As it was frequent in most Roman cities, the population of Córdoba buried their dead outside the city, near the roads leading to it. Nowadays, we do not know the burial areas in Republican times; they are thought to be located in the south, between the river and the wall, although it is true that there are no remains to certify this theory. However, it is also true that, when the city spread south in times of Augustus, currently historical centre, this made it more difficult to find important remains.
With Augustus’s arrival, a new process of building monuments started in the city, and the entrances to the city became real sepulchral roads, where the importance of their funerary buildings stood out. The result was a scene with a great ideological and visual value, where the importance of memory is evident in the Roman world. However, recent excavations show the coexistence between these spaces and centres of “harmful” activities, such as dumping sites or foundries, which obviously should be kept outside the city.
Among the most interesting remains, we can mention the Great Tomb on the Old Road to Almodóvar. It was discovered by archeologist Enrique Romero de Torres, Julio Romero de Torres’ father, in the 1930s. It was integrated in a sepulchral road characterized by the architectonic richness of its tombs. It is a chamber made in opus quadratum, about 4 metres side and covered by a barrel vault, which can be accessed through a round arch that was probably bricked back then with big blocks of stone. The tomb is thought to have had a monument at its top.
With similar characteristics to the previous one, we can mention the Tomb on 13, La Bodega Street. It was made with blocks of local stone, and its structure has a space covered by a barrel vault that can be accessed through a round arch, which was sealed back then. On the right, there was a small ledge with the remains of the deceased with its corresponding funerary objects, among which we can highlight a cinerary urn and a bronze mirror. At the end, a small wall reserved a space for the internment, that is, we are facing two kinds of burial, internment and cremation, in the same tomb, something typical in the first years of the Empire, according to archaeologists.
The third example was found in the excavation carried out during the remodelling of Merced Palace, when it was going to be adapted as headquarters of the Provincial Government in Córdoba. It is the Monumental Tomb of Merced Palace, and it is thought to have belonged to Marcus Aerarius Telemachus, free slave and doctor of the Societas Aerariorum (mine company in charge of extracting copper from Sierra Morena range). Marcus Aerarius must have been an important character, as the tomb was in a privileged location, next to the Northern Gate of the city, on the road connecting Corduba with Emerita Augusta.
The Funerary Monuments of Puerta Gallegos are undoubtedly the most interesting examples we have preserved. For this reason, we have decided to dedicate them a special section in this wonderful period of the history of our city.
If you wish to know Roman Córdoba, its necropolis and tombs, do not hesitate to hire one of our guided tours. We are experts in the interpretation of the historical heritage from Córdoba. If you have chosen to do sightseeing in Córdoba, choose a high quality option, choose ArtenCórdoba.
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