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Some of Roman landmarks in Portugal are more than 2,000 years old and have resisted the passage of centuries, being the target of admiration today. Conímbriga is one of the most spectacular.
But from North to South the presence of the Romans is evident, to the delight of the supporters of storyarchaeology, architecture or curiosities in general.
Among villages, mines, bridges and even dams, some of the Roman monuments in our country are still standing, or at least significant remains of them, which says a lot about the quality and advanced construction techniques of this people.
Conímbriga: the genius of the Romans
About 15 kilometers from Coimbra, we find the ruins of Conímbriga, one of the most visited places in the country, due to its historical significance and for being one of the best studied ruins in the country.
The Romans arrived in the region around the 1st century BC, at a time when the region was already inhabited by other peoples, but it was the Roman influence that brought other habits and customs, among which is agricultural production. And, from that time, the remains and ruins of a “city” remain, which gives us indications that the Romans were a few big steps ahead in terms of development.
The Ruins of Conimbriga have been known since the 16th century. In 1873, the Institute of Coimbra created a section and a Museum of Archeology and began the study of the site. In 1899, he carried out the first major soundings, drew up the plan for the oppidum and carried out the first mosaic surveys.
From 1929, excavations began in Conimbriga and with the XI International Congress of Anthropology and Prehistory and in 1930, the State acquired the first land. In the 1940s and 1950s, restoration and consolidation works were carried out on the ruins, and the Monographic Museum of Conimbriga was created in 1962.
Archaeological excavations uncovered a very significant part of the layout of this city, allowing visitors to the Ruins to verify the laborious urban planning that was attentive to all needs: the forum, the aqueduct, the commercial, industrial and housing districts. , an inn, several baths, the amphitheater, the walls for circumscribing and defending the city.
From this set, a neighborhood of rich manor houses stands out – which is diametrically opposed to the insulae of the plebs, due to the complexity of its construction and decorative refinement – where “A Casa dos Repuxos” stands out, with a large landscaped peristyle and paved with polychrome mosaics, preserved in situdisplaying mythological, geometric motifs, or representing, quite simply, everyday reality.
other vestiges of the romans in portugal
Mines Serra de Valongo, Valongo
This Roman site is particularly appreciated in the region, namely by the Clube de Montanhismo Alto Relevo, which believes that in the basement of Valongo, Paredes and Gondomar there is “the largest Roman mining complex in the world”.
To do so, they are based on “reports by specialists in Roman mining (who) point out that Valongo has the largest Roman mining complex in terms of primary mining, that is, underground. And the Roman mining area extends to Paredes and Gondomar. Our objective is to provide the (scientific) studies on the complex so that it can be classified”.
This non-governmental organization develops its activity in the area of the environment and, to this end, carries out speleological studies in the mountains. It was in one of these actions north of Santa Justa that they discovered “hundreds of cavities with around 20 centuries of existence, which constitute the present mark on a past dedicated to the exploitation of ore.”
Baths of Sao Pedro do Sul
Located on the left bank of the Vouga River, the base of these high-quality spas was initially built by the Romans, which is why it was initially known as the “Roman balneum”, namely in the early years of the 1st century of the Christian era.
From those times, there are “remains of a swimming pool, sections of shafts and capitals of large columns and tombstones with inscriptions”. In 1152, D. Afonso Henriques recognized the town’s growing importance and, as such, granted it its first charter, which made it ascend to the status of county. And proof of the importance of the Termas de São Pedro do Sul is such that the king himself chose it as a place of recovery after a broken leg suffered in the Battle of Badajoz.
The Roman city of Ammaia was only rediscovered in the last century. Since then, it has been the subject of excavations and investigations by scientists from all over the world. However, the city never fell into oblivion among the local population.
Built from scratch in the 17th century. I AD, Ammaia reached its splendor only in the following three hundred years and there are no longer any references to it being an inhabited place from the 1st century onwards. IX.
The place is shrouded in a myth: it was known that there would have been a large city in that area, but no one would know very well where and how big it really was.
Fortunately, at the beginning of the century. XX everything was confirmed. Today, the design and architecture of Ammaia are the subject of great interest and provide an important attraction for the region.
Bridge of Vila Formosa, Portalegre
This Roman bridge, in addition to being widely used over the centuries, is still fundamental in regional road traffic today.
It stands out for the existence of rectangular pegs, “decorated with a frame with a classic flavor, supporting six arches, with an identical opening (8.95m), on which a horizontal profile deck 116.50m long, by 6.70m high. width.
Between the arches, there are five eyes, allowing the flow of water during violent floods.” For all these reasons, the bridge is part of the scope of Roman civil architecture.
Évora Temple, Évora
This building, or what remains of it, is better known as the Temple of Diana and is located in the historic center of Évora.
Century date. I, when the city was known as “Liberatias Iulia”. In the following centuries, the building underwent some architectural changes, until, essentially due to the Germanic invasions of the 16th century, V, which destroyed a large part of Évora, was so damaged that only the columns that we can still see today remain.
Roman dam (Beja)
Since 1997, this dam has been classified as a “Property of Public Interest”, which allows it to preserve a beautiful piece of history and an example of the passage of the Romans in Portugal.
The dam was created to retain rainwater and the flow of sources located nearby, so that, later, this water could be used in the various agricultural works carried out in the area of the current Vila Ruiva.
In structural terms, the dam has a bulwark 80 meters long by 1.60 meters wide and a maximum height of 1.80 meters, in addition to large buttresses that strengthen it externally. It is a dam of great beauty, despite not being as megalomaniac as many of those that exist today.
Ruins of Milreu, Faro
Just 8 kilometers from Faro is the Villa Romana de Milreu, which was inhabited by families of high social and political status. In the century IV, a religious building of great ostentation was erected and whose vaults can still be seen today.
This temple has also served the Islamic cult since the century. VI to the century. XI. Already between the centuries. In the 16th and 19th century, a rural house with cylindrical buttresses was built.
These small remnants reveal themselves as an important volume of archaeological finds, which enrich the history of the region.