The Maximianus Herculeanus Palace is a Roman ruin located next to the railway station in Córdoba. Its construction began at the end of the 3rd century AD. The palatial city was built by order of the tetrarch emperor Maximianus Herculeius as his official headquarters for controlling this part of the Roman Empire. Its discovery was made in 1991, when work on a new railway station in Cordoba was underway.
A large part of the Palatine town had to be demolished for the passage of the AVE high-speed railway line. The great differences between the archaeologists and the progress of the city in the form of a new railway station, created a patrimonial wound that has not been closed to this day.
Features of the palace
The Maximianus Herculeanus Palace is a complex 400 metres long and 200 metres wide. Everything is organised around a semicircular cryptoporticus. At the same time, there are various buildings around it, which had their access through an arcade with many columns.
In the most prominent part of the cryptoporticus is the main building, which is called the central classroom. In the northernmost part of the central hall were the baths, which had a private character and were reserved for the emperor and his trusted staff.
Directly on the sides of the main building are two buildings with very similar features. The best preserved is the one on the north side, where you can still see the mosaicked walkways. It is thought that these buildings may have been used to receive notables and high officials of the Roman Empire.
Within the palace complex, there are some dependencies a little further away known as the emperor’s private residences. This palace of Maximianus Herculeus was used for Christian worship in Visigothic times. These lands and buildings were already occupied in Islamic times.
The history of the building
The history of the Maximianus Herculeanus Palace begins at the end of the 3rd century, when the Roman Emperor decided to share some of the power of his empire between other generals who enjoyed his trust. To this end, he named Maximianus Herculeius Augustus and his two successors Caesar.
In this way Maximian ordered the construction of this palace to control the uprising of the North African tribes and the conflicts in the region of the Betic coast. He chose Corduba because it was the capital of Betica, easily accessible, well supplied and far enough away from the border.
The history of the discovery of this palace began in 1922 when Joaquín María de Navasquez published an article proving the existence of a huge vault of gold in the area. Years later, the archaeologist Samuel de los Santos again referred to the important archaeological remains of the area.
Back in 1991, coinciding with the work on the new AVE station in Córdoba, all the remains and the size of the complex were revealed for study.
How to access
The site is surrounded by a fence, through which the entire interior can be seen. Some of the remains found have been covered to protect them and enhance their value over time. It is open to the public and visits are arranged by some tour companies in groups of 10 people. During this visit you can see a small monumental interpretation centre.
This centre is known as the Maximianus Herculeanus Palace, but you can also find information about it as the Cercadillas site.