Greek Archaeological ensemble in Empúries
Greek Archaeological ensemble in Empúries, l'Escala, Girona is part of the Tentative list of Spain in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Empúries was an ancient city on the Mediterranean coast in northeastern Spain. The city was founded in the early 6th century BCE by Greek merchants from Phocaea (Ionia). Empúries was occupied by the Romans at the end of the 3rd century BCE and was the starting point for the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The archaeological site includes the sector of the Greek city and remains of the Roman municipal city.
Map of Greek Archaeological ensemble in EmpúriesLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Empúries, with the emphasis on plural S, are ancient ruins at the east coast of Catalonia, a good 2h away from the Barcelona and apparently getting plenty of French tourists. With the Dali museum in Figueres nearby it is not entirely off the beaten track but the smaller roads one has to take is exactly the reason why the towns fell into ruins so long ago. The Roman roads neglected the towns of Empuries and other port towns were favored over them.
I wasn't sure if I should bother with it either. I watched a video about the ruins and saw some pictures and wasn't impressed at all. I am so glad I ignored my first impression. The entrance is €5.50 and includes a small guide pamphlet but more importantly an audio guide in 6 languages. The guide is really what sells this place. It made me wonder if there is a specific site that rates audio guides for sites or if WHS audio guides may warrant an extra rating for it. If you just wander through the ruins, reading the few panels and trying to make sense of things plus reading up stuff online would be silly. Rightly so the museum knows this and doesn't charge an extra few bucks for this.
The most interesting and unique section is he Greek town. An old trade port later annexed by the Romans but always separate until the towns demises, is what I would see as a definite inclusion into world heritage. Luckily the statue of the healing God (disputed who exactly) is back from the museum in Barcelona. This and the mosaics are some of the highlights of the small indoor museum.
The second part of the site is a rather large Roman town, with only 20% unearthed at this time. As there are many better examples of Roman towns this isn't quite as interesting but a worthy addition.
Coming back to the audio guide. It blends facts with stories, slight humor, knows exactly that the listener is tired and guides you through the places really well. Also it tells you where to start a number in advance so you don't have to look for a number when you reach the next part. I'm very impressed. The round trip through the area is already long enough but it tells you if you need extra time to go look around now before moving on, saving you that extra bit of energy.
I spent 2h here and that is a lot for me, not including the full video room usage and skipping the small display cases indoors. After a long walk to the walls and back to the entrance of the museum my legs wouldn't take any more. The crowds were mainly student groups. I think the place is not famous enough for the tourist hords which added another pleasure to the trip.
Successor to former TWHS Ensemble arquéologique d'Ampurias & Ampurias (1984)
2002 Added to Tentative List
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