More than 2,200 years of Valencia’s history can be found in this tiny museum behind the Cathedral of Valencia.
It is called the Centre Arqueològic de l’Almoina and it contains ruins and artifacts from Valencia’s rich past including its Roman, Visigoth and Moorish periods from 2,200 B.C. to about 1,000 A.D.
I found it fascinating that the ruins of so many historic places reside directly under this tiny museum in the heart of the Ciutat Vella (Old City) of current day Valencia, Spain.
The former Roman thermal baths lie just below the shallow pool of water in front of the museum entrance. Here, you can clearly see the various rooms that made the experience from the caldarium (hot bath) to the tepidarium (warm bath) to the frigidarium (cold bath).
This clay mask dates from the Roman period and has come to be the icon of the current exhibition.
The Romans founded the city of Valencia in 138 B.C. on the location of a former Iberian town. They laid out their towns on a grid pattern beginning with two main roads… one running north/south and the other east/west. The center of the city was where these two roads crossed one another. Below, we can see the stones of the main north/south road, which today is the street called Carrer del Salvador.
The main east/west road can be seen in the center of the image below. In front of it, in the image, can be seen the covered water channel system which delivered clean drinking water throughout the city. Behind the main east/west road are the remains of the granaries where food stores were kept. The granaries were always near the center of Roman towns for ease of distributing the food, but most importantly, so they could be more easily defended in case of attack.
This is believed to be the remnants of a tiny church dedicated to a martyr killed at this location.
A beautifully carved lion statue dating from around the 1st century A.D.
I found it ironic that one of the oldest artifacts in the museum is something we still use today with our advanced technology… the stylus pen. This stylus made of polished bone dates to the 2nd century B.C.!
Below is a sample of some of the ancient pottery found on the site. Most of it is glazed stoneware with geometric patterning or motifs based on local flora and fauna.
Centre Arqueològic de l’Almoina:
- Entry Fee: 2 euros per person, but free on the weekends
- Location: Plaça de Dècim Juni Brut, 46003 València
- Monday to Saturday: 10am – 7pm
- Sundays and Holidays: 10am – 2pm
- Closed Jan 1st & 6th, May 1st, and Dec 25th
- Phone: +34 962 084 173
- Website: Centre Arqueològic de l’Almoina
The Centre Arqueològic de l’Almoina in the heart of Valencia displays an astonishing array of ancient ruins and artifacts from the region’s 2,200-year recorded past.
It is conveniently located within steps of the most visited sites in the city including the cathedral, the basilica and the Plaza of the Virgen. And at 2 euros per person, you can add some culture to your trip for the cost of a scoop of gelato!
I highly recommend you add this well-curated museum to your Valencia itinerary.
Comments, Questions, and Suggestions Welcome!
As always, I look forward to your comments, questions, and suggestions. In particular, I welcome any questions about Valencia or suggestions for anything in the city that you would like to know more about. I will consider them for an upcoming post.
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