Ourense's "Las Burgas" spa
Parts of the Roman "Las Burgas" hot water spa can be found on the edge of the old town of Ourense. The spa is quite close to a highway flyover and a large granite market building although, not surprisingly for a spring, it is situated in a depression.
Along with the city's bridge, parts of the "Las Burgas" spa date back to the period of the Roman occupation and indeed this was one of the reasons why such a prosperous town developed here. The Romans saw the warm water as what they perceived as compensation for the provinces cold winters. An elaborate spa complex therefore evolved. Right, two of the outlets gushing hot water.
Today the parts of this spa that remain are the water outlets and some small bathing areas below them. They are maintained in a hard landscaped garden and are for display purposes only – You can no longer take a bath today. Left, one of the bathing areas fed by the hot water springs.
Galicia, as a region, has an endless supply of springs and amongst its many names is the "region of springs"., but those at Ourense are very different. The thing that sets them apart is the temperature of the water, it is over 70 degrees centigrade all year long – and that is hot!
On first seeing the spa, I ignored the steam rising from the water spouts and casually placed my hand in the water stream. This was not a good idea and whilst I was not scalded, I did get a shock and jumped back very quickly. Bathing in these waters would almost certainly amount to being slowly stewed alive, so I suspect the original bathing vats were considerably bigger to allow the water temperature to drop significantly first.
From a tourist perspective, the "Las Burgas" spa will usually have the occasional sightseer wondering around with a camera or camcorder, but as with most of Ourense's other tourist hot spots, visitors are few.
Right, this picture indicates the submerged level of the old springs. There is also some seating and a gardened area in the spa.