Merida Spain is home to an extensive collection of archaeological sites. Often noted as having some of the best examples of Roman ruins in Spain, Merida boasts an amphitheater, temples, and aqueducts, as well as an informative museum on Roman history. The stronghold of ruins is situated in the Extremadura region of Spain, an autonomous region with the city of Merida as its capital. It was founded around 25 BC, and the site was home to the largest Roman strongholds on the Iberian Peninsula. It served as a vital link in the roads connecting Toledo with Lisbon and Salamanca to Seville. This UNESCO World Heritage Site can only be explored by foot, and it is well worth traveling here to learn about Spain's Roman past.
The Roman Theater is the star of the ruins at Merida Spain. The stone amphitheater was constructed around 18 BC, and the expansive structure could hold up to 6,000 spectators during its heyday. The seating here was based upon one's class in society, with the very wealthy having the prime seats up front and the slaves and the poor citizens being restricted to the back walls. When you travel here, you can sit in the seats of the Romans who walked before us and enjoy one of the plays that are staged here in June and July.
The Anfiteatro (Amphitheater) is also another famous site at these wonderful Roman ruins in Spain. It could hold more than 15,000 people during its use and was designed by the famed architect Agrippa. It held the fights between Roman gladiators and served as a primary source of entertainment for the people of Merida. The gladiators that fought here were a mix of paid participants, usually ex-soldiers and prisoners. The gladiators entered through the two corridors of the Amphitheater and supplies for the fights and other shows were stored in the “fossa arenaia,” the large cross depression on the floor that was covered in wooden planks to store props and supplies. Although gladiator fighting was the main show that was put on, exotic animals were imported from foreign lands and the occasional play was put on at the structure as well.
Merida is also home to some of the famous examples of an aqueduct in Spain. With more than five miles of these beautiful structures, it is a prominent feature throughout the ruins. The majority of the aqueducts, which were used to transport water from different sources into the town, are now decrepit and falling apart but there are a few sections that remain intact. The most intact aqueduct in Spain is located in the northwestern part of the ruins and sources to two manmade lakes.
The Roman ruins in Merida are also home to various other points of interest. The Merida Temple of Diana is one of the most unique structures here, even though all that is left of the temple is a few columns that were incorporated into a house during the seventeenth century. The Roman Bridge is also a magnificent structure and excellent example of Roman superior craftsmanship. It is made up of 64 granite arches and was the official entrance into Merida for visitors and vehicles until 1993. It now serves as a footbridge over the Guadiana River while a more modern bridge takes most of the traffic to the site. The National Museum of Roman Art is also a must-see at these Roman ruins in Spain. It traces the rise and fall or the Roman Empire in Spain and provides excellent artifacts from the ruins.
A visit to Merida Spain should definitely be included in your visit to the region, whether you are interested in the Roman empire, architectural structures such as the aqueduct in Spain, or simply in seeing a new historic site, like the ruins at Leptis Magna or Arles. The structures here are remarkable and provide any visitor who enjoys history with a full day of exploration and insights into the past.