Basílica de Algezares
The Basilica of Llano del Olivar or Basílica de Algezares is an archaeological complex from the late Roman/Visigoth period and Islamic (9th-10th century). It was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument by R. D. 761/1979, of March 16 (B.O.E. of April 12, 1979).
It is located in the mountainous foothills of the Sierra de la Cresta del Gallo delimited by the Ramblas del Rincón and Los Conejos to the east. The passage to the site can be made through the regional road MU-302 to Algezares, located 10 meters from the Basilica between a plot with olive trees; which give name to said Basilica.
The chronology of the Llano del Olivar archaeological complex, from the second half of the 6th century AD, has been able to be determined thanks to the study of the ornamental construction materials found together with the study of similar buildings in North Africa and Italy.
The Basilica is a rectangular building, divided into three naves separated from each other by arches supported by columns and with a porticoed entrance. The central nave, as in most churches and buildings with a plan asilical, it is wider than the sides; At the opposite end to the entrance is a semicircular, peralted apse. In the left side nave there are a series of walls 3 meters wide by 14.20 meters long, while in the right side nave it preserves part of its apse that connects with the Baptistery, two late tombs and an archway that separate between ships.
The entrance portico or narthex is located on the north side, in which there are three square bases, two of which are for the separation line and the other for the narthex of the Basilica.
The Baptistery is attached to the Basilica in a mixtilinear form of 8 meters in diameter. In the center of the room there is an octagonal baptismal pool (according to the studies carried out it should have a depth of between 1.50 – 1.60 meters with its drain), covered with opus signinum to waterproof it and thick masonry walls. There are no remains of any door that communicated with the Basilica in the right side nave, but on the opposite side there is an entrance through a possible door, where remains of the threshold and part of the left jamb can be seen. Said door would communicate with another rectangular space, which could be an anteroom or vestibule, in whose room the catechumens would be.
The Baptistery pool is perfectly suited to the baptismal rite, which is very similar to the African rite. This rite has three parts: renouncing the devil, profession of faith and baptism, with a single investment.
Rite of Baptism in the basilica
First of all, you had to go down four steps, first renouncing the pomps and works of Satan and the seven deadly sins to stand in the pit, which is perfectly preserved on the spot, out in the open. Next, the catechumens had to be introduced full body as a sign of purification. Currently, the rite is by sprinkling, in a basin and water is deposited with a bowl on the newborn’s head. The bishop had to be present at the baptism, since it was the most important act. The neophyte is Christianized in the baptistery.
Other interesting information
Access: Carretera dirección Los Garres. Murcia.
González Fernández, Rafael: “La basílica de Algezares” Cuadernos del Patrimonio histórico‑artistico de Murcia numero 1 (Murcia, Asociación Patrimonio siglo XXI. 1997)
Mergelina, Virginia de y Mari Carmen Sánchez Rojas: “Tres sepulturas paleocristianas en Murcia”. Cartagena (Murcia). 1982.
Estudio preliminar de los materiales procedentes de la Basílica de Algezares en los fondos del Museo Arqueológico de Murcia. Marina García Vidal.