Sunday, December 4, 2011

Empuries


Of course we are not the first visitors to fall under the spell of the Costa Brava. Some 2600 years ago Greek traders established a settlement at Empuries just north of the present day port town of Escala. Over a period of 700 to 800 years the Greeks and then the Romans built Empuries into one of the most important trading centres in the Mediterranean. Major excavations beginning in the early 1900s have uncovered the amazing remains of this site.

A perfect sunny Sunday gave us all the encouragement we needed to drive down to Empuries. We took back routes past the wetlands explored earlier. The ruins have only been partially excavated but there was more than enough to make for an engrossing trip back in time. There are actually two sets of ruins; after the Romans took over they built a new town immediately adjacent to the original Greek settlement. We wandered about marveling at the remains of temples, salting factories, administrative centres, drainage systems, public baths and more. A museum houses some great exhibits and amazing artifacts.

Having left the main archeological site we made the short drive to Sant Marti hoping to find a late lunch there. We weren’t disappointed; in the centre of town we found five or so outdoor restaurants. We went for the menu de dia, as we often do. By this time the sun was sinking and the air growing chilly, so we decided to save a proper exploration of Sant Marti for another day.

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