Merida is the capital of Extremadura and was once known as Augusta Ermita; since 1993, Merida has been a World Heritage town for the best-preserved Roman ruins in Spain. This small, old Roman city is perfect to see on foot and the best destination for history lovers.
We’ve put together the final list of top 9 best attractions in Mérida, Spain. No matter where you are, you can enjoy a fun-filled day with Roman history.
1- Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre):
via – inspain
The Roman Theatre is one of the main attractions in Merida. The theatre is an ancient monument and the most impressive archaeological site in the city. It built by the Roman general Agrippa in 16 BC and repaired in the 1st century AD after a fire during the reign of Hadrian. The rear wall of the stage buildings has impressive sculptural decorations and once had a garden that served as a foyer. Moreover, the theater could accommodate 6,000 spectators and is still used today for performances of plays, ballets, and concerts.
The theater becomes a gorgeous venue for the prestigious Classical Theatre Festival, which is devoted to the classical theater of the Greco-Latin tradition but also includes other dramatic arts and music performances as well as film screenings.
2- National Museum of Roman Art:
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The National Museum of Roman Art considered as one of best attractions of Merida. Built on top of archaeological remains, and the basement of the museum features archaeological excavations in progress. The museum exhibits Roman antiquities found at the archaeological sites and the items used in everyday life during the Roman era, such as fragile jewelry, old coins, sculptures, ceramics, glassware, wall paintings, and gravestones. Features of the collection contain a bust of Emperor Augustus carved from Carrara marble, wall paintings from the Roman theater, and an assortment of exquisite floor mosaics.
3- Anfiteatro Romano:
via – easyvoyage
Besides the Roman Theater are the excavated ruins of the ancient Roman Amphitheater constructed in 8 BC. The massive stadium filled with 15,000 spectators to watch gladiatorial contests and imitation naval battles. Next to the Roman Amphitheater is the Amphitheater House, a medieval Roman villa that has many well-preserved rooms adorned with frescoes, paved hallways featuring mosaics, and an outdoor space with a vine-covered peristyle, the remains of thermal baths, the original kitchens, and drains.
4- Templo Diana:
via – turismomerida
One of the best attractions in Merida, is the ancient building Temple of Diana, designed during Augustus time, the Roman era. It stands on an elevated rectangular base and encircles by six granite columns on the facade. There is a small museum in the adjoining building, which used to be part of the old palace from the 16th for the Duke of Corbos.
5- The Pórtico del Foro:
via – visitarmerida
The Pórtico del Foro constructed during the 1st century as part of the Augusta Emerita Municipal Forum. The remains are gorgeous given their age and include many Corinthian columns that still assist a large piece of marble, and a section of the wall still has statues of Roman gods and rulers.
6- Acueducto de los Milagros:
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Acueducto de Los Milagros, built in the 1st century AD, a medieval Roman aqueduct made from granite and brick, its purpose is to provide fresh water to the city of Mérida. Today, over 800 meters of the original adequate still stand, with entire sections, The northern end of the aqueduct integrated a pool that purified the water. In addition, the Roman adequate is an immense monument featuring three stories of semicircular arches, with distribution towers and a water tank.
7- Concatedral de Santa María de la Asunción :
via – mundandy
The cathedral is the best attraction in Merida constructed by Alonso de Cárdenas between the 13th and 15th centuries. The church stands on the site of a previously Visigoth temple. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the church renovated in a Neoclassical style. On the pretty simple façade, tourists can find a vaulted niche with an image of the Virgin Mary known as Our Lady of Guidance. Inside the church has three naves separated by square pillars and contains the tombs of Don Alonso de Cárdenas and the Duke and Duchess de la Roca.
8- Alcazaba de Merida:
via – thewotme
Alcazaba de Mérida is the only Moorish structure left in Merida. This massive fortress built by the Muslim Umayyad Emir Abd ar-Rahman II in 835 AD. Its purpose is to control all traffic coming across the bridge and to serve as a residency for the local governor.
Alcazaba, located near the Roman bridge over the Guadiana river, includes a sizable squared line of walls, every side gauging 130 meters in length, 10 m in height, and 2.7 m in density, built re-using Roman walls and Roman-Visigothic decorative stones. The marble pillars support the central dividing wall of the stairwell. Inside is a rainwater tank Aljibe including a cistern to collect and filter water from the river.
9- Plaza de España:
via – eldiario
Plaza de España is one of the best attractions in Merida, and the main square of the old city, surrounded by gorgeous historic facades from different periods. In the times of the Catholic Kings, the square has been a marketplace with fountains with running water. It has also used as a platform for theatre performances, an arena for corridas, a scenario for executions, masquerades, luminaries, cañas games, and processions.
Today, the plaza has a large marble fountain from the late 19th century standing at the center. A pillar comes out of a big round pond with cupids blowing on cornucopias and sitting on dolphins. This pillar grasps two small ponds, which look like two round trays, profusely decorated with plant motif.