Roman Necropolis of Barcelona - History and Facts | History Hit

Roman Necropolis of Barcelona

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

The Roman Necropolis of Barcelona contains 95 Ancient Roman tombs.

Peta Stamper

06 Apr 2021
Image Credit: CC / Kippelboy

About Roman Necropolis of Barcelona

The Roman Necropolis of Barcelona or Necrópolis Romana is a site containing ninety-five 2nd and 3rd century Roman tombs. Today, the Roman Necropolis can be seen in a small park within Barcelona, each grave marked with a small monument known as a “cupae”.

Roman Necropolis of Barcelona history

Hewn into the rock, the Roman Necropolis of Barcelona was established in the 1st century AD. The Romans had been in Barcelona since 15 AD when they redrew the town as a castrum or Roman military camp. Barcino (Barcelona’s Latin name) soon grew in wealth and consequence, favoured due to its beautiful location and excellent harbour.

As with most Roman cities, Barcino required all burials to take place outside of its city walls. The necropolis literally meant ‘city of the dead’, and was placed on one side of the route leaving the city – in Barcelona’s case, the Via Augusta.

The graves were predominantly marked with ‘cupae’, simple funeral monuments, while rich families made larger monuments and sculptures with plaques to remember the name of the deceased. Most of the inhabitants were cremated, their remains put into box-like stone urns before being placed into wall niches.

Roman Necropolis of Barcelona today

Today, you can find the Roman Necropolis of Barcelona in the Plaça Vila de Madrid, lying between flower-beds on both sides of the minor roads leading to the Roman city, now in the Old Town district near Le Ramblas and Plaça Catalonia.

At the necropolis, visitors can spend around an hour walking among the tombs – some more elaborate than others. At the Roman Necropolis, you can also walk around the small museum displaying objects found in the tombs, including human skeletons, the remains of small pets, and simple ceramic vessels.

Once you have spent time with the Romans, continue across the road where you can also visit the nearby sun-spot that is the remains of the 1st century BC Anfiteatro Romano, Barcelona’s Roman amphitheatre.

Getting to the Roman Necropolis of Barcelona

Located at the Plaça Vila de Madrid in Barcelona’s Gothic quarter, you can easily reach the Roman Necropolis on foot from the thoroughfare La Ramblas. Via public transport, the Barcelona Metro stops Liceu and Catalunya are a 4 and 6 minute walk away from the necropolis.