Baelo Claudia, the roman city in Cadiz is located a few kilometers northwest of the current city of Tarifa. It is in the south of the Andalusian province. Tarifa is well known for its turquoise water beaches and for being one of the preferred national destinations for lovers of the south. However, what many do not know is that in the middle of Bolonia beach, you will find one of the wonders of the Cadiz coast.
Declared a National Historical Monument, the archaeological complex of Baelo Claudia was a very important ancient Roman city in its time. Currently, it is one of the essential places to see in the province of Cádiz.
The great state of conservation of the ruins and the environment in which it is located, make this archaeological complex a jewel and a great luck for anyone who can visit it.
A little bit of history
Romans founded Baelo Claudia at the end of the 2nd century BC. On a previous Phoenician-Punic settlement and is strategically located in order to serve as a link between the peninsula and North Africa, also under Roman power.
It was a significant fishing center in which an important fish salting industry was developed. The production of “garum“, a highly appreciated fish sauce, especially in the city of Rome, where it was exported in large quantities.
There are two complete Roman Salazone factories (named “Cetaria”), in an excellent state of conservation. It is the first time that experts have documented organic remnants of salted tuna throughout the Ancient World. Romans called it “salsamentum”.
The Roman presence in the Iberian Peninsula marked one of the most flourishing periods in the history of our country. Cities like Emérita Augusta (current Mérida); the famous Itálica, birthplace of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian (and which is located a few kilometers from the city of Seville) or the maritime Baelo Claudia (in the province of Cádiz), rivaled in splendor and magnificence with the great cities of the rest of the world.
It is a clear example of Roman urbanism because all the elements that represent Roman cities appear in it: the forum, the temples, the administrative buildings, the market, the theater, the baths, the industrial district, the aqueducts, etc. You will be able to see a little of them during the visit to the ruins of Baelo Claudia.
It is worth mentioning that there are three important identical temples dedicated to the main gods of the Roman pantheon: Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, also known as the Capitoline Triad,. Besides, there is a temple dedicated to the goddess Isis.
What to see in Baelo Claudia, a roman city in Cadiz
The visit to the ruins of Baelo Claudia begins at the Museum of the Archaeological Ensemble of Baelo Claudia, recently built on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city, so as not to damage the state of the ruins.
The layout of the town is a grid with two main roads, the decumanus maximus that runs east to west and the cardo maximus that runs from north to south. Furthermore, the whole site, 13 hectares, is surrounded by a wall with gates where the roads entered the town.
You can practically see all the typical elements of a middle Roman city: the roads, the forum, the temples to the gods, the Curia, the Courts…
You will also see shops, taverns, houses, an aqueduct, sewers and a market. As well as the interesting remains of the local industry in the form of swimming pools. That’s where they worked with products from the sea.
At the crossroads of the two main roads is the Forum. It was the center of political, administrative and religious life.
To the north of the Forum is the Temple of Isis and to the west the market area. In addition, south of the forum is the Basilica.
Price and Schedule
The price of admission for citizens of the European Union is completely free. So, you only need to show your ID or passport at the entrance.
For citizens who do not belong to the European Union, the price is only €1.50.
The schedules can change. Therefore, I recommend that you take a look at their official website, to check it.
How to get to Baelo Claudia, a roman city in Cadiz
You can reach the site by several routes. From Tarifa you arrive in about 20 minutes and from Vejer de la Frontera in about 35 minutes.
It is located about not that far away from two Andalusian capitals Cadiz and Seville. It has very good road connections. Therefore, the car is a great option if you are not coming from far away.
Cadiz is an hour and 15 minutes away, and Jerez de la Frontera is an hour and a half.
Sevilla is 198 kilometers from Baelo Claudia. It takes about two hours to get there.
The closest airports are in Seville and Jerez de la Frontera. Nevertheless, you can also come through Gibraltar International airport. It is 65 kilometers away from Baelo Claudia. But, don’t forget your passport!
You can also take advantage of the journey to visit seaside towns such as Barbate or Zahara de los Atunes and enjoy the many kilometers of beach and, of course, a good plate of tuna!
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