The Central Market of Tarragona, in depth: history and present

In the heart of Tarragona, capital of the Catalan province that bears its name, stands one of the most important buildings in Tarragona in the 20th century, which marked a before and after in the city’s commerce. The Central Market is presented with its architectural majesty, which has become, over the years, a meeting place and a place to buy products of excellent quality.    

We want you to learn about the history and evolution of this renowned market, as well as its architecture and surroundings, as it is one of the busiest places in the city. If you visit Tarragona at any time of the year, you should dedicate some time of your stay to discovering the virtues of this building and, at the same time, enjoy its magnificent gastronomy inside.   

With Shuttle2Sun‘s shared transfer services and private transfer services, low-cost and sustainable, you can move to the capital of the province or to any other destination on Costa Dorada, from Barcelona airport, Barcelona port, Reus airport, Girona airport and Camp de Tarragona AVE train station. Remember that you can book your transfer up to 24 hours in advance

History of the Central Market  

In order to centralise the different markets that were scattered throughout the city, the Tarragona City Council began a new project at the beginning of the 20th century to build a large market in the upper part (Part Alta) of the city.  

After an exhaustive study, in 1911 it was decided to change the location of the market to a point further away from the city, very close to Portal del Roser, where the monument to Eduard Saavedra, historian, civil engineer, archaeologist and Arabist, is currently located.  

A year later, in 1912, the City Council changed its location again, moving to Plaça del Progrés, now known as Plaça Corsini, a location that has been maintained to the present day. This new change was because they wanted the new market to be closer to the city’s expansion.   

The design of the structure of the Central Market was commissioned to the Tarragona municipal architect Josep Maria Pujol de Barberà, a renowned town planner who reflected the modernist style of the time in his works. The budget was almost 250,000 pesetas at the time, equivalent to around 1,000 euros today. 

Finally, the new Central Market of Tarragona was inaugurated on the 19th of December 1915, an event that also contributed to the development of its immediate surroundings, such as the square and the adjacent streets  

Central Market of Tarragona history present

So that you can get to Tarragona, comfortably and quickly, Shuttle2Sun offers shared transfer services and private transfer services, from Barcelona airport, Barcelona port, Reus airport, Girona airport and Camp de Tarragona AVE train station 

Modernist architecture

With a surface area of up to 2,400 square metres and, at the time, a single floor, the Central Market of Tarragona is characterised by its open-plan, single-nave space covered by a large, ribbed vault. To maintain its majestic structure, wrought iron columns were used. On the other hand, the façade of the building stands out for its large windows that bring natural light into the interior of the building.  

This magnificent facility by Josep Maria Pujol de Barberà may remind you of the El Born Market in Barcelona, by the Spanish master builder Josep Fontserè i Mestre, and the Karlsplatz metro station in Vienna, by the famous Austrian architect Otto Wagner, both in the Art Nouveau style.

Plaça Corsini Tarragona Costa Dorada

An extraordinary refurbishment in 2017

After almost 100 years since its construction, it was decided to carry out a major refurbishment of the infrastructure, by the architects Rafael Cabré Villalobos and Jesús Molina Aragonés, which took about 10 years and required an investment of 47 million euros.  

With this remodelling, its surface area has increased to 22,000 square metres, with the construction of a floor below the market, where a supermarket is located, and an underground car park. And, on the roof, a ceramic design has been created, following the original modernist style. Despite the modernisation of the building, it has managed to maintain the 20th century aesthetics, such as the metal roof and the façade.  

The new carillon clock, a real spectacle

At the main door of the market, which opens onto Plaça Corsini, you can enjoy the spectacle of the carillon clock that announces the hours of the day. This jewel, made up of different elements of the Seguici Popular (popular elements) de Tarragona, is the work of Joan Sarramià from Tarragona. You will find the Àliga, Lleó, Gegant and Geganta, Negrita and Nano Capità.   

Throughout the year, you can watch their performance and their melody version of the song ‘Amparito Roca‘, at noon and six in the evening, every day of the week. In addition, in summer, they also appear, once again, at eight o’clock in the evening.  

A gastronomic space

The Tarragona Central Market currently has around forty stands, with a wide variety of high-quality, local products, including fruit and vegetables, fish, meat and pastries, among many others. In addition to shopping, you can also enjoy fruit juices, freshly made sushi and daily menus, with a wide variety of dishes. You can also buy takeaway food, from paella to exquisite stews and salads.  

Plaça Corsini, a meeting place

Plaça Corsini, or Plaça del Mercat, has been a dynamic meeting place ever since the market opened. It is interesting to know that it used to bear another name, Plaça del Velòdrom, and at the beginning of the 20th century it was known as Plaça del Progrés 

Nowadays, this square also hosts a street market on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as the Sant Quadrat flea market, which sells antiques and exclusive objects, on Fridays. It is worth noting that during the reform of the market, both were temporarily located on Rambla Nova, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city.   

Discover the Central Market of Tarragona, moving with Shuttle2Sun‘s shared transfer services and private transfer services, low-cost and sustainable, from Barcelona airport, Barcelona port, Reus airport, Girona airport and the AVE Camp de Tarragona train station. Remember that you can book your transfer up to 24 hours in advance 

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