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Salou / Information / Tortosa, city of three cultures

The Royal Colleges of Tortosa

C. Sant Domènec, 12
43500 Tortosa
Telephone: 977 44 46 68
The Royal Colleges and the Renaissance Interpretation Centre


From May 1 to September 30:

  • Closed on Mondays.
  • From Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 13:30 pm and from 16:30 to 19:30 h
  • Sundays and holidays: 10 am to 13:30 pm

Rest of the year:

  • Closed on Mondays.
  • From Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 13:30 pm and from 15:30 to 18:30 h
  • Sundays and holidays: 11 am to 13:30 pm
  • On 25 and 26 December and 1 January, the Renaissance Interpretation Centre will be closed.


Founded by Charles V for the education of the Moors, are one of the best collections of Renaissance civil architecture in Catalonia. The courtyard is considered unique in the country, has represented the busts of the kings of the Crown of Aragon from Ramon Berenguer IV to Philip IV. The church houses the Renaissance Interpretation Centre. The center is a space that embodies the Renaissance period in a continuous activity, which in turn manages and disseminates the heritage created during the years of existence of the Renaissance Festival, historical reenactment event.


Tortosa, in the sixteenth century, was one of the most important cities in Catalonia, and had a school for the training of Dominican theologians, fame which led the government to build another school annex for the formation of New Christians. Both would be known by the name of Royal Colleges of Tortosa and become the embryo of future college where you could get a PhD in Theology and degree in Philosophy and Art. The architectural group known as the Royal Colleges consists of three buildings: the Colegio of Sant Jaume and Sant Maties, the Colegio de Sant Domènech and Sant Jordi, and the church of Sant Domènech (today Interpretive Center of Renaissance).

Colegio of Sant Jaume and Sant Maties

Presents a simple strong facade, which access the portal focuses receiving treatment a pronounced monumental. In the central part represents the imperial crest of its founder, Carlos I. The figures of Sant Jaume and Sant Maties, school patterns appear within niches surmounted by the figure of an angel, Guardian Angel, patron of the city. Particular highlights are the playground structure, fully Italian, with a rich iconography that celebrates the monarchy, by the sculptor Francisco Montehermoso.

The parapet of the second gallery becomes a frieze carved with effigies and shields of the royal couples of the Crown of Aragon from Ramon Berenguer IV and Peronella of Aragon to Philip III and Margaret of Austria. In the spandrels of the first gallery are busts of what could be Jews and Moors, and in the second, the image within medallions efigiada prophets and apostles. The symbols of the evangelists are represented on the ground floor of the courtyard, while in the second gallery, on the outside, and occupying the corners, there are four cases as personifications of the winds.

This building, also called overhead College, originally devoted to the instruction of the children of converts as part of the strategy designed by the Crown in order to evangelize and assimilate culturally to the Moors. Today it houses the Historical Archive of the Terres de l'Ebre

Colegio de Sant Jordi and Sant Domènech

It seems that the author of the traces of the building was Martin Garcia de Mendoza, master builder of the cathedral of Tortosa between 1581 and 1615, and one of the leading architects of the territory of the diocese during the Renaissance. Even he was called to give his opinion as an expert in numerous buildings, including the Palace of the Generalitat de Barcelona. The original building are preserved only some specific elements.

Stresses the doorway, inspired by the work of Sebastiano Serlio, which is an inscription indicating its function Sapientae Domus (House of Wisdom). The upper body is chaired by the shield of Philip II. The arch of the entrance is flanked by the heraldry of the Dominicans. Originally dedicated to the study of theology, and also known as Colegio below, after the secularization of 1835 the convent was used as a military barracks and suffered the effects of the civil war in 1936.
Currently it is the seat of the Official School of Languages.

Church of Sant Domènech

The church was built in the sixteenth century, after the buildings mentioned above. It has a single cruise ship without side chapels between the buttresses. Stresses the doorway decorated by sculptures of great quality, who were beheaded in the nineteenth century. The portal is surmounted by episcopal arms of the founder, Bishop Izquierdo. Inside the church, in front of the chancel, gravestones found Baltasar Sorió, Cathedral reader, and Juan Izquierdo, bishop of Tortosa for 1574-1585, the main drivers of the foundation and construction of the Royal Colleges.

We also found other items that were not part of the original set from the former home of the City. Presiding over the nave found the old file cabinet Tortosa. Importantly it symbolic value which refers to the origins of municipal archives, as well as interior decoration with the coat of Tortosa and the presence of the Guardian Angel, patron of the city.

Recessed in the inner wall of the current exit onto Plaza Mossén Sol found the doorway of the study the old town hall for the building built in the sixteenth century Ciutat Street, which was demolished in 1915. With the seizure of 1835, and the disappearance of the order of the Dominicans, the church was occupied by military units until 1910, when it was recovered by the municipality to locate there the Museum-Archive of the city, which is currently located in the school building of Sant Jaume and Sant Maties.

Renaissance Interpretation Centre

The Renaissance Interpretation Centre is located in the church of Sant Domènech, which was built in the sixteenth century, after the other two buildings of the Royal Colleges. This center manages and disseminates throughout the year, and continuously the Renaissance Festival, history and heritage and cultural legacy of the city and the territory during this period and prolonged contact with the citizens and visitors all year.

Tags: delta del ebro, tortosa, tortosa, ebro river, renaissance festivals, jewish tortosa, tortosa easter week, royal colleges
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