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A short break in cultural Mérida – what to see in a day

  • Remains of Roman arches in the Roman amphitheatre. © Turespaña

    Remains of Roman arches in the Roman amphitheatre. © Turespaña

  • Roman theatre in Merida © Turespaña

    Roman theatre in Merida © Turespaña

  • Amphitheatre in Mérida © Turespaña

    Amphitheatre in Mérida © Turespaña

  • Portico in the Alcazaba citadel in Mérida. © Turespaña

    Portico in the Alcazaba citadel in Mérida. © Turespaña

  • Roman temple to Diana, Mérida © Turespaña

    Roman temple to Diana, Mérida © Turespaña

  
  


" Many people call this city in Extremadura, in inland Spain, "the Pearl of the Guadiana River" One of its main attractions is the Roman archaeological complex, which has the UNESCO World Heritage ..."

Many people call this city in Extremadura, in inland Spain, "the Pearl of the Guadiana River" One of its main attractions is the Roman archaeological complex, which has the UNESCO World Heritage designation. Here are the places you should not miss if you visit the city in a day.

Roman theatre and amphitheatre
There is a combined ticket that allows you at least an hour. The guided tour unveils interesting details, like the fact that the amphitheatre still has stones from when the gladiators used to fight, or that part of the stage and marble columns in the theatre are the original ones.

Things to remember:
The Roman theatre continues in use, and in July and August hosts the International Classical Theatre Festival.
There is also a nocturnal visit.

National Museum of Roman Art
It is opposite the theatre and amphitheatre. You should allow at least an hour an a half to visit it. You'll learn about the Roman city of Augusta Emerita, the old Mérida, and you'll see decorative elements from the portico of the forum, exceptional mosaics, a crypt with domestic constructions and even a section of a Roman road. The museum's page includes all the details of its main artworks.

A walk round the historic centre
After visiting the museum, you can continue along Calle Sagasta and you'll get to the Portico of the Forum and the Temple of Diana. The latter is particular beautiful when it is lit up at night. Trajan's Arch is nearby.

Continuing straight ahead, you'll come to the Alcazaba citadel and the Roman bridge. The former is a good place to enjoy a panoramic view from above to enjoy the sight of the Guadiana River. It also contains remains from several periods, such as the city's main road in Roman times, and a water cistern with both Roman and Arab decoration.

Roman Circus, Casa del Mitreo house and Los Columbarios funeral site
The ticket for the theatre and amphitheatre is also valid for these. It also includes the Alcazaba, Las Morerías archaeological site and Santa Eulalia crypt.

You can walk to the Roman Circus from the theatre. It has a small visitor centre that gives an idea of what this space was like when it had capacity for 30,000 people. Opposite you can find the remains of thermal baths and of the San Lázaro Aqueduct.

You can also walk from the theatre to the Casa del Mitreo house and Los Columbarios funeral site, but in the opposite direction. They show how stately homes used to be in that period, and the different funeral traditions in the history of Mérida.

Other interesting places to visit
We recommend staying in the city more than one day in order to have time to see everything calmly, enjoy the atmosphere on the streets, taste the food and visit other cultural places.

In the city you can also see Los Milagros Aqueduct, Las Morerías archaeological site, the Visigothic collection, and Santa Eulalia Basilica and its crypt. At the entrance, you'll see a small oratory whose portico is made with pieces of marble from what was once a Roman temple dedicated to the god Mars.

About five kilometres outside the city, you can visit the Proserpina reservoir. This is one of the largest dike constructions in antiquity. In this area you can also find the Water Interpretation Centre.

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