Everything you need to know about Marbella

Las Bovedas de Guadalmina


Urb. Guadalmina, San Pedro de Alcántara, 29678 Marbella
Tel: +34 952 771 442
Opening Times: Saturday & Sunday 10.00 - 11.00

Las Bóvedas de Guadalmina are located between the mouth of the Guadalmina River in San Pedro de Alcántara and the Arroyo del Chopo stream. It is currently free to view.

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The vault shaped Roman Bath (bovedas means vault in Spanish – the name by which these remains are locally known) in Guadalmina belonged to a Roman villa and an associated village nearby (of which there is no trace). The two storey bath was built at the end of the III Century AD. It was constructed in what was known as ‘Opus Caementicium’, composed of lime mixed with sand and pebbles from the beach.

Upon contact with the air, this turned into a material of extraordinary hardness that has resisted well the passage of 1,800 years. Bricks were used to construct the arches and lintels of the doors.

The owner of this estate would have been a man of tremendous wealth as can be seen by the size of the baths that he built. To Romans, apart from for hygienic purposes, baths were an important part of their lives. They were used by everyone, whether rich or poor, with separate accommodation for men and women. Only slaves were excluded. A citizen could eat, exercise, read, drink, shop, socialize and discuss politics. The modern equivalent would be a combination of a library, an art gallery, a shopping mall, a bar/restaurant, a gym, and a spa.

The Guadalmina Bath was built around three principal rooms – the Caldarium (hot bath), the Tepidarium (warm bath) and the Frigidarium (cold bath). Some baths also featured steam baths – the Sudatorium (a moist steam bath) and the Laconicum (a dry steam bath much like a modern sauna). The chimneys (Hipocaustunm), which can be seen on the outside, belonged to the heating system to warm the different chambers with vapour. This was pumped through clay tubes. This technology, which was common to the Romans, did not reappear again in western society until the XVIII century. 

This Roman Bath was built around an octagonal courtyard covered by the vault with skylights. Inside, there are four decorative arches which probably housed sculptures. On the ground floor, seven interconnecting chambers can be found. The upper floor has a circular passage giving access to smaller rooms.

Guadalmina is possibly the oldest spa on the Costa del Sol. 

Only by appointment. Contact La Delegación de Cultura Tel. +34 952 825 035 or email: [email protected]

 

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Las Bovedas de Guadalmina

Urb. Guadalmina, San Pedro de Alcántara, 29678 Marbella