Approaching Sagunt coming from Valencia you can’t miss the awesome sight of the massive castle on top of the hill dominating the city. It stretchesfor about 1km in length, plenty to walk around and explore. Below it on the same hill are other historical sites like the Roman Theatre, the Forum and, near the bottom, the Jewish quarter.
Before undertaking the steep hike up the hill, I went to see a fascinating discovery in the city center itself. Via del Portico adjacent to Plaza Antiga Moreria was the main approach road to Sagunt in Roman times. The perfectly straight road was covered by rubble and layers of other buildings, most recently a football field, until it was discovered when modern apartment and office buildings were constructed on top.
Excavations revealed a massive area with the well preserved road, bordered by pillars which once supported a roofed arcade with shops and houses. Canalization is clearly visible as are the imprints of carts which drove along on their way to the prosperous Roman city.
The remains of other houses, side roads , cisterns and even discarded building material and lead pipes give an impression of what it looked like so many centuries ago.
I had the privilege of a private guided tour by Carmen Antoni Balazan, an archaeologist who now looks after the museum/exhibition and was involved in the excavations. She told me that it wasn’t clear if this access road was a part of the famous Via Augusta which led from Rome to Cadiz but it’s possible.
The exhibition is impressive, because the road and houses are displayed beneath the black pillars which are the foundation of the building which was constructed above. In interesting combination of ancient and modern architecture.
To see this you must make an appointment at the nearby tourist office in Plaza Cronista Chabret.Admission is €1.