Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean, a hundred kilometers in the south of Barcelona. It is the second metropolitan zone of Catalonia considering the number of inhabitants and the economic activity, mainly based on chemical industries and tourism. The city’s population is currently about 140.000 people.
The Roman ruins of Tarraco have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and some of them are located just in the city centre, conforming an exceptional place.
On the other side of the river Francolí, there are 11 working-class neighborhoods called the Barris de Ponent. They were built by the migrants from the south of Spain (Andalucía, Murcia, Extremadura) who came to Tarragona to work in the chemical industry, which was born in the 1950 to 1970’s decades. As this growth was not pretty well planned, Tarragona had a chaotic urban development.
In more recent years, new migrants have come to live into the Barris de Ponent, people from Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. This was and still is a cultural shock. There is also an important gipsy community.
The language is another important issue in Tarragona. In Catalonia and Tarragona, more than 50% of the people are used to speak Catalan, while in the Barris de Ponent everybody is used to speak Spanish. The institutional information and public signalization are at least delivered in Catalan, but often in both languages.