The Ancient Spanish City of Sagunto
By Daniel Alcalá |
Visit the Roman Theater and the Castle of Sagunto and learn about the Roman, Arab and Christian past of this Spanish jewel.
TRAVEL TO SAGUNTO TO LEARN ABOUT VALENCIA’S PAST
In order to discover everything about a specific historic era, it’s common to travel to a city that harbors remains of that past. However, sometimes it’s good to learn about several historic eras in one single trip and, in order to do this, the city of Sagunto, located north of the province of Valencia, is a perfect destination.
Without doubt, Sagunto is a portrait of Spain’s past because it still houses monuments that witnessed its Roman occupation, but that also reflect its medieval changes and its modern adaptations. That’s why it’s a sure bet for savvy travelers who want to learn more about this Spanish region’s history through its architecture.
ROMAN MONUMENTS IN SAGUNTO
Although the history of Sagunto dates back to the Stone Age, proof of which can be found on the mountain parts, it’s the Roman Theater that truly stands out. Surely you know that the famous Roman Colosseum is the biggest Roman Amphitheater; however, it’s not the only one. In Sagunto you’ll get the chance to visit the Roman Theater, which was built on the mountain’s concavity. It’s an impressive work of architecture that offers amazing acoustics. The monument’s stands are embedded on the rocky surface and, in order for you to get a better idea of its size, just think that it can house up to 6,000 spectators. It was built in the first century, when the villa of Sagunto was under Roman protection.
The Roman Theater of Sagunto was declared a National Monument and you can visit it from Tuesdays to Sundays. Take into account that opening hours vary depending on the season, but the good news is that entrance is free.
THE CASTLE OF SAGUNTO
Remember that during the first half of the Middle Ages, barbarians invaded the territories that were occupied by the Romans in the west. For this reason, Sagunto was occupied by Alans, Vandals, Goths and Byzantines.
Then, in the eight century, when the Arabs invaded and conquered the peninsula, Sagunto also suffered many changes and one of them is that its name changed from the villa of Saguntum to Murviedro. During this period, agriculture, commerce, and pottery flourished, while they also built baths, mosques, schools and palaces.
Within the walls of the Castle of Sagunto there’s evidence of Roman, Arab and Christian presence, so it’s a key element to learn more about the cultures that weaved Sagunto’s history. In the last century the castle was declared a National Monument, so it became even more special and a must-see attraction for travelers. Just be prepared to walk a lot because the castle spans over 1km, approximately.
The view from the Castle of Sagunto is breath-taking since it was built on the mountaintop of Sierra Calderona; it offers a panoramic view that will give you the chance to see the whole city of Sagunto and notice the differences between the old city and the more modern areas.
Don’t miss any section in the castle’s complex because each of them portrays elements of its different inhabitants. For example, in Santa Maria Magdalena Square you’ll find Roman remains, while in Conejera Square you’ll find an Arab architectural style.
BEST ATTRACTIONS IN SAGUNTO
The old city of Sagunto is a must-see in itself. Its narrow and cobbled streets create a medieval town-like environment that differs quite a lot from urban landscapes. That’s why you should take a walking tour.
Also, take into account that a visit to Sagunto should include the port, which is located a few kilometers away from the old city. This way, your trip will be enriched by the waterfront vibe.
Finally, take into account that Sagunto is part of the bicycle route of The Way of El Cid, which was inspired by the legend of the invincible Medieval knight, El Cid. It’s an ecotouristic and literary adventure on two wheels!