Roman palace in Cordoba was destroyed for train station

Spain News

Archaeologists in Spain reflect on the dubious anniversary of a Córdoba train station that was prioritised over the protection of important cultural heritage, including an entire Roman palace. In 1991 the station became an important connection point with the Expo in Seville.

In that year, Spanish archaeologists tried to protect the site of Cercadilla. They requested an urgent procedure for monument status (bien de interés cultural), the highest degree of protection. There was no response from the Andalucian government to a signed petition. In 1995, when more than half the archaeological finds had already disappeared, official protection was granted to the remaining elements.

“Indistinct looting”

Archaeologist Camino Fuertes of the Andalucian Agency for Cultural Institutions calls the destruction of the Roman building “a brutal attack on the historical heritage and an oversimplified looting”. It concerns the destruction of a palace from the Roman Empire of Cordoba. The palace was built between 293 and 305 at the behest of Emperor Maximian. Construction work for the high-speed train station started in May 1991 on the eight-hectare complex.

Good connection to Seville for Expo 1992

A station was built on the Roman site of Cercadilla as early as the fourteenth century. This medieval edifice was converted into a contemporary train station in 1991, with the surrounding Roman remains disappearing within days. That decision was taken by the local, regional and national authorities to facilitate the AVE train service between Madrid and Seville in view of the World’s Fair that was to take place in Seville a year later. At the time, press reported the destruction of a Roman theatre, mosaics, temple, amphitheatre and entire palace.

Unique monument

According to Fuertes, authorities reported the site was of no particular value. They also said the excavations were only good for archaeologists’ purses. In addition, they said the Roman remains would be processed in the train station. Furthermore, the train tracks would be laid in such a way that no unnecessary damage would occur. Thirty years later, it can be concluded not much of that is true. In September 1992, an international committee of experts announced it was a unique monument that should have been respected and further investigated.

In 2015, the Andalucian government transferred the management of Cercadilla to the Municipality of Cordoba, which is keeping the site closed. Since then, there has been no policy for the maintenance or preservation of the surviving Roman remains.

Spain News
Underwater graveyard of big tuna around Balearic Islands

23, Jun 2021

The waters around the Balearic Islands are a hotspot for tuna fishermen. It is the habitat of big tuna such as the bluefin, a popular and expensive delicacy in Japan.…

Spain News
A more biodiverse and greener Barcelona is on the cards

23, Jun 2021

At the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, Barcelona set itself the goal of having 160 hectares more greenery in the city by 2030. In the meantime, the Spanish city sharpens…

Spain News
New real estate bubble not likely to happen soon according to Spaniards

23, Jun 2021

In the pandemic summer of 2020, more Spaniards intended to buy their own home. Now that number has fallen sharply again. The likelihood of a new real estate bubble in…

Spain News
Noche de San Juan - where is it possible to celebrate?

23, Jun 2021

Noche de San Juan has arrived. Despite the increasingly optimistic epidemiological situation in Spain, partying during 'the New Year's Eve' is not an option in many places. However, there are…

Spain News
Football pundit Rafael van der Vaart both under fire and praised in Spain

23, Jun 2021

FOOTBALL - The Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart is the talk of the town in Spain. After his fierce criticism of the Spanish team, players were far from happy. However,…