Wikimedia Commons: Museu Monográfico de Conímbriga
Conímbriga is one of the largest Roman settlements excavated in
Portugal, and was classified as a National Monument in 1910. Located
in the civil parish of Condeixa-a-Velha e Condeixa-a-Nova, in the
municipality of Condeixa-a-Nova, it is situated 2 kilometres
(1.2 mi) from the municipal seat and 16 kilometres (9.9 mi)
Coimbra (the Roman town of Aeminium).
Conímbriga is a walled urban settlement, encircled by a curtain of
stone structures approximately 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) long.
Entrance to the settlement is made from vaulted structures consisting
of two doors (one on hinges), and at one time was defended by two
towers. The walls are paralleled by two passages, channelled to
excavations, in order to remove water infiltration from the walls. The
urban settlement consists of various structures such as a forum,
basilica and commercial shops, thermal spas, aqueducts, insulae, homes
of various heights (including interior patios) and domus (such as the
Casa dos Repuxos and Casa de Cantaber), in addition to paleo-Christian
A visitors' centre (which includes restaurant/café and gift-shop) was
constructed to display objects found by archaeologists during their
excavations, including coins, surgical tools, utensils and ceramics.
3 See also
5 External links
Votive and ceremonial structures
A maquette of the conceived layout of the forum at Conímbriga
The interior of the Casa dos Repuxos.
A view of the Monographic Museum at Conímbriga.
Like many archaeological sites,
Conímbriga was evolved sequentially
and built up by successive layers, with the primary period of
occupation beginning in the 9th century; during this period the area
was occupied by a Castro culture. Before the Roman occupation,
Conii peoples (who would later settle in southern Portugal)
occupied the settlement. The
Conímbriga designation came from
conim, used by pre-European indigenous to designate the place of rocky
eminence, and briga, the Celtic suffix meaning "citadel". This site
had become a junction between the road that linked
Olisipo to Bracara
Augusta, by way of
Around 139 BC, Romans began arriving in the area, as a consequence of
the expeditionary campaigns of Decimus Junius Brutus. At the
Conímbriga was already a built-up settlement. The Romans
introduced the formal organization of space to the settlement. Owing
to the peaceful nature of rural Lusitania, Romanisation of the
indigenous population was quick and Conímbriga, inevitably, became a
Between 69 and 79 AD, during the reign of Vespasian,
elevated to the status of municipium. At that time, new urban
programs were initiated. Judging by the capacity of the amphitheatre,
by this time, the city had an estimated population of approximately
10600. Many of the new colonists came from the Italian peninsula
(like the Lucanus, Murrius,
Aponia families) and
intermarried with local inhabitants (such as the Turrania, Valeria,
Alios and Maelo families).
Construction of the Casa dos Repuxos began in the 2nd century, likely
over a pre-existing structure. At the end of the 3rd century, the
Augustian walls were replaced by the existing structures. In
addition there was a remodelling of the baths and construction of a
majority of the larger homes of the town, leading to the construction
of the paleo-Christian basilica in the 4th century.
Between 465 and 468, invasions by
Sueves caused the destruction of the
city, and its inhabitants dispersed, some into slavery.
The bishopric of
Conímbriga was established between 561 and 572,
under the direction of Lucêncio, its first bishop. By 589,
Conímbriga ceased to be the episcopal seat, and was transferred to
Aeminium, which later became Coimbra.
During the reign of King Manuel (1519), the king ordered the
inscriptions on the facade of the Church of Condeixa-a-Nova.
In the 18th century,
Conímbriga was first referred to in parochial
documents, resulting in the 1869 visit by Hubner to the site. In 1873,
the Instituto de
Coimbra Institute) was created, in addition
to the formation of a museum dedicated to archaeology, instigating the
first formal excavations at
Conímbriga in 1873. Mosaics were
removed from the uncovered homes and the first excavations were made
in 1899, resulting in the plan for the oppidum.
In 1911, the
Coimbra Institute ceded its collection to the Museum
Machado de Castro, resulting in the beginnings of the studies by
Augusto Filipe Simões and António Augusto Gonçalves.
On the occasion of the 11th International Congress on Archaeology and
Pre-History (1930) in Portugal, the state acquired the first lands and
official excavations on the site. At the time of this congress the
eastern gates to the city were unobstructed. The following year the
DGEMN started the work of reconstructing and consolidating the ruins,
which were continued in 1955.
In 1956, there were archaeological studies of Oppidum Romano, by the
Serviços dos Monumentos Nacionais (National Monument Service). New
excavations occurred in 1964.
In 1962, the Museu Monográfico de
Monographic Museum) was inaugurated. It was followed in 1964 by the
collaboration between this museum and the archaeological mission from
the University of Bordeaux: under the direction of J. Bairrão Oleiro,
Robert Étienne and Jorge de Alarcão, the centre of the Roman city
In 1970, the work with the mosaics was consolidated, at a time when
the monograph museum was expanded (with a basement, installations for
a guard and interior shelter). But, throughout the transition to
Portuguese democracy and beyond, the team at
Conímbriga attempted to
consolidate and maintain the site. The early work continued into
1974, with the consolidation, restoration and expansion of the museum
and 1975, with the prospecting into other zones, the paving of
walkways, landscaping and solutions to drainage issues. In 1976, the
gazebo and interior of the older Monographic Museum was repaired.
These repairs continued into 1977, with expansion of the museum,
restoration of the facades, the old portico and the colonnade was
transformed into an internal gallery, the arrangement of the principal
atrium and creating a gutters to alleviate pedestrian walkways. The
following year began the construction of a ticket booth in cement and
glass, while in 1979 an electrical transformer and litter incineration
unit was installed. The installation of electrical devices,
illumination and climate control units in the museum only occurred
between 1981 and 1982. In 1986 a new awning was installed to cover
the Casa dos Repuxos.
The first permanent public exposition was opened in April 1985.
During the 1990s, there were projects to remodel the museum and
upgrade the displays and various installations to support visitors,
under the direction of Cruz Alarcão, Arquitectos Lda. They were
re-contracted between 2004-2005 to improve the site, including the
reconstruction of the Augustian forum and southern thermal spas,
construction of a small structure for spectacles (consisting of a
roadway, stage and bunks molded to the terrain), alongside the
On 9 August 1991, the museum became part of the Instituto Português
de Museus (Portuguese Institute for Museums), leading to the 1 June
1992 transfer to the Instituto Português do Património
Arquitetónico (IPPAR), and then on 29 March 2007, the Instituto dos
Museus e Conservação (Institute for Museums and Conservation).
Sections of a residential domus with water gardens.
An arched section of the aqueduct in one of the alleyways.
The "skeleton" of the thermal baths.
The exposed ruins and the gazebo protecting the Casa dos Repuxos.
The excavation site and visitors' centre is located on the outskirts
of the rural community of Condeixa-a-Nova, based on a plateau-shaped
triangular spur over two deep depressions (one occupied by the Ribeira
Although Conimbriga was not the largest Roman city in Portugal, it is
the best preserved, with archaeologists estimating that only 10
percent of the city has been excavated.
The urbanized civitas includes integrated structures starting from the
Iron Age and extending to the 5th century. There were specifically
three phases of spatial organization: in the 1st century BC, under the
reign of Augustus, a late republican forum (that included
crypto-portico, basilica, curia and commercial shops), thermal baths,
an aqueduct and the first residential pre-Roman architectural
structures; a 1st-century AD group, established under Flavius, that
included a reconstructed imperial forum, Vitruvian baths and revised
urban plan; and a 3rd-century settlement that fell within revised
The civil/residential buildings included numerous examples of
remodeled and reused structures dating from the first century BC. Most
of these homes were insulae (houses with more than one floor), with
open patio/courtyards and domus with peristyle (such as the Casa dos
Repuxos and Casa de Cantaber). Most of the private/civil
architecture and public buildings included abundant decorative
materials, including mosaics, sculptures and painted murals.
Of the Suebic occupation, there is a paleo-Christian basilica (5th-6th
century), which was a reused and transformed domus. The robust,
rustic 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) walls imply an urgency in its
construction. It was built using large, carved, irregular blocks,
with most coming from other constructions. The height of the walls
vary from 5 metres (16 ft) to 6.5 metres (21 ft), suggesting
the significance of its military feasibility.
There are three distinct baths within the walls: the Great Southern
Baths, the Baths of the Wall, and the Baths of the Aqueduct. The
network of stone heating ducts under the (now-missing) floors are the
most distinct structures in the Roman baths.
The amphitheatre, dating from the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty,
takes advantage of a natural depression that surrounded the city to
the north. The first was identified in 1993 by Virgílio H.
Correia, and excavations began in 2012-2013. Part of the amphitheatre
was located below local homes in Condeixa-a-Nova, consisting of three
entranceways to the Roman structure. The 5000-capacity monument was
90 by 60 by 20 metres (295 ft × 197 ft
× 66 ft), and 4 metres (13 ft) underground, with some
rural homes built using part of the structure.
The Luso-French mission (1965-1968) unearthed public structures of
great dimensions, whose architecture was reconstructed. This included
two phases, where the first structures can not be reconstructed with
certainty. These Flavian monuments coincide with the location of
some important elements, such as the central square.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae
af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap Cravo, João; Bonifácio, Horácio;
Amaral, Carlos (2005), Cidade romana de Conímbriga/Ruínas de
Conímbriga (IPA.00002710/PT020604050001) (in Portuguese), Lisbon,
Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património
Arquitectónico, retrieved 19 April 2015
^ "Conimbriga - Ruínas, Museu monográfico" (in Portuguese). Coimbra,
Portugal: Museu Monográfico de Conimbriga/IPM. 2000. Retrieved
^ a b c d e f g Martins, A. (28 February 2005), GIF/IPPAR, ed.,
Conímbriga (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal:
Direção-Geral de Património Cultural, retrieved 19 April 2015
^ Jorge Alarcão (1999), p.95
^ "Escavações em Conimbriga vão pôr a descoberto anfiteatro romano
único no país" (in Portuguese). Lisbon, Portugal: SIC Noticias.
Archived from the original on 2011-11-09.
Alarcão, Jorge (1999),
Conímbriga - O Chão Escutado (in
Portuguese), Mem Martins, Portugal: Edicarte, Edições e Comércio de
Arte, Lda., p. 95
Instituto Português dos Museus, Roteiros da Arqueologia Portuguesa,
Ruínas de Conimbriga (in Portuguese), Condeixa-a-Nova, Portugal,
Relatório da Actividade do Ministério no Triénio de 1947 a 1949 (in
Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Ministério das Obras Públicas,
Relatório da Actividade do Ministério no Triénio de 1955 (in
Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Ministério das Obras Públicas,
Relatório da Actividade do Ministério no Triénio de 1956 (in
Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Ministério das Obras Públicas,
"Oppidum romano de Conimbriga", Boletim da Direcção-Geral dos
Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais (in Portuguese) (52-53), Lisbon,
"Ruínas de Conimbriga: consolidação de mosaicos", Boletim da
Direcção-Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais (116), Lisbon,
Multimedia gallery of
Flavian Forum of Conímbriga
Italica Romana - Reconstructions of Conímbriga
O forum de Conimbriga e a evolução do centro urbano
The Flavian Forum of Conimb