Turismo Prerrománico > Phases > Visigothic > Paleocristian > YACIMIENTO DE CERCADILLA


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Historic environment

The archaeological site of Cercadilla, in the city of Córdoba, constitutes one of the most notable Spanish sites from the late ancient and early medieval period, with a very extensive chronology that goes from the 3rd century to the Caliphal period (10th-11th centuries). The site is property of the Córdoba City Council. The Ministry of Culture and Historical Heritage participates, through an agreement signed with the City Council, in its management. A signposted route has been designed. A part of it is located in the parking lots of the railway station, while other remains are found in the adjacent streets.

Although the true discovery of the complex occurred in 1991, with the underground works carried out in the city of Córdoba for the construction of the AVE line and the new station, the first remains They were located in 1922 due to other works carried out at the Cercadilla railway station. At that time, the magnitude of the building was already realized (part of the complete vault of the cryptoportico was located), but it was decided to cover it again, remaining under the train tracks until 1991. Unfortunately, the authorities’ rush to complete the The work caused the destruction of practically the entire complex – the entire area affected by the station, the platforms and the tracks. What remains of this magnificent complex today are remnants, with no connection between them, distributed among various sectors of the area.

The most important element is the palatium (of colossal dimensions: 8 hectares) that is attributed to the tetrarch Maximian Herculeus (293-305), a chronology that has been reliably established from the reading of an epigraph, located on a level of abandonment of the 5th century, of the north bathtub of the frigidarium of the thermal baths. In that inscription the reference to the tetrarchs Constantius Chlorus and Galerius Maximian as “Noble Caesars” allows the complex to refer to the co-reigning emperor of that tetrarchy, the aforementioned Maximian.

The Christianization of the building is observed from the 6th century onwards, presumably becoming a cult center dedicated to the martyr Acisclo (d. 303).

In the Andalusian period, the entire monumental area (palace, the area was occupied by a neighborhood outside the madīna, organized radially and orthogonally, with homes and some public buildings, such as a neighborhood mosque that can be visited at the bus station. After the 12th century Andalusian farmhouse that is located there, the place is abandoned until in the 20th century it assumes the railway link functions described above.


The palace represented the almost complete urban modification of a large area of Córdoba. It is a closed building that faces the northwest corner of the walled city. The building is organized with a functional character: one, for the reception of troops and the other strictly classroom.

The first area was preceded by a monumental door that gave access to a space or plaza of about 25,000 m2. From there, the palatine area opened around a large cryptoportico that was separated from the outside by a forceful façade with towers. As we say, the semicircular cryptoportico serves as the center of the rest of the architectural units of the building. They are reached through a porticoed corridor flanked by columns. Different openings give way to the buildings of the palatium.

The most notable building is the large reception room (royal hall), with a basilica plan, which occupies the center of the palace, on whose sides different protocol rooms, thermal baths and nymphaeums have been arranged. To the west, at the furthest point, we find the residential area of the owner of the building.

Since the Christianization of the building, we can see the existence of burials carried out around that martyrium, in which about 150 individuals have been found, a number that must undoubtedly be higher. This cemetery must have continued functioning until the end of the 10th century (finding of the tombstone of Cristófora, “servant of God”, buried in the year 983).

Virgilio Martínez Enamorado for URBS REGIA

Other interesting information

Visiting hours:: Actualmente cerrado



Mª C. FUERTES SANTOS y R. HIDALGO PRIETO, 2005. Guía Arqueológica de Cercadilla. Córdoba, Sevilla.
R. HIDALGO PRIETO, 2017. «Cercadilla, palacio tardoantiguo».
ID., 2016. «El complejo monumental de Cercadilla: las transformaciones cristianas», en O. Brandt, V. Fiocchi Nicolai y G. Castiglia (eds.), Costantino e i costantinidi: l’innovazione costantiniana, le sue radici e i suoisviluppi (Acta XVI Congressvs Internationalis Archaeologiae Christianae ) (Vol. I), 523-550.
ID., 2000. «Sobre la cristianización de la topografía de la Córdobatardoantigua: el caso del palacio de Cercadilla», en V. Oliveira (coord.), Arqueologia da antiguidade na Penísula Ibérica. Actas do 3º Congresso de Arqueologia Peninsular (Vol. 6), 741-748.
– 2002. «De edificio imperial a complejo de culto: la ocupación cristiana del Palacio de Cercadilla», en D. Vaquerzio (ed.), Espacios y usos funerarios en el Occidente Romano(Vol. 2), pp. 343-372.
R. HIDALGO PRIETO y Mª C. FUERTES SANTOS, 2001. «Córdoba entre la antigüedadclásica y el Islam. Las transformaciones de la ciudad a partir de la información de lasexcavaciones de Cercadilla», Cuadernos emeritenses, 17, pp. 223-264.
Mª D. RUIZ LARA y E. GARCÍA VARGAS, 1997. «Primeros resultados de la investigación sobre la necrópolis medieval de Cercadilla (Córdoba)», Almirez, 6, pp. 183-201.