Cisterna de San Roque

Useful Information

Location: Calle San Roque, 4, 10003 Cáceres.
(39.4723573, -6.3690184)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCistern
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Cisterna de San Roque, Calle San Roque, 4, 10003 Cáceres, Tel: +34-.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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2005 rediscovered when a house was demolished during the works to widen Mira al Río street.


The Cisterna de San Roque (San Roque Cistern) is a cistern at the Calle San Roque, hence the name. The cistern was rediscovered in 2005 when a house was demolished during the works to widen Mira al Río street. The road was a single lane road and was widened to become a two lane road, for this purpose two buildings which were built over the cistern were demolished and the cistern rediscovered. It was the main archaeological discovery in the city Cáceres in the 21st century.

After its discovery, the cistern was archaeologically excavated and then renovated. After it was reinforced, the pool was cleaned, and a platform was installed, which allows the visit of the site. The site was equipped with electric light, at the ceiling and underwater, and educational signs added. It is actually in a state which would allow tourist visits, but its opening remains pending. One of the reasons is probably the pandemic, the number of visitors dropped due to lockdowns, and there were other problems. As we guess the site will be opened soon, we added this listing. Also, it is actually possible to see the cistern, even if it is closed, as the gate and the window nearby allow a glimpse inside, even if the light is off. In this case, a torch is quite helpful. Unfortunately, the glass has suffered repeated vandal attacks. Lately the visit to the cistern and the nearby Fuente Concejo were added to guided tours organized by the tourist office. There are also plans to add keypads to the door, so visitors could enter on their own using a pin they get from the tourist office. However, it's unclear if this is actually possible, because the cistern is six meters deep, and probably self-guided visits are a safety problem.

The cistern is located at the western wall of the Medieval fortified city, at the foot of the Baluarte de los Pozos (tower of the wells). There is a door in the wall of the tower and a staircase leading down into the cistern. And while it was actually outside the city walls, it was accessible only from the inside. This made it a secure water supply system for the city during sieges. It has a height of 6.5 m, if it is full the water is 5 m deep, which equals a maximum storage capacity of 130 m³. It was built in masonry during the Muslim occupation of Spain, by the Almoad dynasty in the 16th century, but the rocks were partly reused ashlars, possibly Roman.

The cistern contains rainwater from the surrounding buildings, but it is also supplied by seepage from the limestone bed. When it was emptied for cleaning during renovation, it filled up within a few hours.

Just 100 metres further on is the Fuente Concejo, a spring that was built as a fountain. The buildings are attributed to the Romans, but are actually undated. The main exterior wall shows a shield from the time of the Catholic Monarchs, representing the kingdoms of Castile and León. The locals came with jugs and filled them, then carried them home on their heads.