The city of Empuries was, on the Classical Antiquity, the entrance door of the Greek and Roman cultures to the Iberian peninsula. It’s this name, and the importance that it also had during the Middle Ages, what has named the area as Emporda. It’s the only archaeological site in Catalonia with both Greek remains, the old Emporion colony (which means “market”), and a Roman remains, a city founded on the first century b.C. on the structures of a Roman military camp.
The site, partially excavated, can be divided into four parts, corresponding to successive occupations:
- The first Greek foundation, placed in a peninsula, and called Palaiapolis (old city) served as a commercial harbour. It hasn’t been entirely excavated because, ever since the Middle Ages up until today, it has been inhabited. Nowadays, it equates with the village of Sant Marti d’Empuries.
- The Greek city on solid ground, near the sea, called Neapolis (new city). It was founded on the sixth century b.C. and it contains the most significant buildings of the city.
- The Roman city, on the eastern side of the Neapolis, was founded on the year 100 b.C. on an old military camp. There was a big walled forum (place), with several temples, shops, and public baths.
- The remains of a small Iberian village from the Indigets. Nowadays it still hasn’t been archaeologically located.
The visit to the site consists of an itinerary around various parts of the archaeological site. You will also find the Museum of the excavations of Empuries halfway of the itinerary. Some of the findings, as well as a room devoted to Asclepius, god of medicine and the patron of the city of Empuries, are kept in there.
The visit is unaccompanied and it costs 5,50 euros (4,50 for pensioners, people under 18 and students; free for children under 16). The visit is free for everyone on the last Tuesday of each month (from October until June).