The Cathedral of Tarragona is a Roman Catholic church in Tarragona. It is located in a site previously occupied by a Roman temple dating to the time of Tiberius, a Visigothic cathedral and a Moorish mosque, it was declared a national monument in 1905. There are scarce informations about the origins of the church. A chapter is known to have existed in Tarragona in the late 11th century, but the current edifice was built only from 1154 by order of archbishop Bernat Tort, according to the Augustinian rule, to be entrusted to monks from the monastery of St. Rufus in Avignon. The original, early 12th century cathedral had perhaps a single nave and a large apse, and was in Romanesque style. At the time attention was posed to defensive elements, such as the massive bell tower, annexed to the sacristy. A new project was launched in 1195, changing the church's plan to a basilica one, adding two aisles and a transept with four new secondary apses, covered by cross vaults in Gothic style. The construction benefited of donations from bishops and kings Alfonso II and Peter IV of Aragon. Part of the new edifice was opened to worship under bishop Aspàreg de la Barca (1215-1234). In 1250 Pedro de Albalat ordered the construction of a tower-dome over the transept and in 1277 Bartolomeu de Gerona was commissioned the realization of the entrance gate. The tympanum and the apostles figures of the latter are however were executed by Jaume Cascalls and his workshop (including Jordi de Déu ) around 1375. The new cathedral was consecrated by archbishop Juan of Aragon and Anjou, son of king James II, in 1331. Works of restorations of the cathedral were carried on in 1999-2001. During them, traces of a temple dedicated to the Roman emperor Augustus were found, situated under the nave.
The cathedral is in transitional style from the Romanesque to the Gothic one. It has a basilica plan with a nave and two aisles, a transept with unequal arms, three semicircular apses with deep presbyteries. The apse has three windows in the lower part, and other seven in the upper one, of ogival shape. The nave has a height of 26 meters at the dome, a length and a width of 16.5 m, while the aisles are 13 m height and 8.25 m wide. The length on the main axle is 101 meters. The nave and the aisles are covered by cross vaults whose ribs are supported by cruciform pilasters annexed to columns; the capitals of the latter feature Moorish motifs. The octagonal tower-dome was built in the mid-13th century, and is cross-vaulted. The presbytery and the apse have kept a notable Romanesque pavement, formed by plaques of stone and marble of different colors in geometrical patterns. The stalls of the choir were made by the Zaragozan artist Francisco Gomar in the 15th century, in oak wood. The western side was dismantled and is now in a museum. The organ is from the late 16th century, designed by the architect Jaume Amigó.
The Gothic bell tower is located over the southern smaller apse, and was commissioned by bishop Roderic Tello (1289-1308). It has a prism plan enclosed in a octagonal one. The upper part (14th century) is composed of two floors, the first featuring pinnacles and windows. Over the latter is a small temple, realized in 1511, housing the bells. The bell tower has a total height of 70 meters.