Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Roman Arch at Cabanes

The Roman Arch at Cabanes 
We spent our fourteenth Valentine's Day together visiting the historic town of Onda. I will blog about that tomorrow, but for today I want to talk about the diversion we took on our way home to see the Roman Arch at Cabanes. The Arch was built in the 2nd century AD and was probably originally a funerary monument connected to a (then) nearby villa. It stood on the Via Augusta, a famous Roman highway, and today is still positioned at the end of a long straight road from Cabanes so, driving towards it, we got a sense of how it would have appeared 1800 years ago. The road is now routed on a roundabout around the monument though. No one has driven under it since the 1800s.

How the arch originally looked 
The Arch is no longer complete however. This reproduction of a medieval engraving shows further blocks rising to a height of nearly six metres. These blocks had vanished by the 1600s when contemporary artworks show the Arch as it currently stands. The information placard on site claims that some of the missing blocks can be spotted forming part of buildings in Cabanes - if you know where to look! Interesting architectural notes are that the Arch is made from limestone on a base of granite blocks and that it retains its curve without the use of a keystone.

We drove about 2km outside of Cabanes village to get here. There is a good cycle path from the village too, but as we drove back over the hills to get to our campsite we were glad we had not attempted to cycle there. The CV146 is too steep and narrow for our abilities!

Looking back along the Via Augusta 

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