WHEN IN ROME: Mosaics saved from vegetation and rubbish

ANCIENT Roman mosaics will soon be open to the public in Calpe after undergoing months of restoration work.

The 2,000-year-old artworks at the Baños de la Reina, a stone’s throw from Calpe’s yacht club, had fallen into disrepair, with experts warning that litter and encroaching vegetation would destroy the site ‘within a decade’.

But thanks to two years of painstaking work by specialist restoration company Alebus Patrimonio, pictures have now emerged showing the damaged but still intricately stunning Roman floors.

“Here you can see how the wonderful mosaics and pavements of the Queen of Calpe are coming up in all its splendor,” citizen group Banys de la Reina de Calp said.

A spokesperson for the group confirmed to the Olive Press that guided tours would soon be available once restoration work is complete.

RUBBISH: Plastic bottles littering the site last year

The ruins are what is left of a Roman settlement established in the 1st century AD, and which was in use until the 6th century.

A bathing complex can still be made out in the site—featuring the typical anointing room, hot room and cold plunge pool—as well as three fish ponds at the water’s edge.

It was these fish ponds that were mythically linked as bathing areas for the legendary Reina Mora (Moorish Queen).

Centuries of disuse slowly saw the ruins fall into disrepair, but volunteers in 2017 also recovered 15 barrels of brushwood, mattresses, nappies, cans and even dead animals from the ancient site, suggesting human interference was hastening decay.

In 2018 the ruins were designated a Bien de Cultural Interes (BIC), leading to a €14,989 grant from Calpe’s Town Hall to Alebus Patrimonio for four months’ restoration work.

BURIED TREASURE: Mosaics revealed by painstaking restoration

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