The Port of Tarragona has received with satisfaction the news that the Catalan Tourism Agency (ACT) has awarded the Maritime Quarters and Towns distinction to Tarragona’s Serrallo quarter. The Port of Tarragona president, Josep Maria Cruset, described it as excellent news, particularly the fact that the cultural facilities promoted by the Tarragona Port Authority helped achieve this certification jointly awarded by the Catalan Regional Government’s Tourism Agency and its Ministry of Business and Knowledge.
“Maritime Quarters and Towns” is one of the tourism promotion brands fostered by the Catalan Tourism Agency to encourage tourism as a tool for the development, economic diversification and future guarantees of the country’s cities, towns, and villages. It is one way to encourage the deseasonalisation of tourism and to achieve conciliation and equilibrium between residents and visitors/tourists.
The committee of experts responsible for evaluating and validating brand certification applications visited the Serrallo quarter on 19 June, accompanied by the Port City director, Montse Adan, and the Port Museum director, Mercè Toldrà. During their tour, the specialists from the Catalan Tourism Agency visited the Observatori Blau educational area where they were told about the Port Museum’s rehabilitation and renewed museographic project, which will make it a benchmark for the whole sector. The committee of experts was able to see the cultural commitment, projection and heritage recuperation being undertaken by the Museum and the Port of Tarragona.
In this respect, the president of the Port expressed his satisfaction that the experts’ decision had been positively influenced by the existence, tasks and activities of facilities such as the Observatori Blau, the Port Museum, the Teatret del Serrallo and the former warehouses on the Costa Wharf. Cruset stated that these facilities "constitute a contribution by the Port to the Serrallo quarter, the city and the territory that, together with the quarter’s residents, fisherfolk, social and cultural bodies and restaurateurs, has turned this area into a tourism attraction with its own character".
In it press release issued today, the Catalan Tourism Agency highlights the fact that "El Serrallo, the present-day fishing quarter of Tarragona, is a living example, full of activities that show how the links between man and the sea are experienced". It goes on to explain that "its cultural offer is as extensive as its fishing tradition and is well represented by, among other facilities, the Port Museum that proposes a journey through the history of the port and its vessels, from when the Romans first disembarked on this coast to the present-day, based on guided tours and educational and family leisure activities".
The Catalan Tourism Agency also highlights how the "Observatori Blau, the Fishermen’s Brotherhood, the Port and the residents themselves, among others, also work to keep alive the history, customs, festivities and traditions of a fishing quarter par excellence".
Finally, the president of the Port stated that "for the Port of Tarragona it is excellent news that El Serrallo is being awarded this distinction, as for us it is a much loved area to which we have devoted resources to improving the urban space and the residents’ quality of life, as well as endowing it with leisure and cultural facilities and activities to help disseminate its history and traditions".
The Serrallo, Tarragona’s fishing district, is a must for visitors thanks to its varied cuisine and its privileged location near the sea. The flow of trade through the Serrallo has led to a great culinary tradition. Its restaurants and shops, many of them almost a hundred years old, are now run by the children and grandchildren of fishermen, and preserve the maritime essence of a place whose history is forever linked to the sea.
For hundreds of years the fishermen of the Serrallo have looked to the sea, beneath the protective shade of the ancient Roman city, forever concerned about the time, the condition of the sea, or their boats, formerly beached on the sand, and later protected by the shelter of the sea wall.
At the end of the 18th century, when the Port Works Committee planned the construction of the Marina in the lower part of the city, the fishermen lived in wooden huts, or "sea shops", close to the beach where they moored their fishing boats. It was then that they moved next to the lazaretto and the old remains of the Francolí Fort. It was during the 19th century that the area began to take on the popular name of 'Serrallo'; a name which is believed to have its origins in the serrals, as the fishermen of the day called the rocks close to the coast. Today the word Serrallo is a watchword that refers to one of the most typically Mediterranean areas of Catalonia. The Serrallo is an emblematic part of the city of Tarragona, a little gem of the Mediterranean coast.
Throughout its history the Port of Tarragona has been closely linked to the Serrallo, with which it maintains very strong ties. The fishing district has undergone a logical development over the years, in tandem with the port installations with which it has coexisted in harmony. The institutions in charge of managing the Port, initially the Tarragona Port Works Committee and now the Tarragona Port Authority, have always taken it into consideration. Recent initiatives have helped to shape the Serrallo area into the remarkable neighbourhood we see today; a place where Catalonia’s most important fishing fleet docks and operates, and home to a thriving community with a real marine character and essence.
The immediate surroundings of the Port of Tarragona are home to a community that is actively involved in promoting our city. You can access further information in the various sources you will find below, and immerse yourself in the activities organised throughout the year and especially during the local festivals held in each neighbourhood.