Emerita Augusta, the Rome of Extremadura


Located in the southwest of Spain and in the north of the province of Badajoz, the city of Mérida is located in the geographical center of the region. Since 1993 it has been considered World Heritage for the number of public buildings, monuments and structures from the Roman era that it preserves. However, this presence of history contrasts with the modernity of its newly built buildings, in a serene coexistence between past and future. Thanks to his role as capital from Estremadura, its unbeatable geographical location and excellent infrastructure on the road network, Mérida has a wide range of hotels.

History

Emerita Augusta, was founded by Octavio Augusto, in the year A.D. 25., for licensed soldiers of the veteran legions of the Cantabrian Wars. Hence the name emerita (emeritus in Latin it means retired), alluding to the retired soldiers with honor.


For centuries, Emérita Augusta lived a period of great splendor until the fall of the Western Roman Empire, becoming an important legal, economic, cultural and military center. Proof of this splendor are the buildings that still endure as a living testimony of a culture that is also ours.

Architectural legacy

Theater and amphitheater . These two superb buildings make up the most important complex in the city:



Theater. It stands out for being the best preserved in the west, dating from the year 15 B.C.., and for its stage, built by Trajan in the 2nd century AD. The highlights of this magnificent building are the scene and the orchestra. Of the stands, the state of conservation of its vomitoriums and galleries system is notable, in addition to the covering that covers them.

Every year, in the summer season, theatrical performances and performances by singers are held, attracting thousands of visitors.


Amphitheater. Despite its state, the structure is perfectly visible. The most interesting thing about this construction is the box of authorities, located in front of the main entrance. It was opened in the year 8 B.C.. and its capacity is estimated at about 15,000 spectators.


Roman houses. There are several Roman villas in a different state of preservation, but the most interesting are those of Miter and the amphitheater. In them you can see the hypocaust (floor heating system) and pavements:

Mitreo House. Its name is due to the fact that in the vicinity were found the remains of a sanctuary dedicated to Mithras (god of sunlight, of Persian origin and adopted by the Romans). Its age is estimated around 2nd century AD, and in it you can see the atrium, the peristyle and a mosaic with cosmological motifs, in addition to the general structure of the entire building, thanks to a system of elevated platforms.

Amphitheater House. Two houses can be visited in the vicinity of the amphitheater. One dates from the 1st century AD, in which you can see its peristyle (gallery of columns that surround the interior of the house). The other dates from the 2nd century AD, of which its interesting mosaics and its hypocaust stand out.


Alcazaba and Roman bridge

The citadel offers the possibility of observing the remains of three different cultures: Roman, Visigoth and Muslim, since it was built in the year A.D. 835 (after the Muslim occupation) on some Roman and Visigothic ruins.

The dimensions of the bridge are 792 meters long by 12 meters high and about 60 arches. It has been repeatedly rebuilt due to the strength of the river current Guadiana, despite being supported on concrete cores.

Roman road. There is a section in excellent condition that is parallel to a wall.

Houses and taverns. You can see several Roman buildings, as well as architectural elements. One of these important buildings in everyday life was the taverns, where meals, drinks and other foods were served.


Diana Temple. Its construction is estimated around 1st century B.C., and it must have been dedicated to the imperial cult.

Trajan's Arch. It was intended to mark the entrance to a sacred precinct and is about 15 meters high.


Aqueduct of the Miracles. It carried the water from the Proserpina reservoir to the city, saving the Abarregas river. It measures 830 meters and reaches 25 meters in height. It is a magnificent work of engineering.

The circus. It is one of the worst preserved buildings. Dates from the century I B.C. and its capacity reached 30,000 spectators. The stands can hardly be seen, although the central part, around which the cars revolved.

National Museum of Roman Art. This museum compiles an interesting collection of materials found in the area, which are displayed in a perfectly organized way.There are several rooms where fundamental aspects of Roman life and culture are explained.

Roman Merida (Augusta Emerita) at VirTimePlace (Release 1.1-English) (January 2021)


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