Friday, February 22, 2013

Centum Cellas

The Tower of Centum Cellas,
Municipality of Belmonte, district of Castelo Branco, Portugal.

It is a unique lytic monument currently in ruins, its initial construction dating of the first century AD.
Over the centuries it has attracted the attention of scholars and curious, inspiring many different legends and theories.
One of the traditions, states that the building was a prison with a hundred cells (hence the name), where St. Cornelius would have been captive.
On its primitive function, it was believed to be a Praetorium (Roman camp).
However, archaeological prospecting campaigns in its surroundings, that took place in the 1960s and 1990s, indicate that it is more likely a Villa, the tower being representative of the “pars urbana”, surrounded by a rustic area,still largely to be excavated.