Sometimes wandering around a strange city, with no particular place to go or thing to see, allows you to stumble upon the unexpected. This is exactly what happened to us while visiting Barcelona. I’m not sure where we were going or even where we had been on this particular day, but we happened to pass through the residential square of Plaça Vila de Madrid and happen upon these roman graves.
In what is now the square, previously was an old convent, Santa Teresa de les Carmelites of Barcelona, which was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. In the 1950s as they were starting work on this square, excavations found the most important burial site from the Roman city of Barcino, upon which the convent was unknowingly built on top of.
The tombs or graves are along both sides of a roman road. They date from between the 1st & 3rd century and were outside of the Roman city walls. There is a raised walkway around the tombs that allows you to see the 80 or so different tomb stones.
There is also a small museum, entry of 2 euros. This houses artifacts found, along with some remains, and explanations about those buried here. You can also go right up to the tombs themselves and read the names of those that are entombed here.
One of the things that fascinated me was that the road and the tombs themselves just disappear into the walls under modern-day Barcelona.
If you are in Barcelona and wish to see this yourself, it’s very near La Rambla and the Plaça Catalunya of Barcelona.
Cool! And important. There is a popular supposition that the ‘ancient’ world was somehow less global or cosmopolitan than today. It wasn’t. Spain was a Roman province from early on in its Imperial history, and it was well integrated. Good to see that history preserved.
We loved seeing the layers of history in Barcelona. The roman empire was so vast and likely went places we still aren’t aware of. They were an amazing people in terms of technology and culture. Years ago we went to Crofton Roman Villa in Orpington in the UK. It astounded me that the man of the house would commute to London on horse back – it would take about an hour. Today by car, it takes about an hour. Haven’t we come a long way in 2000 years? 🙂 Also they had underfloor heating in the villa, and used bricks and glass. Once the Romans left the UK, the Brits took a few hundred more years to learn how to make bricks again. 🙂
And Roman concrete – super-strong aggregate, a mix not rediscovered, I think, until the 18th century. I recall seeing a newspaper report here in NZ from 1848 recommending it as a way of earthquake proofing (!).
Silly Romans, what would they know? 🙂
Very interesting post. I hadn’t heard of these, so will defo add to my list when I visit Barcelona, as I hope to maybe next year. Jo x
Definitely, it will only take a hour out of your day and was very unique
Interesting read. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it