Past Watch Site

« Back


Soria and Garray, Spain

Celebrated by Pliny, Livy, and Cicero, the ancient city of Numancia rests atop a commanding promontory near modern Soria. In the mid-2nd century B.C. it became the stage of one of the most bloody and protracted wars waged by Rome, known as the Celtiberian Wars. The local Celtiberians were overtaken by the Roman legions between 153 and 133 B.C., after the Senate of Rome sent its most prestigious general, P. Cornelio Scipio, the conqueror of Carthage, to besiege the city. To end the resistance, he built seven encampments, connected by a wall 5.5-miles (9-kilometers) long, whose structure is still visible today, along with the nearly intact countryside that the Celtiberians themselves beheld during the bitter years of the Roman conquest.

Like the defiant Celtiberians, this important archaeological settlement and its wider historical environment have endured as a symbol of resilience. However, plans to construct an industrial park, an urban complex, and a housing development will irreversibly alter this highly significant yet undervalued landscape. It is hoped that Watch listing will bring national and international recognition of Numancia and renew efforts for its protection.


Court decisions in 2009 and 2010 halted construction of the industrial park Soria II due to illegal expropriation, and in 2013, court decisions against the development of the Ciudad del Medio Ambiente were upheld on appeal by the Supreme Court and by the Constitutional Court of Spain. Following the 2013 decision, the unfinished structures were supposed to be demolished, returning the historic landscape to its state prior to the development. However, in order to avoid the courts’ decisions, the regional government reduced the scope and size of the development from 560 to 150 hectares and changed its name to "Parque Empresarial de Medio Ambiente." Local advocates have rallied against the new plan, arguing that despite its reduced size, the development would still damage the fragile historic landscape of Numancia. The project has been halted, pending the court’s decision. June 2015


Numancia Resists an Urban Development Siege
July 15, 2013