Roman ruins of Cerro da Vila

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Roman Ruins of Cerro da Villa (Ruínas Romanas do Cerro da Vila)
Cerro da Vila
Ruins (Ruínas)
Cerro da Vila Roman Ruins Saturday 20 November 2010.JPG
Vestiges of the walls of the dwellings and dependencies
Name origin: cerro da vila Spanish for hill of the town
Country  Portugal
Region Algarve
Subregion Algarve
District Faro
Municipality Loulé
Location Quarteira
 - elevation 11 m (36 ft)
 - coordinates 37°4′47.81″N 8°7′13.82″W / 37.0799472°N 8.1205056°W / 37.0799472; -8.1205056Coordinates: 37°4′47.81″N 8°7′13.82″W / 37.0799472°N 8.1205056°W / 37.0799472; -8.1205056
Length 106.97 m (351 ft), Southwest-Northeast
Width 146.95 m (482 ft), Northwest-Southeast
Architects unknown
Style Roman
Materials Limestone, Masonry
Origin 27 B.C.
For public Private
Visitation Closed (Mondays, Tuesday mornings, every weekend of each month, and on 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May and 25 December)
Easiest access Avenida Cerro da Vila, opposite Hotel da Marinha, Vilamoura
Management Instituto Gestão do Patrimonio Arquitectónico e Arqueológico
Hours 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Status Property of Public Interest
Listing Decree 129/77; DR226, 29 September 1977

The Roman Ruins of Cerro da Vila are the remnants of a historical villa in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. Its vestiges lie in the vicinity of the resort and marina of Vilamoura, in the civil parish of Quarteira, municipality of Loulé Municipality.[1][2]


The area around Vilamoura, in which the remains of this Roman villa can be found, has been occupied with human activity for thousands of years.[3] Graves dating back to the Bronze Age were discovered in the municipality in the Casão vineyard.[3]

The Romans where the first to establish a settlement of any size within the locality;[4] during the 2nd century, the region of the Algarve fell under the domain of Rome, under the rule of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14). The region was integrated into the Province of Lusitania, in reorganized into three into three civitas: Balsa (Luz de Tavira), Ossonoba (Faro) and Ciuitas, whose capital was either Cilpes (Silves) or more probably at Lacobriga (Lagos).[3] Cerro da Vila was situated in the Ossonoba territory and had a port, serving the fertile lands irrigated by a dam two kilometres from the settlement.[4]

Following its construction, the villa was periodically occupied by Visigoths[3] and Arab (Moorish) forces.[3][5] A group of silos from the Moorish period, in the interior of the Roman houses, support continuous occupation after the Romans.

It was included in the Programa de Valorização e Divulgação Turística: Itinerários Arqueológicos do Alentejo e Algarve (Touristic Valorization Program) in 1999, by the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, and the Secretary-of-State for Culture.[5] Consequently, in 2000, an interpretive centre, under the supervision of architect Fernando Galhano was constructed to support tourism, to be operated by the IPPR (later the Instituto Gestão do Patrimonio Arquitectónico e Arqueológico-IGESPAR).[5]


The ruins are located in a semi-rural area; the archaeological station is situated 1500 metres west of the parish seat in Quarteira.[5]

These are the ruins of Roman villa constituted by two residences (the principal along the harbour), baths, necropolis, dams and fish salting stations.[5] Of the two residences and baths, the only remnants are compartmentalized walls, including the impluvium, atrium and tablinum.[4][5] There exists friezes of marble and fragments painted stucco that decorated the walls, as well as the remains of poly-chromatic mosaic pavements. Two rectangular tanks serve the fish salting "buildings".[4][5][6] The necropole, which includes the remains of mausoleums and burial tombs, came much later (and only recently have been unearthed and investigated.[4][5]


  1. ^ Detail Regional Map: Algarve-Southern Portugal, Algarve, Portugal, ISBN 3-8297-6235-6 
  2. ^ Guide to the cultural heritage of the Algarve (PDF), Algarve, Portugal: Turismo of Portugal 
  3. ^ a b c d e Cerro da Vila Museum and Archaeological Site (2011)
  4. ^ a b c d e IGESPAR, ed. (2011), Ruínas romanas do Cerro da Vila (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: IGESPAR - Instituto Gestão do Patrimonio Arquitectónico e Arqueológico, retrieved 17 October 2011 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Neto, João (1991). SIPA, ed. "Ruínas Romanas do Cerro da Vila, em Vilamoura" (in Portuguese). Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico. 
  6. ^ Paço and Farrajota (1966)
  • Paço, Afonso do; Farrajota, José (1966), "Subsídios para uma carta arqueológica do Concelho de Loulé", Sep. de Arqueologia e História, 8ª série (in Portuguese), XII, Lisbon, Portugal 
  • Santos, Maria Luísa (1971), Arqueologia Romana do Algarve (in Portuguese), 2, Lisbon, Portugal 
  • Catarino, Helena Maria Gomes (2002), O Algarve islâmico : roteiro por Faro, Loulé, Silves e Tavira (in Portuguese), Faro, Portugal 
  • Carrusca, Susana, Loulé. O património artístico (in Portuguese), Loulé, Portugal