Reconstruction of the Roman Bath of Guadalmina. Bovedas.
The Vault shaped Roman Bath in Guadalmina (Bovedas means vault in Spanish, the name by which these remains are locally known) belonged to a Roman villa and associated village near by, of which there is no trace left. There are however other villas in the area, notably at Rio Verde and in Marbella. There is also The Visigoth period (6th Century AD) Vega Del Mar Christian Basilica and Cemetery some 400 metres east in Linda Vista which is possibly sited on or near an earlier Roman settlement.
The two storey bath was built at the end of the 3rd Century AD. It was constructed in what was known as ‘Opus Caementicium’ which was composed of lime mixed with sand and pebbles from the beach, which upon contact with the air, turned into a material of extraordinary hardness that has resisted well the passage of 1,800 years Bricks were used to construct the arches and lintels of the doors.
This Roman village was an agricultural and fishing estate, dedicated predominantly to the production of Garum, which would have been exported to Rome and other Roman settlements in The Mediterranean Basin from here.
The proprietor of this estate would have been a man of tremendous wealth as can be seen by the size of these baths that he built.
To Romans apart from hygienic purpose's baths were an important part in their lives,they were used by everyone, whether rich or poor, with separate accommodation for men and women, only slaves were excluded. A citizen could eat, exercise, read, drink, shop, socialize, and discuss politics. The modern equivalent would be a combination of a library, art gallery, mall, bar/restaurant, gym, and spa.
The Guadalmina Bath was built around three principal rooms: the Caldarium (hot bath), the Tepidarium (warm bath) and the Frigidarium (cold bath). Some baths also featured steam baths: the Sudatorium, a moist steam bath, and the Laconicum, a dry steam bath much like a modern sauna.
The chimneys (Hipocaustunm) which can be seen to the outside belonged to the heating system to warm the different chambers with vapour,this was pumped through clay tubes. This technology which was common to The Romans did not reappear again in western society until the 18th Century.
This Roman Bath was built around an octagonal courtyard covered by the vault with skylights. Inside are four decorative arches which probably housed sculptures. On the ground floor seven interconnecting chambers are found. The upper floor has a circular passage way giving access to smaller rooms.
Guadalmina is possibly the oldest spa on the Costa del Sol.
The Roman Bath of Guadalmina is an area considered of High Cultural Interest by the Andalusian Government and is an important example of the Heritage of Andalusia.