Founded in the VI century B.C. and starting its decay on the I century D.C., the excavation site of these ancient ruins offer a nice landscape to travel to the past with your mind.
Emporion was a Greek and roman city situated in the north of Catalonia. From this old city it only remains some ruins. It was founded by Greek traders in the year 575 B.C. At the beginning was nothing more than a commercial post, for long-distance commerce with the east of the Mediterranean Sea, but with time the city grew to be the largest Greek colony in what is nowadays Spain. Between the II and I century B.C., Romans started a settlement close to the Greek Emporion. Despite being two different cities, with time they became one under the control of Rome. The history of Emporion will start its decay during the I century D.C., due to the rise of two cities: Tarraco (nowadays Tarragona, for a short time capital of the Roman Empire) and Barcino (Barcelona). With short time the city was abandoned and buildings collapsed.
Emporion will rise again somehow at the beginning of the XX century, due to the archaeological excavations. Excavations are still going on nowadays and it is estimated that only 20% of the city has been re-discovered. Although no buildings have resisted the pass of time (besides the city walls), you can have a nice feeling of how was the city walking through the ruins. I have visited the place several times, and my favorite spots are in the upper city, the roman sector. There you can find some mosaic floors and the rests of the city walls. In the city walls there is a carved penis, not the result of vandalism but carved by the Romans as a way of giving strength to the walls… crazy Romans you might think, but seeing that the walls are one of the few structures that have not fall down after so many centuries makes you want to carve penises all around your house!
After the visit to the ruins, you can take some time to go to the beach… just in front of the ruins you have a nice one, where you can find also a breakwater Greek formation. If you go by car, you can leave it in the parking of the excavations: with the entrance fee to the ruins you are allowed to park your car and leave for two hours to the beach… a nice way of refreshing yourself if you make the visit during a warm day!
If you want more information you can check the official webpage: http://www.mac.cat/esl/Seus/Empuries. Unfortunately, there is only Spanish or Catalan versions of the page. The site opens all year at 10 am and closes at 6 pm (October to may) or 8 pm (June to September). Price for the access (includes parking for the car) is 3 euros. A visit is worth!
Note: Photos were taken with a LC-A and a Horizon camera. Films used were Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Elitechrome 100 and Kodak 400 Ultra Color. All of them were processed in a lab in Halifax (http://www.carsand.com/filmrelatedservices.html) and scans were made with an Epson perfection V700.