1811 was a terrible year for Tarragona. From the 5 May to the 29 June the city suffered a historic siege which came to a head when the Napoleonic troops broke through the fortification of the city storming the streets; this gave start of a horrific slaughter in which thousands, including civilians, lost their life – an event still remembered to this days.
I took decades for Tarragona to recover and every year a procession takes place and lights are placed across each step leading up to the Cathedral, symbolizing all those who lost their life; it’s a very powerful moment.
Two years ago, as part of the bicentenary of the siege, a full re-enactment took place carried out by history enthusiasts, and this week saw the gathering of historians exploring the thematic of the event through seminars and small scale re-enactments. It offered a fascinating insight in to the strategy of oppression, armor, and the tactics of the times; for a moment, as the muskets were loaded and aimed to the crowd or of happy snapping tourists, there was a gasp, a recollection of the horror that was just about to unfold on that very place back in 1811.
Above footage of the historic re-enactment in the streets of Tarragona in 2011