The Pillars of Herakles Route


ITINERARY: Jerez - Castillo de Doña Blanca - El Puerto de Santa María - Bolonia - Los Algarbes - Carteia - San Roque.

The southern coast that overlooks the passage from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic is where the Pillars of Herakles or Hercules were said to be, on either side of the Straits of Gibraltar, they represented the western edge of the known world. Cadiz was the port of Lower Andalusia and its strategic position attracted successive colonizations. Native settlements date from the prehistory; Phoenician and Punic colonies, Roman cities all interlace and superimpose one upon the other, creating a powerful substratum. The museum at Jerez de la Frontera is good starting point in order to obtain an overall chronological view of this area, where the Roman city and necropolis of Carissa Aurelia are to be found near Bornos. The Atlantic coast was most favoured by various settlers and severla towns are to be found around the Bay of Cadiz devoted to trade and fishing; it was also on the outskirts of the Tartessian kingdom that covered the provinces of Huelva and Seville. Near El Puerto de Santa María, on the road to El Portal, the prothistoric town of Castillo de Doña Blanca (8th-4th centuries BC) is being excavated, the ruins are impressive. The objects found here, on show at the Museum at El Puerto de Santa María, are related to the west throughout antiquity. The Museum at Cadiz has many fine objects: jewels, sarcophagi, statuettes of Melkart and other vestiges of its semitic population.

Still further south before reaching Tarufa, at Bolonia, there are the ruins of Baelo Claudia devoted to tunny fishing, that gained widespread fame during the Roman empire. The remains are in fair condirion and the wals, streets, forum and temples, market place, basilica, theatre and salting factory can be clearly distinguished. Near Tarifa on the road to Punta Paloma, the site of Los Algarbes has a Bronze Age hypogean necropolis. The Roman town of Carteia near San Roque was a traditng colony of the Straits of Gibraltar where baths a theatre, forum and temples and market have been found.

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