The city of the Renaissance
Find again the splendor of the 16th century
Discover a unique Renaissance set
The history of Tortosa has always been influenced by the link between the Ebro river and the Mediterranean Sea. Historically, it has always been a multicultural city linked to the world by water. The city’s privileged geographical location and the Ebro Valley’s fertility, described by Cristòfor Despuig in Los Col·loquis de la insigne ciutat de Tortosa (“The Colloquia of the Distinguished City of Tortosa”), have been key to the city’s economy and wealth throughout history. Tortosa became the most important cultural and artistic centre of Renaissance Catalonia in the 16th century. Six presidents of the Catalan government had close links to Tortosa during that century.
The Renaissance style was not popular in Catalonia and few examples exist there. However, curiously, the movement enjoyed a golden age in Tortosa. There are two major areas where this movement enjoyed success: literature, in the work of Cristòfor Despuig; and architecture, with the Royal Colleges, unique and enchanting examples of the Renaissance in Catalonia. The Royal Colleges include the College of Sant Jaume and Sant Maties, the College of Sant Jordi and Sant Domènec and the Church of Sant Domènec, which at the moment also serves as the headquarters of the Renaissance Interpretation Centre. It also houses the historical archive, which was built in 1574
The importance and unique nature of Tortosa’s 16th-century buildings prompted the municipality to launch the Renaissance Festival in 1995. This festival involves the historical recreation of the era and has become the city’s main tourist attraction over the years. During the four days of the festival, which takes place during the third weekend of July, the city’s streets are crowded, and thousands of people dressed in period costumes participate in a packed programme of performances, parades, Renaissance-inspired meals and markets selling a wide range of products. Immersing yourself in the Renaissance Festival is an experience not to be missed.