(Last Updated On: 29/06/2016)


Mérida is called ‘Little Rome’ for a reason. Founded with the name of Augusta Emerita after the emperor Augustus, it was the most important city in Lusitania. Today, the capital of Extremadura is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts many monuments that will give you a good idea of its glorious past during the Roman Empire.

Follow the steps of the Romans in Mérida with this list of 10 places you should not miss.

Enjoy!

 

1. Roman theatre

roman theatre

The most relevant monument in the city is an impressive theatre. It currently holds numerous cultural events, such as a prestigious Classic Theatre Festival every August.

Where: Calle José Ramón Mélida s/n

How much: €15 (General ticket giving access to 7 monuments)

Opening times: (April-September) Mon-Sun from 09:00 to 21:00; (October-March) Mon-Sun from 09:30 to 19:00.

 

2. Roman amphitheatre

roman amphitheatre

This is where Romans used to go to enjoy some of the most popular shows at that time – gladiator combats and fights between wild animals. It could accommodate around 15,000 people and they would sit according to their rank.

Where: Calle José Ramón Mélida s/n

How much: €15 (General ticket giving access to 7 monuments)

Opening times: (April-September) Mon-Sun from 09:00 to 21:00; (October-March) Mon-Sun from 09:30 to 19:00.

 

3. Roman circus

circus

With a capacity of 30,000 people, this circus is considered to be one of the largest of this kind and used to hold chariot races. Part of the stands and gateways can still be seen today and you can learn a bit about the history of the circus at the visitor centre.

Where: Avenida Juan Carlos I, s/n

How much: €15 (General ticket giving access to 7 monuments)

Opening times: (April-September) Mon-Sun from 09:00 to 21:00; (October-March) Mon-Sun from 09:30 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00.

 

4. Roman bridge

bridge

The bridge was the first thing the Romans built in Augusta Emerita and is one of the largest Roman bridges in Spain (792 m). Have an afternoon stroll or enjoy a good view of the bridge and the Guadiana River from the top of the Alcazaba (Arab castle) wall.

Where: Calle del Puente s/n

How much: Free

 

5. Casa del Mitreo

casa del mitreo

The huge size and sumptuous decoration remains of this house are a sign of the wealth and social status of its original family owners. A number of rooms around three patios, an underground room, a pool and even their very own thermal baths. What a life!

Where: Calle Oviedo, s/n

How much: €15 (General ticket giving access to 7 monuments)

Opening times: (April-September) Mon-Sun from 09:00 to 21:00; (October-March) Mon-Sun from 09:30 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00.

 

6. Templo de Diana

templo de diana

Located in Mérida’s city centre, this weird-looking Roman temple is one of my favourite monuments. Check out my article ‘Living like a Caesar – the guy who built himself a palace in a Roman temple’ to read all about it.

Where: Calle Romero Leal, s/n

How much: Free

 

7. San Lázaro aqueduct

San Lazaro aqueduct

Located very near the circus, this aqueduct was named after a chapel in honour of Saint Lazarus that was knocked down some 70 years ago. Only some cutwaters, three pillars and a couple of arches of the original Roman aqueduct remain today. The rest dates back only a few hundred years.

Where: Avenida Juan Carlos I, s/n

How much: Free

 

8. Los Milagros aqueduct

Los Milagros aqueduct

It is said to have been named ‘Miracles’ because both locals and visitors could not believe its extraordinary state of conservation after so many centuries. Some of its pillars and columns are 27 m high and are home to a few stork nests.

Where: Avenida Vía de La Plata, s/n

How much: Free

 

9. National Roman Art Museum

roman art museum

Well, this museum was not obviously built by the Romans, but I decided to include it in the list anyway, as it displays one of the best collections of Roman sculptures and mosaics in the country. Likewise, you can also see houses, tombs and part of the Roman road.

Where: Calle de José Ramón Mélida, s/n

How much: €3 (free on Saturdays after 14:00, Sunday mornings and some national holidays)

Opening times: (April-September) Tue-Sat from 09:30 to 20:00; (October-March) Tue-Sat from 09:30 to 18:30; Sun and holiday from 10:00 to 15:00.

 

10. Morería archaeological site

Moreria

Here the remains of the Roman city wall and part of the Roman road can be seen, as well as remains from different historical periods. The site was discovered in the mid-nineties when they started building new regional government offices. Despite complaints from local people, the project went ahead and the offices were built literally over the site.

Where: Paseo de Roma

How much: €15 (General ticket giving access to 7 monuments)

Opening times: (April-September) Mon-Sun from 09:30 to 14:00 and from 17:00 to 19:30; (October-March) Mon-Sun from 09:30 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

There are four cities in the world that share the name Mérida. Read more about it in ‘4 Latin American cities named after places in Extremadura‘.

PRACTICAL INFO
Population: +58,000
Distance: 374km from Madrid, 76 km from Cáceres and 62 km from Badajoz
Tourist Office:
Address: Paseo José Álvarez Saenz de Buruaga s/n
E-mail: info@turismomerida.org
Opening times: Mon-Sun from 9:30 to 14:00 and from 16:30 to 19:30.


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Irene Corchado Resmella
Spanish Sworn Translator and Content Writer at ICR Translations
Spanish expat living in Oxford (UK) sharing my home region of Extremadura with the world to encourage travellers to discover a different Spain. Founder of The Linguists Hive.
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