Pollentia - History and Facts | History Hit


Alcudia, Balearic Islands, Spain

Pollentia is an Ancient Roman site in Alcudia in Majorca.

Peta Stamper

20 May 2021
Image Credit: trabantos / Shutterstock.com

About Pollentia

Pollentia is an archaeological site in Alcúdia, Majorca, housing the remains of an Ancient Roman city established in either the 1st or 2nd century BC.

Sadly, Pollentia has been the subject of significant looting over the centuries, but there are still several monuments to see. The most significant of these is Pollentia’s 1st century AD Roman Theatre: Spain’s smallest surviving Ancient Roman theatre that is still used for shows today.

Visitors can also make out the foundations of the forum of Pollentia including some temples and shops.

Pollentia history

From the time Pollentia was founded by the consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus to around 70 BC, the settlement was a Roman castrum (military camp). Castra were designed to house and protect Roman soldiers during military campaigns, and Metellus established both Pollentia and Palma during the Roman expedition of the island in 123 BC. After 70 BC, the urban city was reorganised and saw several characteristic Roman monuments erected. Pollentia was rich and thriving by the 2nd century AD.

Sometime in the 3rd century, Pollentia suffered a devastating fire. While the fire was not enough to depopulate the city, evidenced by a 5th century fortification built by the forum, invasions by the Vandals and Byzantines sent the Roman town into decline. In later centuries a medieval Christian settlement was established just north of Pollentia, likely drawing away inhabitants.

Since 1957, Pollentia has been under continual excavation, principally in the residential area of Sa Portella, uncovering the city forum, a theatre and tabernae – single room shops incorporating a dwelling or living space. The work yielded other discoveries, such as a bronze girl’s head and golden coins, housed in the Monographic Museum of Pollentia, which point to a wealthy, refined and well-connected settlement.

Pollentia today

Located outside the medieval walls of Alcúdia, the 12 hectares of remains illustrate a bustling Roman settlement that boasted lots of shops, an impressive forum complete with a Capitol Temple dedicated to the imperial cult, as well as a Roman theatre. The theatre is situated on the outskirts of town, a 10 minute walk away, and originally had a capacity for 2,000 spectators.

Entrance to the site is only 2€ and includes access to the Monographic Museum of Pollentia inside Alcúdia’s historic centre. Open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 4pm (1pm at the weekend), Pollentia is a great way to spend a couple of hours exploring the ancient world.

Getting to Pollentia

Within walking distance from Alcúdia’s town centre, Pollentia is also easily accessed via public transport. Buses 302 and 322 stop at Avenue Princep d’Espanya along the town walls, minutes from the site entrance. For those driving, Alcúdia is 45 minutes from Palma via the Ma-13 and there is parking next to Masokapark.

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