Spain’s best Roman ruins

August 25th, 2010

The Romans first came to Spain in 206BC. The country stayed under their occupation for nearly 700 years. Although it took almost two centuries to have Spain fully under their control, the Romans left an indelible mark on the country. Here are some of Spain’s best Roman ruins.

Italica

The Roman city of Italica lies near Seville. It is one of the largest Roman sites in Spain. A town of huge importance during the Roman times, the excavation work may never be compete as it covers such a large area.

A treasure trove of artefacts, including one of the largest Roman amphitheatres in Europe. Several Roman houses were also particularly well preserved. Of particular note were the floor mosaics found within them.

Some of the better examples have been moved to the Palace of the Countess of Lebrija in the center of Seville. Italica was the birthday place of many famous Romans, including Emperor Hadrian.

Baelo Claudia

Just next to the beautiful village of Bolonia on Andaluica’s Atlantic coast, in the province of Cadiz. Sit what is left of the Roman town of Baelo Claudia. Historically it was an important link between Spain and Africa.

Baelo Claudia was also an important fish salting center for the Romans. Destroyed by an earthquake in the 2nd century AD. Today’s ruins include a forum, an amphitheatre, the city’s main street and some huge fish-salting pits.

Merida

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Merida used to be the capital of the Lusitania region. Dating from 25BC, it is now the capital of Extremadura. It possesses the most amount of Roman ruins of any city in Spain. The Trajan archway, Puente Romano (Roman bridge), aqueduct of Los Milagros, the Mitreo vila, the temple of Diana, to name but a few.

The city is literally littered with well preserved ruins. Indeed the impressive Roman amphitheatre and theatre are still in use today. Another place of interest is Alcazaba fort, which, as with so many monuments in Spain, is influenced by Moorish designs as well. Originally built by the Romans, the Moors added to it.

Toledo


To the South of Madrid, sitting on top a hill is Toledo. One time capital of Spain, the city of was of great importance during Roman times. The Alacabaza fort is built on top of a Roman fortress. The impressive Alcantara Bridge is still in use today. A large Roman city wall is also of note. There are also remains of huge Roman circus, said to be one of the largest of its time and very similar in style to Circus Maximus in Rome.

Segovia

Segovia’s most impressive monument is without a doubt its Roman aqueduct. Dating from the 1st Century AD and standing at 29m at its highest point. The whole structure is held together by gravity and the weight of the blocks, there was no mortar used whatsoever. 728 meters long with 167 arches. The aqueduct is in such good condition, that is still used today to carry water into the city, albeit in modern pipes.

Tarragona

During the 3rd century BC, Tarragona was the capital of the largest province in Roman Spain. The most impressive Roman monument being the an aqueduct known as the El Puente del Diablo “The Devil’s Bridge.” Sitting just a few kilometres to the North of Tarragona. The city itself offers a wealth of remnants of the Roman occupation.

John Kramer
Posted by John Kramer
John is the marketing and content manager for Spain-holiday.com. Having travelled extensively, John settled in a small Spanish village over fourteen years ago. Interested in anything to do with the outdoors, sports, current affairs, travel and new technologies. John loves nothing more than losing himself in the mountains for a few days.

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