Hedionda Roman Baths, Casares (Unique Site)
Recommended month to visit it: May.
It is said that here was where the Devil exhaled his last breath when he was expelled by St. James. This is one of the legends that the popular imagery has collected to justify the smell of sulphur in its waters. The Baños de la Hedionda, Bien de Interés Cultural [Heritage of Cultural Interest], constitutes one of the historical landmarks of the massif of la Utrera and of the entire Casares in general.
They are sulphurous and ferruginous baths situated in a delightful and advantageous setting which man has known how to make the best of since Roman times. The square building of the spa has a circular dome with pedentives and two other barrel vaults, and is found by the right river bank of the Albarrán stream and near the border with the municipality of Manilva.
- Hedionda Baths: 297183 / 4030303
This spa is inside a squared closed space with six meters long sides, one sphere vault and two barrel vaults. Water goes through the whole space: there are Roman baths, renovated by Arabs, with water that is rich in sulphurous and iron.
Arabs changed the framework of the baths due to changes in the water flow. They broaden their walls and took the pipes to the surface. The baths are on the right side of the Stream Albarrán. The materials that were used during the building are whitewash, concrete, stones and double or triple solid brick rows.
The area that contains baths is proclaimed Heritage of Cultural Interest. It is a historic milestone of the town due to its important cultural role performed from a magnificent location that teems with activities and human creations.
The legend says it was built by Julius Caesar when he was serving as a praetor. Trying to relieve a herpetic illness in these waters, he ordered the construction of the baths. It is certain that his troops had a bath there while they were waiting to confront Pompey`s army and they found it could heel skin diseases.
Nevertheless, there are many more legends about the baths that aim to give answer to their origins. Was it magic or faith? It is said that, when Santiago expelled a demon who lived in those waters, his last breath gave them a sulphurous smell. This legend was retold by plenty of authors.
The most popular assumption has historical background. In 61 BC, Roman troops based in that area were waiting for the battle with Pompey. As they were suffering from scabies, they tried to get relief in those pools. Nevertheless, most of stories tell that the one who was responsible for building the baths was Julius Caesar himself, who got healed there. The research seems to confirm the Roman origin, although there were some changes in the original structure of the baths.
What is sure is that whenever the town of Casares had been mentioned, even in the old treatises on geography, the healing properties of the Hedionda Spa and its marvelous location were pointed out.