Sagunto

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Sagunto  is a town in Eastern Spain, in the modern fertile comarca of Camp de Morvedre in the province of Valencia.

It is located c. 30 km north of Valencia, close to the Costa del Azahar on the Mediterranean Sea. It is best known for the remains of the ancient Iberian and Roman city of Saguntum, which played a significant part in the Second Punic War between the Carthaginians and the Romans.

Understand : Modern Sagunto is divided into two sections: the modern port with good beaches, and the historic centre, near the original Iberian hilltop fortifications.

The original town was established in the 5th century BCE by the Celtiberians, and eventually developed strong trade relations with nearby Greek and Phoenician colonies. In 219 BCE the city sided with the Roman Empire against the Carthaginians and was subjected to the eight-month ‘Siege of Saguntum’, resulting in Hannibal’s capture of the town and becoming Rome’s casus belli for the Second Punic War. Later the city fell under Roman, then Visigothic, and later Moorish control before finally being conquered by Jaime I of Aragon in the early 13th century. Modern visitors can appreciate remains from each of these periods.

Access : Coordinates: 39.676389, -0.273333 / Estacion de Tren de Sagunto (Sagunto Train Station), C/ Via Ferrea, s/n, 34 902 240 505 (reservations). Long-distance trains connect Sagunto with Barcelona and Valencia. Medium-distance trains connect the city with Valencia, Alicante, Castellon, Segorbe, and Teruel.
From Valencia, Renfe regional train line C6 depart every ½ hour from Estacio de Valencia Nord  a round-trip ticket costs €4.70 and the journey lasts about 30 minutes.
Get around :  By foot :  The easiest way to get around the historic centre of the city is by foot. By bus :  AVSA operates three bus routes in Sagunto. Line 1 traverses the historic centre, Line 2 covers the port area, and Line 102, possibly the most useful for travellers, connects the historic centre with the port area and its beaches. A single journey costs €1.45 (no transfers)  By taxi :  A taxi stand is located in front of the train station.

Highlights :

  • Historic centre :   Castell de Sagunt (Castillo de Sagunto / Castle of Sagunto). Winter: Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 10:00-14:00; Summer: Tu-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-14:00; closed 25 Dec and 1 Jan. This large hilltop fortification was first established by the Iberians, who famously managed to hold back Carthaginian forces for eight months during the Siege of Saguntum at the beginning of the second Punic War. The fortress was later expanded by the Romans, Visigoths, and Moors, and was last used by French forces during the French occupation at the beginning of the 19th century. It stretches over 1 km along the top of a large hill, and is divided into seven separate precincts. Good views of the town below and of the sea can be had from multiple viewpoints along the outer walls. Free.
  •  Teatre Roma (Teatro Romano / Roman Theatre). Winter: Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 10:00-14:00; Summer: Tu-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-14:00; closed 25 Dec and 1 Jan. Built in the 1st century BCE and carved out of the side of the mountain, this Roman theatre can seat 8000 people. Its recent restoration has not been without controversy, but it is still used today during festivals. Free.
  • Jueria (La Juderia / Jewish Quarter). This was the Jewish quarter until the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Although the synagogue is no longer standing, the streets have been practically unaltered since medieval times. The main entrance through an archway known as the 3 Portalet de la Sang, with other smaller arches demarcating the other entrances. The quarter includes the streets Antigons, Rams (Ramos), Segovia, Vella Sang (Sangre Vieja, the synagogue’s former location), Teatre Roma (Teatro Romano), and Pere Cartagena (Pedro Cartagena).
  •  Museu Historic de Sagunt (MUHSAG) (Museo Historico de Sagunto / History Museum of Sagunto), C/ Castell, 23. Winter: Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 10:00-14:00  Summer: Tu-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-14:00  closed 25 Dec and 1 Jan. This 14th-century house is now a museum with Iberian and Roman archaeological artifacts, all excavated in Sagunto. Free.
  • Temple de Diana (Templo de Diana / Temple of Diana), C/ Sagrari, s/n. Dating from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, these remains are of the only building that survived Hannibal’s siege of Saguntum. Free.
  • Via del Portic (Via del Portico), Placa Antiga Moreria, 9. Guided visits: winter Tu-Sa 10:00 11:15 12:30 16:00 17:15; summer Tu-Sa 10:00 11:15 12:30 16:00 17:15 18:30. Located beneath a residential building, these Roman remains date from the 1st to the 5th centuries CE, and include a road with sidewalks, sewage network. Free.
  • Fundacio Bancaixa, Placa del Cronista Chabret, 6. During exhibits: Tu-Sa 17:00-21:00. The cultural centre hosts temporary exhibits of conteporary art and photography by Valencian and Spanish artists.

Port area :

  •  Torre del Grau Vell (Tower of Grau Vell). Grau Vell is a small village located just south of the modern port, on the site of the original ancient Iberian and Roman port; a number of ancient shipwrecks have been discovered just offshore here. For visitors the most interesting structure is a small 16th-century fortress, part of a network of coastal forts and towers built to defend against Barbary pirates.

Activities : Birdwatching / Beaches :  Sagunto has 13km of excellent beaches, including 2 Platja del Port (Playa del Puerto), 3 Platja d’Almarda (Playa de L’Almarda), 4 Platja de Corint (Playa Corinto), and 5 Platja de la Malvarosa (Playa Malvarrosa). Between 15 June and 15 September all beaches maintain lifeguard stations, first aid stations, showers, and public toilets. Platja del Port, being closest to the city, has the most facilities but is also the most crowded; Platja de la Malvarosa, being the furthest, is the least developed and also has a nudist section.

Festivals :

Falles parade
Falles (Fallas), in the old town and the port district. 12-19 March. Like its larger neighbour Valencia, Sagunto celebrates Falles with the crida (opening call of the festivities), the planta (assembly of the satirical falla monuments to be eventually burnt), l’Ofrena (offering of flowers to the Virgen de los Desamparados), the mascleta (gunpowder demonstrations), fireworks, and finally the crema (burning of the fallas).
Semana Santa (Holy Week). Week before Easter Sunday. The tradition of fraternities and processions of penitents in Sagunto goes back five centuries, and has been designated a ‘Fiesta of National Touristic Interest’ by the Spanish government

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