They are located between the towns of Oliva de Plasencia and Guijo de Granadilla, in the north of the province of Cáceres in the region of Valle de Alagón on a promontory on the banks of the river Ambroz, in what is known today as the Dehesa Casablanca. The name of the Roman city of Caparra is of Veton origin, like the pre-Roman settlement that originated it. In Roman times it was part of the province of Lusitania and became very important both because it was located in a territory with few Roman urban centres and because it was a crucial place of passage on the Roman road that linked Emérita Augusta with Asturica, which later became the Vía de la Plata (Silver Route) which, as it passed through the city, became one of its two most important streets, the decumanus maximus. The existence of Caparra is documented since ancient times. At the beginning of the first century after Christ the city was protected by a wall that would be reinforced around the fourth century, although it is very likely that the population exceeded the walled perimeter by extending outside it. The walls had three gates, one on each side of the decumanus maximus, east and west, which connected with the Silver Route and the southern gate that led to the Forum through the other urban axis, the cardo maximus.
In the year 74 the emperor Vespasian granted the Hispanic provinces the Latin right and in this way Caparra became a municipality and its inhabitants became Roman citizens, this translated into an important urban development for the town of which numerous remains remain including its famous arch. The fall of the Roman Empire meant for Cáparra the beginning of the decline that intensified in the High Middle Ages, starting to be depopulated; from the Visigothic period nothing is known about Cáparra and with the invasion of the Muslims the abandonment was accentuated without any news of repopulation when it was reconquered, centuries later. In the 16th century Cáparra is mentioned in a document together with a drawing of its arch and it is known of the existence of sales on the road, for the use of travellers, which lasted until the 19th century when they disappeared as a consequence of the War of Independence and which were known and remembered today by the name of Ventas de Cáparra.
The tour of such an interesting site can begin at the Caparra Interpretation Centre, which is located in the same place and was built on the site of the partial excavation of one of the three known necropolises of the city. It gives the visitor the necessary information for a better presentation of the archaeological remains that he will find, and helps him to get into the situation and transport himself in time. Once outside, to the right of the building you can see a granite stone grave.
Close to it is the amphitheatre that was built, in the first century after Christ, outside the urban area. A gravel road leads through olive groves to the centre of the town of Cáparra where the famous tetrapylum stands, the only vestige of this town that has remained standing. This quadrifronted arch is the only one in Spain of its characteristics and was erected at the end of the first century and in it the two main axes or streets, the Cardo and the Decumano, most probably converged. The thermal baths are located in the northwest end of the old Roman city, next to the arch and making a corner with cardo and decumanus maximus. As soon as the arch is crossed, the main public space of Caparra appears, the forum, political, social and religious centre. In this enclosure there was the basilica on the left, where justice was administered, on the right the curia, where the senate met, and in the background three temples. Walking around the edges of the decumano, where you can still see part of the pavement of the Silver Way, the outline of the domus, stately mansions, and of the insulae, blocks of houses, trying to imagine the noisy sound of the taverns, depends on the commitment of each one.
There is a saying that became popular in the sixteenth century that says "and so Cáparra was depopulated" and is used when in a meeting of people, they are leaving little by little, as happened with the abandonment, by the population, of Cáparra.
The origin of the name Cáparra is not Latin, but pre-Roman, probably Veton, and could mean place of exchange, barter or market. Nearby there are remains of Roman bridges and it is located in a crossroads towards the Jerte valley.
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The Roman City of Cáparra is very close to the A-66 highway that connects Plasencia and Salamanca. Shortly before arriving in Plasencia from Salamanca, at Villar de Plasencia, we will find the detour that we must take towards Oliva de Plasencia. Once on the old N-630, shortly after leaving the motorway, we will find the junction with the road that leads to Guijo de Granadilla, which we will have to continue along. It is on this regional road that we will find the access to the Roman City of Caparra.
Once inside the site, as soon as you enter it, you will find the interpretation centre and a large car park where you can leave your vehicle to start your visit to the archaeological site.
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