Mount Tossal de Cala in Benidorm: an ancient Iberian settlement, chapel and observation decks


Alicante is a very ancient city, and, of course, thanks to such a rich history, it cannot but have surprises. One of them is Lusentum, excavations of the ancient city in the Albuferet region (3.5 km from the center, not far from the coast), where 2000 years ago life was in full swing, a temple and a forum, baths and shops worked, children ran around the streets, and thick walls protected from enemies ... Today this place is open to visitors for everyone to look into the past and realize all the countless days that Lucentum and Alicante share.

Here is the difference in 2000 years

According to archaeological finds, the first significant settlement appeared on the territory of the place Tossal de Manises (today - the Albuferet region of the city of Alicante) back in the late 5th - early 4th centuries BC, although very little is known about that period. At that time, it was mainly inhabited by Iberians, who slowly traded with the Greeks and Phoenicians. By the way, it was the Greeks who gave this place its first name: Akra Leuka, and also, according to a number of sources, are considered to be the founders of the city, although this issue is rather ambiguous.

Actively, the ancient settlement began to develop from the last third of the 3rd century BC, when, as a result of the Second Punic War, the ancient Romans came here. The city was significantly strengthened - the walls and towers of the Roman city, located on the seashore, on a hill, became a serious obstacle for enemies, and in addition, received a new name: Lucentum.

However, in this form the settlement did not remain long: being destroyed in 200 BC. e., he was abandoned for a long time.

The main gate. Now barely 1.5 meters remain from the walls, but once it was a serious fortification with towers at the entrance

The city was reborn again, like a phoenix, already at the end of the 2nd century. AD The Roman emperor Augusto gave the city the status of a municipality, and with it the autonomous management of its own institutions of power. I c. BC. and I c. AD - a period of brilliance and prosperity of the settlement, which again underwent a serious reconstruction: a forum, 2 public baths, a temple and even a sewage system were built (which inspires respect, especially given the fact that the nearest source of fresh water was located about a couple of kilometers from this place , that is, in fact there were two tasks: bring clean water and remove waste water). The settlement grew so much that they even had to move the walls.

However, already at the end of the 1st century A.D. again the first signs of decline appeared, and by the III century. AD the city was completely abandoned and again ceased to exist, now to this day. In the VIII century. the Moors who captured these lands used the hill as a Muslim cemetery. They revived the city to the X-XI centuries, but in a different place: at the foot of Mount Benacantil, which today is the Santa Barbara fortress.

And no one else lived on the hill to this day.

There was a city temple

But today, the excavations are open to visitors, ennobled and equipped with information plates (in Spanish and English). Yes, of course, wandering around here is not as exciting as in an amusement park, but this place has its own atmosphere, which even faceless multi-story buildings around could not drown out. Wandering through the excavations and looking at the signs, it is really easy to recognize the streets - wide and straight, - and the baths, and the store, and the hearth in someone's house. Columns are partially preserved in the temple, and at the entrance to the forum are traces of cement, fossilized 2000 years ago, of a man, a goat and a dog.

Bathrooms / baths: a cunning design of three main rooms with different temperature conditions. The columns allowed you to leave space under the floor, where hot air circulated,

Is it conceivable to imagine that abyss of time that divides that city and the new high-rises around. And what respect deserve those builders whose work can be identified so many years later. Willy-nilly, you look at the surrounding city and try to imagine: what will remain of it in a couple of thousand years? Who will go to these places and what will know about us? Will the memory of this place be erased much earlier. A hundred questions unanswered, but asking them in such a right place is fascinating.

schedule (when the excavations are open to the public):

From June to September:

09: 00-12: 00 and 18: 00-21: 00.

Sundays and holidays: 09: 00-12: 00.

October to May:

10: 00-14: 00 and 16: 00-18: 00.

Sundays and holidays: 10: 00-14: 00.

How to get there:

Tram: lines L1, L3, L4 stop Lucentum.

Buses: 22 (stop Edificio Brisas), 21 (stop Gasolinera), 9 (stop Colegio La Albufereta).

Excavations are located here, the entrance to them is near the blue field.

A detailed description of all the objects of the city in Spanish can be found here on the MARQ Museum website.

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Conclusions on Mount Tossal de Cala and its attractions

A good place for a variety of relaxation. Located within walking distance of the center of Benidorm. A hike to the mountain can not only bring some variety to a beach holiday, but also provide an opportunity to relax from the bustle of the city and crowded, while admiring the beautiful views from the observation deck.

In the summer, it’s better to go up the mountain in the morning or in the evening, a daytime climb, in direct sunlight, can be somewhat uncomfortable. In winter and in the off-season, climbing the mountain is good at any time of the day.

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