Cadiz did not escape the dominion of the Roman Empire since its arrival in the province in the 1st century AD. Nowadays, there are many archaeological remains that bear witness to the prolonged Roman stay and the creation of different settlements throughout the area.
The Roman Route is a journey through the sites of the period, scattered throughout the Sierra de Cádiz region. A total of 7 stops in 8 municipalities make up an interesting route that brings visitors closer to the colonies’ lifestyle that in the future would evolve into the towns as we know them today.
Our first stop will be Arcos de la Frontera, a town surrounded by the Guadalete River and located at the beginning of the Sierra of Cádiz. To the southwest of the municipality, we find the Sierra of Aznar site, in the Cerro del Moro. An ensemble of archaeological remains dating from between the 2nd century BC and the 4th century AD. We highlight the good state of preservation of the remains of hydraulic systems, through which water was collected, cleaned and transported.
The second destination on our route is between the towns of Espera and Bornos. At 18.8 and 13.3 km respectively, we find the archaeological sites of Carissa Aurelia, a settlement that gradually acquired such importance that it became a municipality within the Roman administration. The remains were discovered between 1985 and 1988 and have been declared as Bien de Interés Cultural (Asset of Cultural Interest). In the large area occupied by Carissa Aurelia, we can differentiate different areas such as the city, the necropolis to the north and south, the inner path of the necropolis or the siliform structures of an open-air settlement.
Following the Roman Route, our next stop will take us to Puerto Serrano, a town located between the Subbaetic System and the Guadalete River. Close to this village, there are two sites of great interest. On the one hand, in the area surrounding the Ermita del Almendral, there is a group of pitish graves. In the area known as El Chaparral, there are also remains of an ancient Roman villa.
Fourthly, we head for Zahara de la Sierra, less than 30 kilometres from Puerto Serrano. The municipality houses, in the area known as Poblado Nazarí, the Museo de Interpretación de la Villa Medieval (Medieval Village Interpretation Museum). Through its exhibitions we can take a journey through the history of the area. There are remains of hydraulic constructions, such as a cistern located on the eastern wall of the building.
Our next stop is Prado del Rey, a town just half an hour from Puerto Serrano and surrounded by the Verdugo and Las Lomas hills. Six kilometres away from the historic center we can find the Salinas and Yacimiento Arqueológico of Iptuci (Salt mines and archaeological site of Iptuci), the remains of a settlement of Turdetan origin dating back to the 2nd century BC. During the rule of the Roman Empire is when it experienced its period of greatest splendor.
Our next-to-last destination is Ubrique, a town less than 20 km from Prado del Rey. In this village we can visit the archaeological site of the Roman city of Ocuri, which, due to its high location and the monumental character of the sites that remain, it is thought that the town must have been of great importance in its time.
We will finish our Roman Route in Benaocaz. In addition to the Roman road path that connects this municipality with Ubrique, we find vestiges of the late Roman period in the Barrio Nazarí. In this area, the oldest in the municipality, there are remains that prove that Benaocaz was only a transit place to Villaluenga at this time.