Miróbriga Roman Remains | Portugal Visitor
Miróbriga, Santiago do Cacém
Miróbriga just outside Santiago do Cacém in the Alentejo region of Portugal is one of Portugal’s most impressive Roman era sites.
There are two bath buildings, possibly for men and women, temples, houses, shops, a bridge, paved roads and the foundations of a Hippodrome or Roman Circus.
The Forum or temple dedicated to the Imperial cult is the most impressive structure with a few of its original, decorative columns still standing.
A modern Interpretative Centre has been constructed which provides information on the entire site.
The Roman settlement at Miróbriga was built over an earlier Iron Age town which dates from the 9th century BC.
The area was populated by the Romans beginning in the 1st century AD.
Roads and the baths were first constructed and the settlement grew during an era of economic prosperity.
The Hippodrome was added in the next century along with more roads, houses and commercial properties.
From the 4th century the archeological evidence points to a loss of population as the site was gradually abandoned.
André de Resende (1498-1573) the Dominican friar who was an early pioneer of archaeology in Portugal examined the ruins in the 16th century. However, it was not until the 18th century that more attention was given to preserving the structures that still remained standing.
Two bath buildings remain – the Western Baths and Eastern Baths – they may have been constructed for use by men and women.
Each structure includes a frigidarium (cold bath) and a tepidarium (warm bath) as well as a caldarium (hot bath) and shared toilet facilities. There are also remains of changing rooms, a massage room and a gymnasium.
A hypocaust (hypocaustum) under floor heating system kept the baths warm and provided the hot water.
The single arch bridge that provides access to the Forum is especially well preserved. The Forum is an Imperial temple dedicated to the worship of Roman Emperors and is one of three temples on the site. Another is dedicated to Venus, the Roman goddess of desire, love and sex.
To the south stands the rather scant remains of the Roman Hippodrome, a rectangular space with curved seating used for chariot races.
Some of the residential properties still have frescos on their walls.
The modern Interpretative Centre displays archeological finds from the site explained in English and Portuguese with the aid of wall panels and video. Nearby back in the town is another historical sight the Castelo de Santiago do Cacém.
Getting to Santiago do Cacém
Train Travel in Portugal
Santiago do Cacém’s railway station is now no longer connected to the Portuguese rail network and is disused. Bus is the only option to get here by public transport.
Car Travel in Portugal
Santiago do Cacém is approximately an 80-minute drive from Setúbal on the A2 (IP1) and A26 highways.
Setúbal easily connects with Lisbon via the A12/IP1 and A1 motorways and to Faro and the Algarve via IC1 or E1/IP1.
To get from and to Sines take the A26 road. Travel time is around 20 minutes for the 22-km journey.
Beja is 80 km east on the N121 and IP8.
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Bus Travel in Portugal
There are buses from Santiago do Cacém to Lisbon (Sete Rios; 2 hours, 15 minutes), Almada (1 hour, 55 minutes), Setúbal (1 hour, 25 minutes), Beja (2 hours), Grândola (25 minutes), Porto Covo (1 hour) and Sines (40 minutes).
Portugal Hotel & Hostel Accommodation
Recommended hotels and guest houses in Santiago do Cacém include the Casa Santiago, Casas de Miróbriga, close to the Roman ruins at Miróbriga, Residencial Covas, a comfortable and affordable guest house and Quinta de Malmedra, a farm stay a short distance west of the center with pool, garden and games room.
See a listing of all available hotels and guesthouses in Santiago do Cacém.
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