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12th century Moorish hammam discovered under popular Seville tapas bar

Istanbul cemberlitas hamam [Damian Entwistle/Flickr]
Istanbul cemberlitas hamam [Damian Entwistle/Flickr]

A twelfth century hammam has been discovered during the renovation of a tapas bar in the southern Spanish city of Seville.

The extraordinary discovery was made when a team of archaeologists peeled off the plaster covering the ceiling.

They found that the Islamic bathhouse had geometric motifs and 88 skylights in the shape of stars and octagons, with ochre paintings and eight-petalled multifoil rosettes.

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The design of the building, which for years now has been the popular tapas bar Cerverceria Giralda, dates back to the 12th century Almohad caliphate which ruled over parts of present-day Spain and Portugal, the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb.

Seville and Marrakech were the two capitals of the Moorish empire.

The architecture discovered beneath the bar is from the same period as the Great Mosque and Giralda tower which stands above Seville cathedral.

Whilst the Alhambra in Granada and the Mosque of Cordoba are perhaps the grandest legacies of Andalusia region, which was under Moorish rule between the eighth and fifteenth centuries, hammams are spread across the region.

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