About Roman Ruins of Troia
The ruins of the Roman settlement of Troia in Portugal contain the remains of an important trading centre that grew into a small residential settlement.
History of Troia
Probably built in the first half of the 1st century AD, Troia was known for its production and trade in the popular Roman fish-based sauce Garum as well as for producing salted fish: the richness of salt and fish in parts of the River Sado meant that this area became known for fish processing – their products were exported throughout the empire. Nearby ruins, like those of Creiro, show it had similar industry.
It is likely that the settlement remained active until the 5th or 6th centuries AD, when the upheaval of the Germanic invasions changed the political and cultural destiny of the region.
Troia’s ruins were known about in the 16th century, but the first excavations only happened in the 18th century. These showed evidence of over 25 individual workshops, with a total of 182 square processing tanks. The site also had a full set of Roman baths, a burial zone, and Christian graves and a paleochristian basilica – evidence of exactly how much things changed across the Roman Empire during the time Troia was inhabited.
The ruins of Troia today are close to a large beach resort. Visitors can still explore the large fish-salting complex, a set of Roman baths, an ancient mausoleum and cemetery and the remains of the residential areas of the settlement. The site also boasts an early Christian basilica, though this can only be visited on guided tours.
There is an informative visitor track around the ruins which is dotted with explanatory panels. Allow an hour or so to visit and bring hats and suncream if you’re visiting in the summer – it can be very hot and there’s little shade.
Getting to Troia
The ruins are at the end of Troia peninsula: turn off the main road just after Rua dos Fuzileiros and follow it several kilometres right to the end. Be warned it’s pretty rough going, and a 4WD would be best over this kind of terrain. The peninsula itself is about a 90 minute drive from Lisbon, on the Atlantic Coast.
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