The bond between Valencia and Rome is deeply ancient: the Spanish city was founded by the Romans in 138 BC and was named Valentia, which means “brave”. In fact the third biggest city of Spain showed to be an energetic and powerful political and strategic site even if it all started when it was a small island in the middle of the river Turia, with only 2000 inhabitants.
At that time the island was connected to the mainland probably by a bridge made of wood, and it showed the typical roman urbanistic structure made of cardi and decumani and surrounded by walls. Since the Roman era defense barriers were built, firstly during the republican age and later rebuilt during the Roman Empire time.
Access to the ancient Valentia was allowed through four different gates: Celtibera Gate, Sucronesis Gate, Mar Gate and Saguntina Gate.
Actually the town was destroyed during a civil war within the Romans and rebuilt during the imperial age with all the typical civil architectures of the Roman Empire’s cities such as the forum and the circus which today have been replaced by the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia,the ancient heart of roman Valentia.
Both the Cathedral’s museum and the Benicarló Palace, for example, host an ancient roman house while the Basilica some tombstones and even the Tribunal of Waters was built during the roman age but it finally gained importance under the Muslim domination.
One of the main spots in Valencia to see ruins of the ancient past is the Almoina where some traces of the history from the II century BC to the XIV century are still visible. The ninfeo, the thermal baths, the macellum (grain warehouse), the temple, the forum and many other important buildings of that time keep existing in the underground of the square.
Some walls of the town preserve ancient stones full of secrets and mysteries, telling the story of friendships, customs and traditions from the past, as well as beautiful mosaics hidden in the historical center of this charming city.
You can discover our Roman past through the guided tour València Romana