The Roman aqueduct of Almuñécar, one of the most extensive in Roman Hispania, is a work of almost eleven kilometers in length that demonstrates the level reached by Roman engineers and architects.
Through its different sections, from the water catchment to the salting factory passing through the Roman baths located in the Carrera de la Concepción, this monument runs through a large part of the municipality.
The extensive history of Almuñécar is palpable in every inch of the oldest city of the Spanish Mediterranean, and its districts, a clear example of one of the most outstanding vestiges of the greatness of Almuñécar since antiquity is its Roman Aqueduct, which is also the best preserved in Andalusia, and has nothing to envy to the well-known aqueduct of Segovia.
It is also worth mentioning that the Almuñécar Aqueduct was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1931.
It is undoubtedly one of the most important majestic Roman civil engineering works in Spain, which in ancient times used to capture water and divert it to the city, supplying all its inhabitants, as well as the fertile plain and the most important public buildings, including the famous Almuñécar Thermal Baths.
The origin of the complex has been dated from the middle of the 1st century AD to the 3rd or even 4th century AD, when most of the buildings were abandoned.
This spectacular monument was approximately 7 km long from the place known as the Angosturas, the end point of the catchment area, to the terminal reservoirs in the city.
The water it carried was collected by an infiltration gallery that emerged from the aquifer of the well-known Río Verde, which later came to the surface at the Fuente de los Granados. The water then made its way through the city through vaulted channels that operated in a free-flow regime following the contours of the ground, sometimes almost superficial and sometimes several metres below ground level.
Special devices such as arcuationes and subtructiones were used to bridge the deepest depressions. Moreover, four of the former have been studied in detail because they are still very monumental.
Also, thanks to various studies, we know that there was a tunnel that allowed the passage of the canal from the Verde river basin to the Seco river basin.
And the final part of the conduction ended with an inverted siphon with a length of almost one kilometre, made with ceramic pipes and which most probably had a device for breaking the columnar pressure at the end.
But after the fall of the Roman Empire, the aqueduct’s use declined, although parts of it have continued to function uninterruptedly to the present day.
Even today it is still used as an irrigation channel for the irrigation of the fertile plain of Almuñécar, which explains the conservation of most of its extra-urban elements and makes it the best preserved Roman aqueduct in Andalusia.
That is why we can visit it nowadays, as the Roman aqueduct of Almuñécar is another of the many tourist and cultural charms that the city has to offer.
The different sections that we can appreciate if we visit Almuñécar are:
This is the upper section of the monument, it is approximately 130 metres long and has 17 arches with normal span and 2 with reduced span at both ends.
Towards the south there are three more sections of the aqueduct:
The First Section or IA has only one body, which is formed by 4 normal span arches and 2 small ones. This part corresponds to the catchment area of the aqueduct, which ends at the Los Granados fountain, but there is no agreement as to which is its real beginning.
The second section, or AII, has 9 normal arcades and 2 reduced ones. Then the highest section consists of 3 reinforcement arches between the pillars.
The AIII or Third Section consists of two sections with nine main arcades and two reduced arcades. This section follows a route of about 200 metres, in the vicinity of the “Los Fornallá” estate, and coincides with the beginning of a section excavated in the rock, approximately 30 metres long.