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Make the most of your holiday by discovering a city bursting with history

Monuments

The Theatre was constructed under Agrippa, the son-in-law of Augustus, during the years 16 and 15 B.C. when the 'Colonia' was brought to the provincial capital of Lusitania. Like the adjacent Amphitheatre, the Theatre was built partially into the side of a hill, significantly reducing production costs. The rest was built with stone blocks.

Although the Romans were not big fans of theatre, a prestigious city was required to have a building for stage productions. The designated place for this in Emerita Augusta (now Merida) was particularly generous in size: it could accommodate around 6000 spectators. People would sit according to their social status, divided into three groups: summa cavea, media cavea and ima cavea. These sections were separated by aisles and barriers. All the rows could be easily access using the steps that are radially arranged throughout the caveas. The access doors and vomitoriums could be reached using the aisles.

 

 

The Acueducto de los Milagros (The Miraculous Aqueduct) forms a part of a water system that brought water from the Proserpina or Charca de la Albuera reservoirs. It is popularly known as "Los Milagros" (The Miraculous) due to the admiration for its well-preserved state - despite the passing of time - it produces in locals and foreigners alike. And with good reason: more than 800 metres of this aqueduct have been preserved, including some of its granite and brick pillars that stand at up to 26 metres high. If you look carefully at the monument, you will note an interesting detail: at the point where the Albarregas stream flows, the aqueduct has a beautiful arch of stone blocks that stands out from the rest of the construction.

 

 

The Temple of Diana   is an Imperial Worship Temple situated at the end of a large square that has some remains of a cryptoportico (sub-terranean passageway) in certain areas. With regards the square, there are still some marble paving ballasts that have been preserved, in addition to the walls that mark out the area and two ponds that flank the building.

 

The Amphitheatre served as the setting for very popular shows, such as gladiator games, the shooting of wild beasts, and animal fights in artificial settings that recreated forests, jungles with lagoons, or deserts. All of this was done on large wooden platforms that formed the arena. The approximate occupancy of this huge area was between fifteen and sixteen thousand spectators. There was a large trench in the arena, in which were the wooden pillars that supported the wooden flooring. Below this floor and in this ditch, all the necessary apparatus for each complex show was hidden.

 

The Puente Romano (Roman Bridge) is one of the longest bridges that remains from ancient times. It is the monument that gives meaning to the existence of this city and it was a crucial element - due to its strategic value - for business and all the wars that took place in the western area of the peninsula. Today, it acts as a unitary monument. The battles and the strong floods of the Guadiana River put an end to some of its sections, resulting in various renovation efforts ranging in time from the Visigoth era to the 19th Century. However, the most important reconstuction was the one carried out in the 17th Century which added five arches to the central stretch, with each one having a ramp that provides us with access to the island in the river.

 

The Museo de Arte Romano (Roman Art Museum) substituted the old Archaeological Museum of Merida, which was created by Royal Order on the 26th of March 1838.

The current venue of the museum was opened on the 19th of September in 1986. It was designed by Rafael Moneo Vallés, and is a key example of Roman Spain. The history of this era is explained with artefacts recovered from sites in Merida.

It is an investigative centre and an educational place of Roman culture where various events are hosted. These can range from conventions, debates and conferences to courses, exhibitions and many other national and international activities.

 

Cornalvo National Park

 
This national park has a fairly uniform landscape that is interrupted by two main mountain ranges: the Sierra Bermeja and the Sierra del Moro. These mountainous expanses form the natural boundaries of the park. The main river course is the Aljucen River which enters the park in the north before crossing it and then exiting at the west boundary. The majority of the national park is covered in swathes of holm oak and cork oak trees, and wooded areas of scrubland and bushes. You can also see further plant types, such as strawberry trees, pistacia lentiscus, rockroses and common ferns.
 
With regards fauna, you can observe more than 250 species of vertebrates, including wildcats (which are in danger of extinction) and amphibians such as Iberian midwife toads. Furthermore, regarding birdlife, there are up to 155 different species with highlights being black storks, griffon vultures, Spanish imperial eagles, black kites and black-winged kites. The area is classified as a Special Protection Area (SPA).

 

The Area Surrounding the Guadiana and Aljucen Rivers

 

The Guadiana River is the ecological heart of Merida that divides the city into two parts. On the banks and islands that form in its riverbed, you can enjoy wonderful scenery with its abundance of flora. It is also a fantastic place where you can bird watch: you can see a variety of herons, such as the cattle egret and little egret. Common, pallid and alpine swifts nest on the bridges that cross the river. In winter, you can see cormorants, black-headed gulls and lesser black-headed gulls. We recommend you access the largest of the islands in the riverbed, which is commonly known as "La Isla" (The Island). You can reach it using various footbridges or the Puente Romano (Roman Bridge). You will be able to enjoy a pleasant walk in this beautiful island setting by using the various pathways available.

 

 

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