Roman ruins of Cáparra
One highlight of the province of Cáceres is the numerous traces of its Roman-age splendour. One set of ruins prominent among them are those of Cáparra, in the county of Tierras de Granadilla, in the north of the province, between the municipalities of Oliva de Plasencia and Guijo de Granadilla.
Its excellent location, its dominant position on a hill, crossed by the Silver Route and next to the River Ambroz, led to this Roman settlement achieving the category of municipium under Vespasian, around the year AD 74. From that point on, Cáparra really began to develop as a city. Its decline took place during the High Middle Ages, when it began to lose its population, becoming even more depopulated after the Moorish invasion.
The most representative element of this ancient Roman city is its tetrapylon or quadrifons arch, i.e. a four-gate arch. This arch was found in the centre of the city, crossed by the Roman Silver Route.
The tetrapylon arch has large ashlar foundations with a dressed stone finish, while the capitals finish in a cornice supporting an archivolt that in turn supports the groin vault. This arch is the only one of its kind in the Iberian Peninsula.
The Roman bridge of Cáparra is part of the monumental site of Cáparra. The work is not established in time and consists of four arches, of which only the central two can be considered fully Roman.
The arches are rounded and the vaults come out from a projecting course. Upriver, one of the cutwaters of the piles in the river’s course is triangular and the other trapezoidal, while the downstream face is flat. The work is clad in granite masonry arranged in somewhat irregular rows.
In 1931 both the arch and bridge were declared Assets of Cultural Interest in the Monument category.
In addition, since 2017 the Roman ruins have been part of the Mérida’s International Classical Theatre Festival, where they are used as a stage for some of the works.
Zarza de Granadilla
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