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Balsa de Cela Roman Baths

in Tijola Municipality in Almería Province, Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 28 Jul 2020
Balsa Cela Balsa Cela Voconia Avita plaque

Since time immemorial, hot water has flowed from springs just north of Tijola in Almeria province. Since Roman times the waters have been valued for their medicinal properties and the first written mention of them dates back to the time of the Roman occupation.

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The springs were first used to irrigate the surrounding fields and ran through a water trough from which cattle could drink. At some time in the remote past a reservoir was created that has been used ever since by the public. They became known as Balsa de Cela. It was thought that the original public baths dated back to the Roman period and, in 1977, the discovery of a marble tablet with a Latin inscription seems to confirm this. The slab has been described as a tombstone. It is likely it was simply a commemorative plaque; the Romans were not shy about advertising their munificence.

Twelve thousand denarii goes a long way

The transcription of the inscription reads as follow:
'Voconia Avita, daughter of Quintus, built at her own expense and in her own terrano spas for her Tagilitana community. I open these same after having offered a public banquet and having held circus performances. And I donate twelve thousand denarii to the Tagil community for the conservation of this work and the perpetual maintenance of the baths.'

Today the Balsa de Cela is maintained by the municipalities of Tijola and Lucar, being on the border between the two, and is a favourite recreational area for the people of those municipalities. There are a number of restaurants surrounding the expansive pool and plenty of grassy shade.

Go to: Almería province
Go to: Almería city
Go to: Tijola town

Villages in Tijola municipality

Tijola - Pearl of Almanzora

Find Balsa de Cela Roman Baths on the map

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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.

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