Bathing at the Bar

Digs & Discoveries July/August 2021

(Alvaro Jimenez)
JA21 Digs Spain Bathhouse
(Alvaro Jimenez)

Workers renovating a popular tapas bar in Seville, Spain, were surprised to encounter the remains of an Islamic bathhouse dating to the twelfth century, when the Almohad Caliphate ruled Andalusia. Soon after construction began, the crew discovered the painted walls of the long-forgotten structure concealed behind the restaurant’s plastered walls. Covered from floor to ceiling in well-rendered red-and-white geometric designs, the ornate bath complex was also adorned with 88 skylights shaped like stars, octagons, and rosettes.


Thanks to historical records, archaeologists knew a bath complex was once located in the busy neighborhood, close to the Seville Cathedral and the city’s Great Mosque. They assumed it had been torn down centuries ago. It turns out it remains almost completely intact but was hidden from view when the building was converted into a hotel and restaurant in the early twentieth century.


JA21 Digs Spain Bathhouse Ceiling
Decorated ceiling, bathhouse(Alvaro Jimenez)

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