Roman baths Las Bóvedas (the Vaults), San Pedro de Alcántara, Marbella (Unique Site and Hydraulic heritage)
This unique, large building served as a spa that surely met the needs of a sumptuous town that would not lack the luxuriousness typical of Early Roman Empire settlements during the 2nd century CE.
Recommended month to visit it: October.
José María Martínez Oppelt an engineer member of the Sociedad Colonia de San Pedro Alcántara [Colony of San Pedro Alcántara Society] carried out archaeological excavations in several pieces of land that belonged to the Society during the years 1915 and 1916. This task was continued by the archaeologist José Pérez de Barradas, who in 1930 first wrote about Las Bóvedas [The Domes], a Roman construction that he considered to be a water deposit for the supply of the city of Cilniana, both for human consumption and for the salting industry. It was later proved that it was a thermal building of the 3rd century, one of the most unique that are preserved from those times. In the same grounds there have also been found garum factories, walls of other constructions, abundant tegulas and imbrexes.
The site is located on the right riverbank of the mouth of the Guadalmina river, in the town of San Pedro Alcántara (Marbella).
- Parking: 321438 / 4037791
- Roman baths: 321370 / 4037730
This site with the Romans baths ruins from the 3rd century AD is one of the most important of its kind on Spanish territory. It was discovered in 1926 and named after a vaulted building connected to the thermal baths.
It is placed on the right side of the mouth of the Guadalmina River at the Mediterranean basin, next to the small town of San Pedro de Alcántara in the Municipality of Marbella.
The typology of the ruins found at this site, the closest to Cadiz in the province, makes it particularly important. These ruins are probably signs of existence of the elements from the Roman town Cilniana.
The baths were mostly made of whitewash mortar and brick, which were then covered by marble at some parts. The way they are conserved makes them unique and special. They kept a vaulted roof, two floors, and their heating system.
The main building has a central room on an octagonal plan, and other rooms with the same form. Its limestone comes from the quarry of the Torcal Mountains in Antequera. In the middle of the central room, which was the most altered throughout history because of its varied usage, there is an octagonal pool.
The thermal baths were used until the 5th century AD. The size of this whole archeological site is almost 7, 000 metres square.
The complex includes a kind of basins used for salting fish and a watchtower called Las Bóvedas, built between 1571 and 1575. These Roman thermal baths provide San Pedro de Alcántara with a pleasant idea of that historical period. This well-preserved and genuine place is 16 kilometres away from Marbella.