Visit Baelo Claudia - 2nd
Century BC Roman City near Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz, Spain
the outskirts of Tarifa, close to the village of Bolonia on the Costa de
la Luz, lies a fascinating Roman city dating back to the 2nd century BC
called Baelo Claudia.
The ancient Roman town is located
22 kilometers (14 miles) outside of the city of Tarifa, right on the dunes
of the village of Bolonia. On the shores of the Straits of Gibraltar, the
town was originally a fishing village and also a North African trade link,
settled around 2,000 years ago.
At the time of Emperor Claudius
the town was thought to be very prosperous, as it was a major port for
Tangier in Mauretania Tingitana (now Morocco) and also supplied salted
tuna fish, garum and other products to various other Roman cities close
In fact, the city was so
successful that it was granted the title of "municipium" by Emperor Claudius.
However, over the years the
town declined, mainly as a result of several earthquakes, damage from which
is evident in the ruins today. There were also problems with hordes of
pirates, both Celtic and Barbary and the town was eventually abandoned
in the 6th century.
On arrival, guests enter
through the museum building, where there are impressive displays of various
Roman artifacts and also information about the ruins themselves.
You can then do a walking
tour of the major attractions in the Roman city. The first thing you will
come across one of three aqueducts in the city, used to bring water into
Next visit is to the Forum
Square, pretty much like town squares today. As you walk along
the pathways, you come across the residential areas, Roman baths, shopping
areas and pretty well preserved Roman roadways, which make you wonder if
our roads could stand up so well after 2,000 years!
Near the beach can be found
the fish salting factory, with its many bins. This area was also used for
the production of garum, a fermented fish sauce used as a condiment in
the cuisines of ancient Greece, Rome, and Byzantium.
Next stop is the Roman amphitheater,
the heart of the city's entertainment area, which has been partially restored.
Close by are various temples.
one to the Egyptian goddess Isis, as well as temples to Juno, Jupiter,
god has its own individual temple, instead of one temple dedicated to them
collectively, although they shared an altar; the only other Roman town
believed to have a similar arrangement is Sbeitla in Tunisia.
In the museum:
Either at the beginning or
end of your tour, the museum is a very worthy browse, as it has many well
preserved artifacts on view and plenty of information about the site.
You can see a mock-up of
how the city would probably have looked 2,000 years ago and also details
of the original archaeologists that worked on the site.
More photos are included
in the video above, and more information on the area can
be found here.