Baelo Claudia emerged in the 2nd century BC in an area of great strategic importance: the Straits of Gibraltar. Its origin and subsequent development are closely associated with the salting industries and trade with the North of Africa, as it was the main port for present-day Tangier.
Around the dawn of the new era, the city experienced a period of urban expansion, culminating in the first half of the 2nd century AD with the construction of a large monumental forum, recreational buildings and an important salting complex, which was in fact the economic driving force of the city. It was at this time that Baelo received the name of Claudia and gained the status of a Roman city, ushering in the most important period of prosperity in its history.
In the mid-2nd century AD, Baelo entered a process of steady decline, undoubtedly initiated by the earthquake which devastated the city in the 3rd century AD. Following a piecemeal recovery, the process ended with the population abandoning the city around the 7th century AD.
Baelo Claudia is an obvious reference point for gaining an insight into Roman city planning and urban life during the Empire. It contains all the representative features that make up a Roman city, namely: the forum, temples, basilica, administrative buildings such as the curia or archive, the market, theatre, baths, industrial zone, aqueducts, the entire city walls, and so on.