Located in Baena, the Torreparedones Archaeological Park, also known as Torre de las Vírgenes and Castro el Viejo, is one of the most important archaeological places in the province of Cordoba from an archaeological viewpoint. Since the Modern Age it has been known for the casual appearance of notable remains that reflect the category it once had in antiquity.
It is located in the heart the Cordoba countryside and is part of the municipal districts of Baena and Castro del Río. It also has a visitor reception centre and a large car park.
The site was inhabited from the end of the Neolithic era until the beginning of the 16th century, reaching its maximum splendour in Iberian and Roman times, when it obtained the status of colony or municipal district. The most significant finds date from these times.
The most significant elements which the site provides these days are Roman buildings like the East door with a road in perfect condition, the forum and adjacent buildings, spas and the market, the medieval castle, a 16th century chapel, the necropolis with underground tombs and the Iberian-Roman sanctuary located to the South, outside the walls, where hundreds of votive offerings have been sculpted in stone, and where the faithful deposited their offerings for several centuries dedicated to the god which was worshipped there: Dea Caelestis.
The chance discovery of the so-called “Mausoleum of the Pompeyos”, in 1833, a monumental tomb containing the incinerated remains of 12 people from the same family, with their names etched in stone urns, was a landmark in the history of the site because it drew the attention of numerous national and foreign researchers.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.