International Travel

Amazing find in tapas bar stuns archaeologists

Amazing find in tapas bar stuns archaeologists

With the coronavirus halting businesses around the world, the owners of the Cervercería Giralda tapas bar in Seville, Spain decided to use the time for much-needed renovations.

But, as the renovations of the 89-year-old eatery started, workers made an astonishing find.

Beneath the plaster that covered the ceiling they found a skylight in the form of an eight-pointed star belonging to a 12th century Islamic hammam.

“As soon as we saw one of the skylights, we knew what it was; it just couldn’t have been anything but a bath,” said archaeologist Álvaro Jiméz. “We just had to follow the pattern of the skylights.”

The former bathhouse was also found with elaborate red ochre paintings of geometric motifs on the walls, representing the night sky, which dates back to when the city was ruled by the Almohad caliphate, a Berber Empire that once controlled much of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula.

“Decoratively speaking, these baths have the largest amount of preserved decoration of any of the known baths on the Iberian peninsula,” the archaeologist said.

“Absolutely everything here is decorated, and, luckily, it’s survived. The background is white lime mortar engraved with geometric lines, circles and squares. On top of that you have red ochre paintings of eight-pointed stars and eight-petalled multifoil rosettes. Those two designs alternate and entwine and adapt to the different geometric shapes of the skylight holes.”

Historians believe this bathhouse, as well as several others found around the city’s central mosque known as the Royal Alcázar palace, was used by devotees to cleanse themselves before going to the mosque to pray. They also believe the bathhouses were likely used as meeting places for people to socialise, talk business, or relax.

The tapas bar has since reopened and the bathhouse can still be seen.

Images: Cervercería Giralda / Instagram

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