Discover the Roman ruins of Mérida
Mérida is a World Heritage Site: an ancient city founded by the Romans in 25 BCE under the name of Augusta Emerita. This makes it the perfect place to lose yourself amid the age-old streets, buildings and scenery of one of Spain’s largest archaeological sites. Moreover, UNESCO has declared all of the city’s historical features as World Heritage. Would you like to know more? You won’t want to miss some of the most impressive structures.
The Roman Theatre
Although this monumental theatre was built between the years 16 and 15 BCE, you’ll still find a considerable part of the enormous structure standing today. At the height of its splendour, it could hold up to 6,000 spectators. However, it was not the Mérida townsfolk's favourite building, as the Romans were not particularly great fans of theatre. Nevertheless, it represented the majesty and strength of the empire, as it was a significant location for propaganda and political dissemination.
The Roman Amphitheatre
The Mérida Roman Amphitheatre was inaugurated in 8 BCE and could seat up to 15,000 people over three terraced areas. The purpose of this structure was leisure, with spectacles featuring contests between gladiators, wild animals and, on occasion, between the gladiators and the animals. This elliptical-shaped building was very popular with the Roman people, who went there much more frequently than they would attend the theatre. Today, a significant part of the structure still stands, making it easy to imagine an epic Hollywood-style battle.
The Roman Circus
This is one of the best-preserved Roman circuses from across the entire former empire, and also one of the biggest at over 400 metres in length and 96 metres in width, with capacity for an audience of no fewer than 30,000 people. The perfect place for the city’s inhabitants to enjoy some thrilling chariot races. What’s more, this is one of the few Roman circuses in the world in which you can still admire the entire layout. Don’t miss it!
The Temple of Diana
Built in the first century CE, this temple is the only religious building in Mérida to have survived the passage of time – though it was later discovered that its main function was actually to promote the cult of the Empire and its emperors. It occupies a privileged position within the civic forum, central to the city’s public and political activities, and has been exceptionally well preserved, allowing visitors to stroll through its columns and feel like just another Roman.
The Los Milagros Aqueduct
A colossal aqueduct, of which over 800 metres still remain: amazing given its age, and making it fully deserving of its name. Visitors to the city, marvelling at the condition of the structure, can only explain its amazingly well-preserved state as a miracle. That’s why the best thing you can do is see it with your own eyes and experience its miraculous state of preservation for yourself.
This is only a selection of the buildings conserved from the Roman era; there are far more for you to discover, such as the Roman Baths, the House of the Amphitheatre and several other items, such as those conserved in the National Museum of Roman Art. So, what are you waiting for? Set off for Mérida and learn all about its history!