This article has been visited 56 times

Guadiaro, the Roman town of Barbesula

in San Roque Municipality in Cádiz Province, Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 21 Nov 2019
Guadiaro Bridge Guadiaro Ferry Estuary of the Guadiaro at Torreguadiaro Soon after opening

Barbesula under the Romans

There has been a settlement at Guadiaro since pre-Roman times. The Romans called the place Barbesula. It was situated on the west bank of the river Guadiaro a few kilometres inland, a sheltered spot where the small cargo vessels of the day could safely moor and take on board the salted fish manufactured at Barbesula. Remains of the kilns used to make the amphorae that held the fish have been found in the area.

Promote your business with Visit Andalucia

The Romans departed and were replaced by Visigoths, then the Moors and finally the Christians. Guadiaro, although continuously occupied during those centuries, carries few signs of that period. It seems to have escaped attention.

Guadiaro Ferry and Bridge

The first record of a ferry dates to 1707 when the Cabildo (equivalent of a mayor) of the city of Gibraltar in the Campo de San Roque, named Pedro Delgado as boatman of the Guadiaro river. The ferry was originally a raft, hauled across by a continuous rope. It carried wagons, animals and people. In the late 19th century, with the advent of the motor vehicle, it became a somewhat larger raft. The ferry remained in service until 1929 when Spanish engineer Eduardo Torroja y Miret built the iron girder bridge seen today.

Until 1969, the coastal road, the N340, wound its way inland 2 kilometres from the coastal town of Torreguadiaro to the iron bridge at Guadiaro and then re-joined the coast. The new coast road, the A7, effectively bypassed the village of Guadiaro. A concrete bridge was built spanning the Guadiaro river downstream of the iron bridge. The town of Guadiaro again slipped from view and is now a sleepy place depending on agriculture, principally citrus fruit growing, and to a lesser extent, tourism for its sustenance. So little happens in Guadiaro that it made local news in 2010 when a roofed taxi stand entered service.

Find Guadiaro on the map

Return to: Cádiz province
Return to: Cádiz city
Return to: San Roque town

Places to go in San Roque

Carteia - Carthaginian and Roman ruins

Villages in San Roque

San Roque
Sotogrande luxury lifestyle on the Costa del Sol
Torreguadiaro, a satellite town of Sotogrande

About the Author

Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.

We Welcome Your Comments

We'll never share your email with anyone else.

Please add together 3 + 6 =

 

Book your Holiday

Booking.com

Support our Partners