Located in the southwest of Spain and north of the province of Badajoz , the city of Mérida is located in the geographic center of the region. Since 1993 it has been considered a World Heritage Site due to the number of public buildings, monuments and structures from the Roman era that it preserves. However, this presence of history contrasts with the modernity of its newly built buildings, in a serene coexistence between past and future. Thanks to its role as the capital of Extremadura , its unbeatable geographical location and the excellent infrastructure on the road network, Mérida has a wide range of hotels.
Emerita Augusta , was founded by Octavio Augusto, in the year 25 AD , for the discharged soldiers of the veteran legions of the Cantabrian Wars. Hence the name Emerita (Latin I mean emeritus retired), referring to the soldiers retired with honor.
For centuries, Emerita Augusta lived through a period of great splendor until the fall of the Western Roman Empire, becoming an important legal, economic, cultural and military center. Proof of this splendor are the buildings that still endure as living testimony of a culture that is also ours.
Theater and amphitheater . These two superb buildings make up the most important complex in the city:
Theater. It stands out for being the best preserved in the West, dating from 15 BC , and for its setting, built by Trajan in the 2nd century AD . The highlights of this magnificent building are the scene and the orchestra. Of the bleachers, the state of conservation of its system of vomitories and galleries is remarkable, in addition to the cladding that covers them.
Every year in the summer season, theatrical performances and performances by singers are held, attracting thousands of visitors.
Amphitheater. Despite its condition, the structure is perfectly visible. The most interesting thing about this construction is the authorities’ box , located in front of the main entrance. It was inaugurated in 8 BC . and its capacity is estimated at about 15,000 viewers .
Roman houses. There are several Roman villas in different state of conservation but the most interesting are those of the miter and the amphitheater. In them you can see the hypocaust (floor heating system) and the pavements:
House of the Mitreo. Its name is due to the fact that the remains of a sanctuary dedicated to Mitra (god of sunlight, of Persian origin and adopted by the Romans) were found nearby. Its antiquity is estimated around the second century AD, and in it you can see the atrium, the peristyle and a mosaic with cosmological motifs, in addition to the general structure of the entire building, thanks to a system of raised platforms.
House of the Amphitheater. In the vicinity of the amphitheater you can visit two houses. One dates from the 1st century AD, in which you can see its peristyle (gallery of columns that surround the interior of the house). The other, dates from the second century AD, of which its interesting mosaics and hypocaust stand out.
Alcazaba and Roman bridge
The citadel offers the possibility of observing the remains of three different cultures: Roman, Visigoth and Muslim, since it was built in 835 AD (after the Muslim occupation) on Roman and Visigothic ruins.
The dimensions of the bridge are 792 meters long by 12 meters high and about 60 arches. It has been rebuilt repeatedly due to the force of the Guadiana river current, despite being supported on concrete cores.
Roman road . There is a section in excellent condition parallel to a wall.
Houses and taverns. You can see several Roman buildings, as well as architectural elements. One of these important buildings in everyday life were taverns, where meals, drinks and other foods were served.
Temple of Diana. Its construction is estimated around the 1st century BC, and it must have been dedicated to the imperial cult.
Arch of Trajan. It was intended to mark the entrance to a sacred precinct and is about 15 meters high.
Aqueduct of the Miracles. It carried the water from the Proserpina reservoir to the city, saving the Abarregas river. It measures 830 meters and reaches 25 meters in height. It is a magnificent feat of engineering.
The circus. It is one of the worst preserved buildings. It dates from the 1st century BC and its capacity reached 30,000 spectators. You can hardly see the stands, although the central part, around which the cars rotated.
National Museum of Roman Art. This museum compiles an interesting collection of materials found in the area, which are displayed in a perfectly organized way. There are several rooms where fundamental aspects of Roman life and culture are explained.