Asturica Augusta

Asturica Augusta, 2,000 years of history

Asturica Augusta, nowadays Astorga, is a city with 2,000 years of history; as a result, we can see part of the splendour that this city once had.

Moreover, within the region of Maragatería, in the province of León, in the autonomous community of León, Astorga represents the main town.

The city was founded in the year 15 B.C.; with a military settlement between the rivers Tuerto and Jerga, certainly to pacify the territories after the Cantabrian Wars.

It also became an important gold mining settlement; and from there, it became the capital of the Asturian Juridical Convent.

Asturica Augusta - Cathedral.
Asturica Augusta – Cathedral. Photo: berpala

Finally, it is in 2005 when the city council of Astorga started the so-called Roman Route. As a measure to promote the city; and as part of exhibiting its ancient Roman past.

The tour includes the primitive defence moats, the minor baths, the Forum, the Aedes Augusti, the Roman Museum, the Sewers.

Spain has another city with an important Roman past; Augusta Emerita. We invite you to read about it here.

Now we will expand a little on each of them.

Asturica Augusta. Legionary Fence

Possibly Astorga, before becoming a city, was a Roman military camp; in the time of Caesar Augustus. It was established after the end of the wars in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

The legion in charge of this was the Legio Décima Gémina, which built an enclosure for the protection of the troops.

Archaeological finds have uncovered the remains of double outer moats in the shape of a “V”, measuring 2 metres wide and 2 metres deep.

They date from 15-10 BC and are two parallel moats dug into the steep terrain of the hill to increase the defensive power of the troops.

Thermae, buildings that housed their public baths.
Thermae, buildings that housed their public baths.

Termas Menores

Possibly built at the end of the 1st century AD, they were a space not only for personal hygiene but also for public relations.

It is a set exhumed in Padre Blanco street in the 80s of the 20th century.

There was also a timetable for the use of the baths, with women and children attending in the mornings and men in the afternoons.

The route was linear, with varying temperatures; first they went through the changing room, then to the cold bath (frigidarium), followed by a warm water bath (tepidarium), then to the hot water bath (caldarium), and finally to the steam bath (sudarium).

They date back to around 75 AD and were in use until the 3rd century.

Because they are in an ideal state of conservation, these baths are included in the Roman Route.

Tour of the Roman museum. Asturica Augusta

Aedes Augusti

It was almost thought to be an enclosure dedicated to Emperor Augustus and for imperial ceremonies.

It is square in plan and covered with marble. Today it is known that it was the seat of the “Curia”. That is to say; the place where the “Decuriones” who were the rulers of the Roman colonies and municipalities met.

Ergastula and Roman Museum

It is a vaulted gallery, about 50 metres long, which was once part of the Roman Forum. Two additional floors have been added to house the Roman Museum.

It also has a permanent exhibition floor, and the other floor has work rooms for the municipal archaeology department.

Inaugurated in 2000, it can be visited as part of the Roman Route, as well as individually.

Roman Museum collection

Composed of paintings, ceramics, jewellery, which also showed the opulence and splendour of the ancient city. They are also a pictorial reflection that in some way narrate five centuries of the city.

Like the previous one, they can also be visited as part of the route and individually if you wish.

Astúrica Augusta; Sewers

The Cloacas – Asturica Augusta

Every large Roman city required sanitary services. It is for this reason that the sewage system that has survived to the present day runs underneath the city. In addition, there are branches that are still in use today.

Due to the findings of José María Luengo in 1946, a branch was discovered under the garden of the synagogue.

What is more, they possibly worked until the 5th century; and also, in some sections they are 1.80 metres high.

Visiting hours and prices

In Asturica Augusta, the timetables can probably change depending on the dates. We leave you the following link so that you are up to date with the availability and rates in case you want to do the route here.

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