Every Wednesday, a group of teachers from Las Cumbres (a bilingual institute -- or the equivalent of a middle-high school in the US) set out for a hike. And every week, its a new location. This past Wednesday's hike took me to one of Ubrique's most amazing secrets. Only about an hours hike (and vertical climb...) from the center of Ubrique, in Salto de la Mora, lie the ruins of the ancient town of Ocuris, a strategic Roman settlement that dates back to the 2nd century. After numerous battles throughout history, between Romans, Celts, and Muslims, the town was eventually abandoned after the Barbarian invasions. Abandoned, but not lost. It remains one of the most well preserved ancient Roman settlements in all of Andalucia - and I had the fortune to hike up to the ruins last Wednesday afternoon. There are several different ruins spread out over the mountain - various homes, bathing stations, and other buildings; however, the most impressive and well preserved building is the Columbario Mausoleum, or the site where the dead were cremated. The site is simply awe-inspiring.
It is absolutely amazing to be living in Ubrique, so close to thousands of years of history. And only an hours walk away, I can visit the ruins at my leisure. Situated at the top of the mountain, you have views of all Ubrique, and of the closest town (Benaocaz), and if you sit still for just a few minutes, you will quickly find yourself surrounded by dozens of goats. Its granduer is simply unexplainable, but the ancient city of Ocuris is definitely one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen. ...If only the tourists passing through knew what they were missing out on. But then again, perhaps that is part of its splendor - its our own little gem and well-kept secret.