Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 12th-century bathhouse in a popular bar in Seville, southern Spain.
Cerveceria Giralda has been in the heart of the city since 1923, but the bar is in a building with a much longer history.
Archaeologist Fernando Amores of the University of Seville told CNN Thursday, while the vaulted roofs indicate that it may have been a bathhouse, and historical records say there was a bathhouse in the area, no one has found concrete evidence of its existence.
The skylights and red geometric panels dating back to the 12th century have now been unveiled during recent renovation work.
Skylights are restored and the painting below the decoration installed in the 1920s. Attribute to him: Fernando Amores
In the twelfth century, Seville was ruled by the Almohad Caliphate, a Muslim barbarian empire in North Africa, which controlled a large part of the Iberian Peninsula – present-day Spain and Portugal – at that time.
Amores was part of a team of experts who collaborated to recover what he called a “very unusual” discovery.
Skylights form eight-pointed stars, and red ocher panels form interconnected geometric patterns.
There are four types of skylights in different sizes. Attribute to him: Fernando Amores
Amores said that star-shaped windows are typical for bathrooms, and there are four different types in different sizes. But he added that the fact that the panels completely covered the walls and ceiling was unusual.
“It forms a beautiful sky,” said Amores, and the light streaming through the windows reminded us of the stars at night.
He explained that the intricate craftsmanship shows the importance of the hammam, which was located near the city’s main mosque when it was built.
Amores said there is more restoration work to be done, but additional funding will be needed.
Amores adds that archaeologists are also doing carbon dating on the stucco – which is a soft plaster – to obtain a more accurate history of the construction.
Star-shaped windows are typical of bathrooms. Attribute to him: Alvaro Jimenez
Amores said the project was a collaboration between the building’s owners, the bar’s owners and the team of archaeologists, stating that the entire process was a triumph of the collaboration.
“We are very happy,” he said.
The owners decided to go through some renovation work last summer, a spokesperson for the bar told CNN. Until then, the original monuments had been covered in a decorative layer installed at the beginning of the twentieth century.
When the work revealed evidence of pigeons, the spokesman added, archaeologists were brought in to supervise. They said the bathrooms had at least three rooms, which are now used as a kitchen and two dining room.
Architect Francisco Diaz told the local television station Canal Sur that at first the archaeologists did not find anything of interest, but then a single skylight was found in the ceiling. “From there it was like pulling the veil back and all the skylights began to emerge,” Diaz said.
Serving tapas and beer, Cerveceria Giralda is popular in Seville.
“We believe it (the pub) can open to the public within a month, combining restaurant operations with potential visits at certain times,” the spokesman said.