Roman aqueduct Segovia

Roman heritage in Spain

Discover the best Roman sites in Spain

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Roman and classical  Spain

1. Spain's best classical antiquities

Temple of Diana, Merida
Mérida, Extremadura  - the Temple of Diana.
Hispania was an important part of the Roman Empire. The Romans were present in Hispania for over six centuries, during which time they established the Iberian peninsula as a major part of their Empire. Roman rule lasted until the fifth century, when Spain was taken over by the Visigoths as the Roman empire in the west went into decline. Spain was, for the Romans, an important source of metals and of wool, and thus a major player in the economy of the Roman empire. The Romans established towns and settlements throughout Hispania, and  significant Roman remains can be found in many different regions.
   While sites such as the aqueduct at Segovia and the many Roman remains at Merida or Tarragona have been well-known for centuries, other sites are still only being brought to light in the twenty-first century. Though archeological excavations have been carried out for many years on the Roman villa at Noheda, near Cuenca, it is only recently that the full extent of the fine mosaics has been revealed. Near Palencia, the remains of the La Olmeda villa were not properly excavated until 1968; its fine late Roman mosaics have now been properly preserved and are on public view.
 
Charioteer mosaic Merida
Detail of the exquisite charioteer mosaic, Museum of antiquity, Mérida

Major Roman sites in Spain

Roman theatre Merida
Mérida - the Roman theatre
  • Merida (Extremadura) : (UNESCO world heritage site) -  Capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, Mérida boasts the finest ensemble of Roman remains in Spain. Roman amphitheatre, arena, temple to Diana, villa, long Roman bridge and well-preserved stadium, plus the aqueduct of Los Milagros on the outskirts of the city. Spanish national museum of classical antiquity
  • Segovia (Castilla y Leon) : (UNESCO world heritage site) - Roman aqueduct (photo top) - still in use today.
  • Tarragona (Catalunya): (UNESCO world heritage site) In town: Roman amphitheatre, Praetorian tower, Roman circus. Out of town:  Roman aqueduct, located on the northern outskirts of town, and also the Roman triumphal arch Arco de Berà / de Bara, located on the old Via Augusta 20 km northeast of Tarragona.
  • Italica (near Seville, Andalucia) : Large archaeological site, with impressive Roman amphitheatre and mosaics
  • Alcantara (Extremadura) : very fine Roman bridge over the river Tagus (photo below). This bridge has remained in virtually continuous use since Roman times, and today carries road traffic.
  • Toledo (Castilla la Mancha) : The Alcantara Roman bridge over the Tagus
    (Several tourism websites confuse these two bridges, or consider them to be the same bridge; they are about 300 km apart)
Continued below
 Find places to stay near major Roman sites in Spain
About-Spain.net is partnered with Booking.com to bring you best rates on hotels. Check out the following areas :
 Segovia    Mérida    Toledo    Alcantara    A Coruña
 Ampurias    Las Médulas    Tarragona    Other areas

    • Lugo (Galicia) : Roman walls - reputedly the world's  finest surviving example of Roman city walls.
    • Ampurias
      Remains of the Roman city at at Ampurias
    • Ampurias / Empúries (Catalonia) : It was here on the Mediterranean coast, on what is now the Costa Brava, that the Romans first established a foothold in Hispania. Remains of a Roman city, near L'Escala
    • Baelo Claudia (Andalucia) : remains of a Roman city on the Atlantic coast, 22 km northwest of Tarifa. Basilica, Roman theatre, and other civil buildings including an interesting fish-salting works.
    • A Coruña (Galicia) : (UNESCO world heritage site) The Tower of Hercules - Roman lighthouse in service since the second century. Renovated in 1791, but still essentially a Roman building.
    • Las Médulas (Castile and León)  (UNESCO world heritage site) Near Ponferrada in the region of El Bierzo, once the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire. Impressive landscapes and exhibits.
    • Segobriga, near Tarancon (Castile la Mancha) - In the middle of the countryside 100 km southeast of Madrid, Segobriga is one of Spain's surprisingly little-known historic sites. The partly excavated Roman town has a well-preserved amphitheatre and theatre, plus many more remains as well as a small interpretive centre / museum.
    • Near Cuenca  (Castile la Mancha) - The Roman Villa at Noheda . Recently uncovered, a large villa complex with some of the finest Roman mosaics in the world. Visits by appointment : a museum is being built.
    Roman bridge at Alcantara, Extremadura
    The Roman bridge over the Tagus at Alcántara, Extremadura.... still in use


    Continue to...  
      Moorish Spain   -   Roman Spain  -  Castles in Spain
    Other pages of interest :   Travel in Spain  -  Food and eating in Spain
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    Top photo: Roman aqueduct, Segovia
      Not surprisingly, given the fact that Roman civilisation lasted in Hispania for over six centuries, there are Roman remains all over Spain, many of them unreferenced in all but the most detailed and local tourist guides. One such location is Segobriga – the extensive remains of a Roman town with theatre, well-preserved amphitheatre, and vestiges of other Roman edifices, now in the middle of nowhere 100 km southeast of Madrid. Another is Coria, in Extremadura well off the tourist trail, which has some well preserved Roman city walls. 
      This page is an introduction to the best Roman sites in Spain, and also to some of those that are a lot less well-known

    Amphitheatre Tarragona
    Seaside amphitheatre at Tarragona, Catalunya
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