Tortosa is located at 12 metres (39 feet) above sea level, by the Ebro river, protected on its northern side by the mountains of the Cardó Massif, of which Buinaca, one of the highest peaks, is located within Tortosa's municipal boundary.
Before Tortosa, across the river, rise the massive Ports de Tortosa-Beseit mountains. The area around Mont Caro and other high summits are often covered with snow in the winter.
The municipality includes a small exclave to the west.
Tortosa (from Latin: Dertusa or Dertosa, via Arabic: ?urshah) is probably identical to the ancient Hibera, capital of Ilercavonia. This may be the ancient settlement the remains of which have been found on the hill named Castillo de la Zuda. In Roman times, the town took the name Dertosa (Ancient Greek: ).
The city was conquered by the Count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona in 1148, as part of the Second Crusade. Because of the crusading appeal made by Pope Eugene III and his representative Nicholas Brakespear (the future Pope Hadrian IV), the siege received the aid of crusaders from multiple nationalities (Genovese, Anglo-Normans, Normans, Occitans, Germans, Flemish and Dutch), who were on their way to the Holy Land. The siege of Tortosa was narrated by the Genovese chronicler and diplomat Caffaro.
After its conquest, the city and its territory were divided among the victors, with multiple lands being granted to foreign crusaders and to the military and religious orders.
Formerly there was a railway line between Tortosa and Alcañiz, opening a communication gate between this region and Aragon. Construction work began in 1891, but it was haphazard and the first trains between Alcañiz and Tortosa began only in 1942. The last stretch between Tortosa and Sant Carles de la Ràpita was never completed before the line was terminated by RENFE in 1973.
Castle of Sant Joan, or Suda, commanding the city from a 59-metre-high (194-foot) hill. Though the Romans were the first to fortify the place, the current structure dates to Muslim Caliph Abd ar-Rahman III. After the conquest by Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, in 1148, it became a residence of the Montcada and the Knights Templar, and from the 13th century it became a royal mansion.
The Royal Schools. Founded by Charles V for the education of the Moors, are one of the best examples of Renaissance civil architecture in Catalonia. The architectural known as the Royal Colleges will consist of three buildings:
The College of Sant Jaume i Sant Maties (it currently houses the local historical archive of Baix Ebre),
the College of Sant Domènec i Sant Jordi,
the church of Sant Domènec (now the Renaissance Interpretation Centre).
Convent of Santa Clara, founded in 1283.
The Rose street: Despuig Palace (14th century), Oriol Palace and Capmany Palace.
Oliver de Boteller Palace (15th century)
Walls and fortresses: Tenasses, Sitjar, Orleans...
Architecture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Municipal market, the old municipal slaughterhouse (Museum of Tortosa), Montagut Palace, house Pilar Fontanet, Temple of Repair, house Lamote (Siboni), house Brunet, Sabate clinic, house Ballester, house Bernardo Grego, house Pallares, house Camós, house Llorca, Teodoro González municipal park, etc.
The Prince's Gardens, Santiago de Santiago's outdoor Sculpture Museum.
The Renaissance Interpretation Centre (Church of Sant Domènec-The Royal Schools)
The Holy Week Interpretation Center (Centre d'Interpretació de la Setmana Santa) is located in St. Anthony Abbot's Church.
Tortosa, city of the Renaissance
Tortosa Renaissance Festival. Over 3,000 citizens in period costumes and 60 shows a day with over 500 actors transport us to the Tortosa of 500 years ago. In the second half of July, Tortosa celebrates the Renaissance Festival. Under the title the Splendour of a 16th Century City, the Festival commemorates, through a wide range of cultural and recreational activities, the historical period of the 16th century, one of the most interesting periods in our city's existence.
Ports de Tortosa-Beseit. This mountains that lie between Catalonia, Valencia and Aragon, are part of a limestone massif, characterised by its abrupt cliff faces, which has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times.
Tortosa has a hot-summer mediterranean climate (Csa) in the Köppen climate classification. Tortosa enjoys a very warm climate for its latitude. Even considering it's located at miles inland from the coastline, this mostly happens because the city lies on the delta of the Ebro river, which acts as a natural barrier against cold fronts. Albeit being a Mediterranean climate, winter months have less precipitation than autumn (common pattern in eastern Spain), but there is still a substantial summer drought.
Climate data for Tortosa 50m (1981-2010). Extremes (1920-)