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Banys de la Reina

The place known as Els Banys de La Reina (The Queen's Baths) is an archaeological site located next to the salt pans of Calp. It consisted of a Roman palace with a corridor, a courtyard and eight rooms. Its abundance of marble and mosaics reveals that it belonged to a person of high purchasing power.

The site of Els Banys de La Reina consists of three parts:

1. Roman vicus

The Roman site of Els Banys de La Reina is a coastal dwelling that stands out for its magnificent architectural design and mosaics. Within its category, it is one of the most important complexes in all of Roman Hispania. Although only about 25% of the surface area has been excavated so far, it is enough so as to understand the magnitude of this Roman villa that was equipped with all kinds of luxuries 2,000 years ago. The rock-cut pools for the supply of fresh fish gave the place its name, which remains intact to this day.

During the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, the first dwellings were built here, a small thermal complex known as Termes de La Muntanyeta, and an industrial area in which a unique rock-cut water wheel was constructed to supply drinking water to the settlement. In the late 3rd century AD, a sumptuous villa with a circular courtyard and an extraordinary private thermal complex was erected. Finally, traces of the conversion to Christian worship, in the 5th and 6th centuries AD, have been detected at the site, which was a place of significant navigation in ancient times. This included the construction of a modest church in the Greek cross style and an adjacent necropolis.

2. The Thermal Complex of La Muntanyeta

During the remodelling works of the coastal promontory in 1993, the remains of a small thermal complex were discovered, covering an area of 500 m², now known as Les Termes de La Muntanyeta.

Among the findings documented during the excavation, several pools have been preserved, including a cold water pool accessed by way of three steps. Nearby, several ovens were responsible for maintaining the hot and tepid rooms at the appropriate temperatures. The heating system developed by Roman engineers relied on the use of raised floors supported by tile columns and walls with air chambers, constructed with the use of ceramic pipes that facilitated the circulation of heat throughout the different rooms, keeping them warm.

A room with herringbone-patterned flooring was also uncovered, along with other complementary facilities for recreation, which were adorned with grey marble slabs from Algiers.

3. The Roman fish ponds of Els Banys de La Reina

The existence of pools within the sea, which were carved into the sandstone rock known locally as "pedra tosca" and are popularly referred to as “Banys de La Reina Mora” (The Baths of the Moorish Queen), ended up giving the entire archaeological area its name.

The complex, excavated along the coast, consists of a large rectangular reservoir with a total surface area of 165 m². The interior was subdivided by natural stone walls, creating six pools that were interconnected through an opening in each wall. The entry of seawater occurred through four rock-cut channels, enabling the free circulation of water throughout all the pools. These channels were closed using perforated gates, allowing water to pass while preventing the fish from escaping.

Although these fish ponds are associated with fish breeding, the possibility of their use as an aquatic garden for admiring the beauty of marine life cannot be ruled out; similar to other grand imperial villas along the Tyrrhenian coast, these expensive and elaborate constructions were a display of power and social prestige for their owners.

4. The Morelló Windmill

This construction, a flour windmill characteristic of the region of La Marina Alta, dates back to the mid-19th century and is located at the westernmost end of the archaeological area of Els Banys de La Reina.

The cylindrical-shaped building stands isolated on the natural ground. It is constructed with carved natural stone and finished with ample use of lime mortar, forming a thick wall characteristic of La Marina Alta.



García-Entero, V (2005). Los "Balnea" domésticos: -ámbito rural y urbano- en la Hispania romana. Editorial CSIC - CSIC Press.

González Villaescusa, Ricardo (2001). El mundo funerario romano en el País Valenciano: monumentos funerarios y sepulturas entre los siglos I a. de C.- VII d. de C. Casa de Velázquez.

Frías Castillejo, Carolina (2010). El poblamiento rural de Dianium, Lucentum, Ilici y la ciudad romana de La Vila Joiosa (siglos II a.C.-VII d.C.): bases para su estudio. Universidad de Alicante.

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