Tourist and resident information on Portugal, Madeira and The Azores

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Museu das Termas Romanas de Chaves

The Museu das Termas Romanas de Chaves in Chaves in northern Portugal will be when or if it finally opens, a museum dedicated to what is thought to be the remains of the largest Roman baths on the Iberian Peninsula. The medicinal Roman spa can be compared in importance and size with those in Bath in England and Vichy in France.

Museu das Termas Romanas de Chaves

The nearly 2,000-year-old complex was discovered in 2006 during the construction work for an underground car park.

Excavations have revealed a large main pool, a secondary pool, and a complex system of pipes for transporting the waters and for drainage.

The baths are thought to have been destroyed during an earthquake and lost to history until the 21st century. Chaves was founded by the Romans as Aquae Flaviae in AD78 and the 140 meter-long Ponte Trajano (Trajan Bridge) dates from the reign of Emperor Trajan in the early second century AD.

Museu das Termas Romanas de Chaves

The exterior of the museum was completed (though not without criticism by a percentage of the town's inhabitants) but the interior suffers from the problem of condensation generated by the still active thermal springs. Plans were drawn up to increase natural ventilation and use the hot water to heat the building in winter as the costs of the project and the delays mounted.

The Covid-19 pandemic also delayed proceedings but the museum is hoping to launch sometime in 2020 or maybe 2021. Watch this space.

Museu das Termas Romanas de Chaves

Access - Getting There

Rua Longras 26, 5400-355 Chaves

A recommended place to stay in Chaves is the Petrus Hotel and to eat and drink visit the Adega Faustino.


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