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Spain Vía de la Plata Route

The building of a Roman road commenced in the 1st century AD, exploiting the presence of a natural corridor in the west of the Iberian Peninsula. This road soon became one of the peninsula’s main road links, linking Cantabrian and Galician territories with Lusitania and Hispania Baetica.

The route also linked up some of the major cities on the peninsula, while at the same time serving as means of spreading Roman culture. Moreover, from the start the road was provided with infrastructures that have nowadays become important remains marking its path.

After the Via Augusta, the Via de la Plata was the second most important route in Roman Hispania. Work commenced under the consul Quintus Servilius Caepio, but it was the emperor Augustus who really pushed forward its construction. Work continued under the emperor Tiberius, while the Hispanic emperors Trajan and Hadrian were the ones to give it its definitive form. The road was fully completed by the middle of the 2nd century AD.

During the Middle Ages, it facilitated the Arab invasion northward, while also enabling the advance of the re-conquering Christian troops, and became an indisputable transport axis linking north and south. It was also at this time when it took on its present-day name, the Via de la Plata Route, which derives from the Arabic term balat, meaning “paved road”.

It is nowadays one of the most important and attractive routes in Europe, located to the west of the Iberian Peninsula and passing through important Roman or Romanized cities (Hispalis, Emerita Augusta, Cáparra, Brigaecium, Legio,  etc.). Substantial sections of the roadway are still preserved, dotted with countless engineering works, especially bridges, as well as millaria (milestones), mansiones (way stations), vici (villages) and villae (estates).

The route goes across 4 regions and 7 provinces on a North-South axis of about 800 km and more than 120.000 square km and has strong links with neighbouring Portugal.

The open multi-thematic character of the route allows different historical, cultural and ethnographical interpretations, increases its attraction. A large tourist circuit capable of bringing together  all the excellent natural resources and different local cultures present in the territory around the axis of towns with an important historical heritage

More info: www.rutadelaplata.com

 

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