middle Ages. But do we really know how the people back then lived, what they did, which was the daily culture?
The company Argos Cultural Services presented on July 23th its new summer route, a night historical tour through the different parts of the old town of the city of Tarragona. The medieval life in the city is explained from a very interesting perspective: how were the lives of the people persecuted by the established power.
CHASED, click to see the trailer:
The Medieval period in Tarragona was characterized by a slight population drop in the city in favour of rural settlements. At the same time the use of medicinal plants as cure was enhanced, knowledge which often was purchased by women or in medieval terminology, by witches.
The route explains the example of different sectors of the medieval society which were socially frowned upon or outcast because of fear, hatred reasons or most commonly for being against the economic interest of the government. Witches as gender chasing, Templars accused of heresy, Jews hated due to their religion and occupation and labour slaves fighting for their freedom were the most common. With the help of small mude performances, the life and fate of such characters is dramatized in front of mythical scenes of the city, real and historical places of Tarragona at that time.
The first stop of the visit is the Champ de Mars as a symbol of what would have been the fields outside Tarragona, inhabited by healers. Some hundred meters away, the guide brings the participants to the back side of the Cathedral, very close to the tower of the archbishop, and once home of a Templar Knight. The rise in power of such monk-soldiers was so remarkable during that period, that enable them to control the banking system. However this fact also lead them to become the target of many European powers, who preferred to accuse them of heresy in order to avoid paying their debts.
Tarragona also had a small district inhabited by Jews during the Middle Ages called “Call jueu”. It was almost a parallel city inside the city itself. Although many of the residents were doctors who marched to Iran to learn the art of medicine, many more were lenders and usurers, which led to disagreements and chases not only because of religious but also economic and social reasons. Finally, the tour ends in front of the Cathedral main door, built and decorated around 1370 by Jaume Cascalls and his co-workers. Mr. Cascalls worked mostly with slaves since the slave trade was something very common at that time. An anecdote about Jordi de Déu, a liberated slave from Mr. Cascalls, who built his own workshop culminates the night visit.
Secrets, mysteries, chases … a rich social framework that is presented in the form of small night scenes. An alternative tour, a historic proposal to this hot summer!
– Here you can see the photographic gallery made by the organizing staff of the visit. Pictures of Gabriella Nonino. The cover photograph is hers.
– Video of the making of the copy of the sculpture of a child from the Royal Pantheon Poblet monastery, attributed to Jordi de Déu, and made by Jesus Mendiola from MV ARTE for the visit.
*Tarraco (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarraco_%28Tarragona%29) was the name of the city during the Roman Empire. Many of the today main sightseeings belong to that period.
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