Ancient Greek Settlement

Mapa ficticio de Empuries

Empúries is one of the most important archaeological sites in Catalonia, located near the town of L'Escala in the region of Alt Empordà. Its history dates back to the time of Greek and Roman colonization of the Iberian Peninsula, offering a rich perspective on the historical development of the region.

The city of Empúries was founded in the 6th century BC by the Phocaeans from the colony of Massalia (today's Marseille). Initially, they established a settlement called Palaia Polis or "Old City" on a small island off the coast. This settlement developed into an important trading and maritime center thanks to its strategic location in the western Mediterranean.

In the 5th century BC, the Greeks founded a new city, Neapolis, on the mainland near the present-day village of Sant Martí d'Empúries. This expansion allowed for greater urban and economic development, including the construction of temples, markets, and other public buildings. Neapolis became a significant cultural and economic center, maintaining close trade relations with other Greek colonies and the indigenous peoples of the peninsula.

With the arrival of the Romans in the 2nd century BC, Empúries was integrated into the Roman Empire and became a starting point for the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The Romans founded a new city next to Neapolis, known as Emporiae. This new Roman city experienced significant urban development with the construction of walls, a forum, baths, theaters, and other typical infrastructures of Roman cities.

During Roman times, Emporiae prospered as an important commercial center thanks to its port and strategic location. The city became a connecting point between the maritime and land-based trade routes of the Roman Empire. In addition, Empúries played a key role in the Romanization of the region, facilitating the spread of Roman culture and institutions.

With the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Empúries experienced a period of decline. Barbarian invasions and subsequent Visigothic and Muslim rule contributed to the city's decay. Gradually, Empúries was abandoned and its buildings fell into ruin.

However, the historical and archaeological value of Empúries was not lost. From the 19th century onwards, the first archaeological excavations began, revealing the grandeur of the Greek and Roman remains. Today, Empúries is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Catalonia and is part of the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia.

The ruins of Empúries offer a fascinating insight into life in antiquity, with remains of public and private buildings, mosaics, statues, and other architectural elements. The site allows visitors to explore the ancient Greek and Roman cities, better understanding their historical and cultural evolution. Additionally, its location on the Mediterranean coast provides an impressive natural environment, enriching the experience of discovering this historical treasure.

On the website of the MAC you will find more detailed information.