roman baths evora
Evora Roman Baths, Town Hall building

Roman Baths in Evora Town Hall

Evora Roman Baths were probably built between the 2nd and 3rd centuries. They were discovered at the end of 1987, when archaeological excavations were being made in the oldest part of Evora Town Hall building, in Largo do Sertorio. Like every person living in Evora might have predicted. When we have excavations in the historic centre, we always find more remains of the past.

These were the public Thermae of the city back then. They were also possibly the largest public building in Roman Evora. When we talk of Roman baths it is important to understand that these were an essential part in the life of this people. In addition to the hygiene purpose, the baths were places where citizens could talk, hang out and even negotiate.

The cities where Romans lived were made up of several services to guarantee the hygiene, cleanliness and comfort of the people. That is why there was always a concern for water supply. Hence the building of aqueducts.

thermae evora town hall
Laconicum of Evora Roman Baths

Evora Roman Baths in the town hall building have an area of about 3230 sq ft and, like many other roman baths, they are composed by three distinct areas: Laconicum, Praefurnium and Natatio. The Laconicum, circular room with ribbed and starred vault, coated with marble plates, was used for hot and steam baths. This was the room with the highest temperature. At its core, there was a large circular built-in tank in the soil, with three steps, surrounded by the heating system, the hipocaustum.

In the Praefurnium, only partially excavated, you can see a furnace, where wood would be burned to take hot air, for example, to the Hipocaustum of the Laconicum. It was used as some sort of central heating system to take water and air to the other rooms.

The Natatio was an outdoor rectangular pool, surrounded by gantries. The water from the baths came down in the east side of the pool. It is believed that these waters were brought by their own aqueduct which, possibly, might have been the predecessor of the Agua de Prata Aqueduct. At this moment, it is not possible to visit this pool.

evora roman baths
Remains of the roman past in the baths in Evora

Evora reveals itself with one more magnificent monument, a source of endless wealth, at both historical and archaeological levels.

In this city in the heart of Alentejo, a lot was destroyed and rebuilt throughout the centuries, due to successive wars and successive governments. But a lot more can be seen still today by those who visit the city and those who study the remains found here.

Come and find these public baths. Close your eyes and, who knows, venture in an timeless imaginary bath in the Roman Thermae.

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