A section of the historic Monda road. / SUR

The cobbled Roman road in Monda: a route with a long history

The town has preserved 100-metre section that once linked the Guadalhorce Valley with Malaga, but historians claim its origin is not entirely clear due to the absence of a detailed investigation

ANDREA JIMÉNEZ

Remnants of Malaga’s Roman past can be found scattered all over the province, and the enormous network of infrastructures served all kinds of uses in order to facilitate the connection of populations, seaports and farms. Many Roman roads have been left for posterity, as is the case of the Monda road, which sits at the exit of the municipality, in the direction of Coín.

The 100-metre-long cobbled section of this ancient road runs parallel to the Mediterranean coastline, linking the towns of the Guadalhorce Valley and its adjacent areas with the port of Malaga and the coast of Marbella.

However, researchers claim that, despite being known as the “Roman road”, its origin is not entirely clear due to the absence of a detailed investigation.

According to local historian, Diego Sánchez, “The Roman origin has been accepted, but the truth is that there is no specific study that has determined its origins or chronologies.”

He points out though, that it should be noted that scattered Roman ceramic materials have been discovered in the vicinity and that there is also a Roman villa in the nearby town of Guaro.

He believes that the arrangement of the stones that make up the road’s surface show that an important section is made with the 'opus spicatum' technique, which, although very old, became widespread in medieval times.

For Sánchez, this road could date from Roman times, although he explains that it would later undergo “very important” repairs and restructuring, and therefore, “only an archaeological excavation would clear us of doubts”.

He goes on to say that not only did merchandise such as wine, cereal or oil pass through these roads, but it was also the place where numerous travellers and walkers met.

“What is certain is that this section of cobbled road runs through a natural passageway that must have been frequented by human beings since extremely early times,” he declared.

The Monda road is a fragment of road that belonged to a much more important, complex and dense communications network, which linked the Guadalhorce Valley to the Sierra de las Nieves.

Main port road

The historian is certain that the road would have been the main access to the port of Malaga, where grain, oil and wine arrived in Roman times. In medieval times, raisins and silk would have been transported along this road, while ceramics from the city and other products that were not manufactured in the countryside could reach the farmhouses and towns in the area.

“It was not only products that circulated through this and other channels, but also ideas, technological advances, cultures and religions. It was the closest thing to the Internet at that time,” he said