Antequera – St. Mary´s Roman Baths
St. Mary´s Roman Baths – Roman Thermae of Santa Maria
They St. Mary´s Roman Baths are situated in the very historic part of the city, near the Antequera Citadel. The discovery of these hot baths is the first actual proof of the location of Antikaria, the Roman city placed under the present town part.
The excavations started in 1998 due to the movements of land before the building up of the area and were continued until 1991. All this work has been carried out by the School workshop of Antequera.
They are thermae from the Roman age that were working from the second half of the 1st. century after Christ, until late in the 5th. century after Christ, being reorganized and considerably repaired in the 3rd. century. You can notice different thermal atmospheres, that are characteristic of the Roman times, in the structures: pools of cold, warm and hot water: “frigidarium, tepidarium y caldarium”.
In the central are you can see a big pool of cold water or “natatio” with benches embedded in its walls. This pool was once completely covered with marble and attached pilasters with vegetal decoration. Next to this, there is a grand central mosaic, which has been covered nowadays for preservation reasons. It depicts a beautiful mythological subject: a bust of “Oceanus”, aquatic divinity, that appears with all his attributes or symbols “crab pincers and claws” and surrounded by geometrical shapes. These are also polychrome and resemble a background of cubes in relief.
Going to the East, we find a big room which archaeologists have taken for the changing room. It is tiled with mosaics again.
One of them represents a sea theme; the dolphin with Neptune´s trident and the other a beautiful chalice shaped crater.
The areas of hot and warm water and the drainpipes of the “thermae” are placed to the North.
A district was built above this area in the XV century, and the remains of its walks, streets and house floors can be seen today.
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