Iruña-Veleia Archaeological Site
Occupation of the archaeological site of Iruña-Veleia spans more than 1,500 years of history, from the first millennium BC until the fifth century AD.
It would appear that during that century the late Oppidum was abandoned, with no new settlement being documented there until its use as a Priory for the Order of San Juan in the middle of the 14th century.
After an ill-defined period of inhabitation during the end of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, it is during the first half of the 1st Century – Julio-Claudian period – when the first Domus or Roman town houses appeared
In the late 1st century, during the Flavian period, the city achieved greater splendour, building luxurious homes and major public buildings which formed an urban centre worthy of the importance that the city of Iruña had acquired.
During the 2nd century important embellishment work and improvements were made to the town’s facilities, being referred to as Veleia in ancient sources by Pliny and Ptolemy.
During the 3rd century, the area of the settlement reduced in size, however, this is undoubtedly the least well-known period. At the end of that century or the beginning of the next, the city walls were constructed, being the last major public works to be carried out in the city.
At some unspecified date at the end of the 3rd century or beginning of the 4th, the city of Veleia was walled, hence creating the differentiated areas of the site that still exist today.
It has been within this walled space, commonly called the Oppidum, in which most of the archaeological research work has been done since the end of the 19th century up until the present day.
The site, declared Complex of Historical Monuments in 1984, consists of two clearly differentiated parts: a walled enclosure covering more than 11 hectares and the area outside the walls. Still visible among its remains are the foundations of 16 towers and the main access to the city, the south gate. From the top part of the wall, the visitor view the site in its entirety.
The visit to the site is arranged in ten stops. These points are signposted with individual information panels that make it possible to follow the route independently.
Materials from the excavation of the site are located on the third floor of the Bibat Museum, in the Archaeology section, a visit to which is recommend in order to supplement the information gleaned from the tour of the site.
- *Guided Tours: There are two guided tours offered to discover the most symbolic corners of Iruña-Veleia, including the “Open Area” or area outside the wall – where, among other points, it is possible to view the remains of what was a large market – the Wall itself and the South Gate.
Located on the Plains of Alava, in the municipality of Iruña de Oca, between the villages of Trespuentes and Villodas, 10 kilometres from Vitoria.
From the N-1 direction Madrid, at the Hotel Ruta de Europa turn off towards Mendoza – exit 343. From here, carry on to the village of Villodas and, without entering the village, take the road that goes up and ends at the site itself.