Centum Cellas Roman Ruins

Belmonte, Colmeal da Torre - Belmonte


Situated in the Santo Antão Mount, in the settlement of Colmeal da Torre, nearby Belmonte, right in the Central region of Portugal, a lot has been discussed over the centuries about the origins of these Ruins.

Nowadays what is left is the Tower, also known as São Cornélio Tower, situated in a fertile area, nearby the confluence of the Gaia river with the Zêzere river.

Throughout the centuries many attributions were given to these ruins, such as temple, to jail, or an accommodation unit, knowing now, after many archaeological researches, that this would have been a wide structural set, including many compartments such as rooms, corridors, stairways, basements, courtyards, with the tower being the central space.

Researches say that this was a Roman “Villa”, belonging to Lucius Caecilius, a rich Roman citizen, a trader of stannic, that founded here his residence, during the 1st century a.C..

The Tower is composed by two floors, with about 12 meters high, the centre of all the development of the villa.
The building would have suffered a big fire and destruction in the end of the 3rd century, when some alterations were made, along with new constructions.

Over the ruins of the villa it was probably built a Chapel with the utilization of the materials of the villa. This chapel however, disappeared in the 18th century.

Probably during Middle Age, this Tower had an important defensive role and would have been restored, yet ignoring the surrounding buildings.

Centum Cellas was classified as a National Monument in 1927.

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