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5.0 Temples at the site

Figure 6
Figure 6: The Sanctuaries of Asklepios and Serapis

At Empúries excavators have uncovered three temple precincts which we can use to study the importance of long-distance visibility and view in the choice of site location. The temples in two of these precincts, however, could certainly not be seen from any great distance. In the Roman city, all nine excavated temples are clustered in one row within the forum which was surrounded by a tall portico, blocking distant views (Mar and Ruiz 1993, 224; Aquilué et al. 1986). The same is true for the temple precinct of Serapis located in Neapolis (Fig. 6). The precinct was enclosed by the city's defensive wall to the south and east, by a portico to the north, and by structures to the west (Mar and Ruiz 1993, 286-91). Because of a steep change in topography, the temple of Serapis (Fig. 7) was set down in a depression. The uneven topography, screening architecture, and orientation of the temple would have ensured that it would not have been visible from anywhere inside the city except from within the precinct itself.

Figure 7
Figure 7: View of the Sanctuary of Serapis from the south plaza

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