Cártama was impressive in its Roman heyday, Not only impressive, but daunting, for it was the site of a formidable fortress. The reason is not hard to find. It stands at the navigable head of the rio Guadalhorce and the castle protected both the town and the river valley. Secure in its fatherly embrace, the town flourished as a processor of marble and a trading town for the rich supply of raw minerals from the hills. It became rich and fashionable, and was noted for its fine baths and villas, and glorious statues of its favourite gods, Mars and Venus.