About Basilica Vega del Mar
The Basilica Vega del Mar was a Paleo-Christian Basilica in Marbella with a history dating back to the fourth century AD. Now in ruins, only the outline of Basilica Vega del Mar can be seen, surrounded by almost two hundred graves of various periods. It is also sometimes referred to as the Moorish cemetery.
History of Basilica Vega del Mar
The site was discovered in the early 20th century when eucalyptus was being planted as part of a general reforestation project, and evidence of a structure and human remains were discovered. The first excavation was thus authorised in 1916.
The Basilica Vega del Mar was a Paleo-Christian church and necropolis. The area was formerly known as Vega del Mar, and is now known as Linda Vista. The site contains the expansive and unusual remains of the Basilica, including its foundations and the evidence of a burial site.
The items discovered were deemed so significant that they are now exhibited at the National Museum of Archaeology in Madrid.
The original church on the site was built in the mid-fourth century, and is thought to have been destroyed in a Mediterranean earthquake in 365 AD. The ruins visible today are from a church that was built in the year 572 AD during the Byzantine tenure of the coast from 552 AD, until it was reconquered by the Visigoths in 621 AD.
The site was first used as a necropolis by Romans under Constantine. Almost 200 different tombs – mainly constructed in brick, with some lined in marble – were discovered, making it one of the largest Roman burial sites in Spain.
A tombstone in the colour ‘Constantine Crimson’ after Emperor Constantine is arguably the oldest tombstone found anywhere in Spain, demonstrating the site’s significance in Spanish history.
Basilica Vega del Mar Today
In the mid-2000s, the site was extensively renovated with elevated wooden walkways, a permanent fence around the perimeter, and information boards. Today, visitors can view the rectangular plan of the building that once stood at the site, as well as three napes and other key features such as a large fish-shaped baptismal font.
Getting to Basilica Vega del Mar
The site is a 20-25 minute drive from the centre of Marbella, primarily along the A-7 road. It is also reachable in an hour on the L-79, L-78, Avanza L-313, and Avanza L-525 buses which depart regularly. For those who fancy a scenic hike, it’s a 2 and a half hour walk from Marbella along its beautiful coastline.