Architecture - Roman

Roman

When the Romans invaded in the 1st century AD they proceeded to build whole towns and innumerable monuments, as well as roads, bridges and aqueducts. The two significant characteristics of their architecture are the arch and the dome, along with the sense of space and grandeur. Their continuous improvement in the use of a primitive kind of concrete has meant that some of their constructions are still standing to this day.

Roman aqueducts, bridges and baths can be found throughout Andalucía. One example is the bridge at Alhama de Almería or the Aqueduct near Amuñécar, built to carry minerals from the mountains to the coast; another the underground aqueduct in the city of Huelva with parts of the same one visible above ground in the nearby town of Niebla. The baths of La Hedionda near Manilva, constructed over natural sulphur springs, are said to have been used by the Roman troops and their horses, and even Julius Caesar himself. And in the east of the province of Sevilla, near Écija, much can be seen of the original Baños Romanos de La Luisiana.

For an idea of urban Roman architecture on a grand scale, Itálica is the place to visit. Situated at Santiponce near Sevilla, the city was founded in the year 206, but as a result of the Guadalquivir riverbed shifting, it was left high and dry a few centuries later. As it became isolated, Sevilla gained importance and since no major town was built over Itálica its infrastructure is unusually well preserved. And on a much smaller scale, Baelo Claudia is another fascinating location.

The Villa Romana ‘El Ruedo’ at Almedinilla near Priego de Córdoba, built in the 1st century AD, is considered one of the most complete Roman town houses on the Iberian peninsula. Many of its walls and arches are intact and the richness of its paintings and mosaics is stunning. And to see one of the most comprehensive examples of a Roman necropolis, go to Carmona. Situated just outside the walled city, this collective burial chamber covers a large area and many of its chambers have been excavated and preserved since it was discovered at the end of the 19th century.

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