"Cultural Heritage: From classic ruins to living landscape"

Location: Tarragona, Spain
Dates: TBD
Credit Hours: 3 credits
UB Study Abroad

Led by Dr. Jaume Franquesa in the Department of Anthropology, the program aims to explore the multidimensional character of cultural heritage, combining experiential and academic engagement with the historical, archaeological and cultural heritage of Tarragona, Spain and its surrounding region.

Students will get first-hand knowledge of several forms of cultural heritage:

  • Roman and Medieval built environment of Tarragona and its immediate hinterland
  • Cultural, agrarian landscapes and vernacular architecture of the region
  • Multiple forms of heritage and urban pressures coexisting in Barcelona
  • Cultural value of its food and traditions
  • Archaeological and commemorative remains of the Spanish Civil War

About Tarragona

Tarragona is located in the Spanish region of Catalonia on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. With 150,000 inhabitants, Tarragona is at the center of the second urban agglomeration in Catalonia, just behind Barcelona, a major European city situated 60 miles to the north.

Tarragona was one of the most important towns in Roman Spain and the whole of the Western Roman Empire, and archaeological and monumental remains from that period and successive historical periods are exceptionally well preserved. In 2000, UNESCO designated Tarragona’s archaeological ensemble as World Heritage.

The city of Tarragona and its surrounding region is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean. The region is also famous for its outstanding agricultural produce, wines and cultural and culinary tradition. The most spectacular of these cultural forms, human towers called castells that are built during traditional festivities, has recently been designated by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The region is also known for the beauty of its agrarian landscapes; one of them, the wine country of Priorat, is currently being considered for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Academic Program

Through this experiential learning engagement, students will learn about recent developments in heritage management, current theoretical debates around the notion of cultural heritage, new concepts influencing the field (such as landscape, memory and terroir), and the challenges and pressures that cultural heritage preservation faces from industry, urbanization and tourism.

APY 321/515 will consist of lectures, guided field trips, visits to museums, and invited talks. Local officials and heritage practitioners will offer lectures highlighting the complexities of cultural heritage management, and scholarly specialists will guide students in their field trips and visits. Lectures will take place at the Catalan Institute of Classic Archaeology (ICAC), located in the heart of Tarragona’s old town. Students earn 3 credits for completing APY 321/515.

  • Excursion 1: Half-day excursion to explore Roman archaeological and monumental remains in Tarragona’s immediate hinterland.
  • Excursion 2: Two-day excursion to Barcelona. The excursion will include a guided tour through Barcelona’s historic center and visits to several locations of the City’s History Museum.
  • Excursion 3: Daylong excursion to the county of Priorat (about 20 miles west of Tarragona). The excursion will include a visit to a wine cellar and meetings with heritage experts leading the candidacy for the county and its landscape to be designated a World Heritage Site.
  • Excursion 4: Daylong excursion to the Spaces of the Battle of the Ebro, in Terra Alta (around Fatarella). This will include visits to museums dealing with the memory of the Spanish Civil war.


During their time in Spain, students will live and dine at Hotel Ubris Centre in Tarragona (breakfast and dinner provided). Students will also spend 4 nights in the small village of Fatarella, located in the heartland of Tarragona’s wine region about 40 miles west of Tarragona. The quality of the food is outstanding as this region is famous for its culinary tradition and the freshness of its produce.

Admission Requirements

Applications are welcome from undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at any accredited US college or university with an interest in Anthropology, Archaeology, Planning, Cultural Heritage Studies, Architecture, Sociology, Geography, Art and Art History. A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 is required.

Estimated Costs

All students will pay a program fee that covers SUNY tuition for 3 credit hours, housing in a hotel with breakfast and dinner, cultural activities and excursions, invited talks, and administrative fees. Additional expenses include SUNY home campus fees, roundtrip airfare, local transportation and personal expenses.