Besides being the capital city of Extremadura, Mérida is also declared as World Heritage site by UNESCO, thanks to its archaeological complex. Its ruins and museums give away evidence about the importance that the city of Mérida had during the Roman Empire. Known as Emerita Augusta during that time, Mérida was also the capital city of Lusitania.
Guadiana River splits the city in two halfs. Most of the Roman monuments and buildings are located east to the river, just 10 minutes away from Hotel Zeus. These are some Romans monuments you should visit during your stay in Mérida.
Is one of the most iconic monuments of the city, it was built with financial support from Agripa, son-in-law of Emperor Augusto, when the city was promoted to being the capital of Lusitania. This building is contiguous to the amphitheatre and has a maximum capacity of 6000 spectators. The stage is closed on the back with a 30 meters tall wall, the frons scaenae, decorated with deified Roman emperors and underworld deities statues that raise in between the marble columns. All of this is on top of a marble decorated podium.
This building was built in the year 8 BC. The Amphitheatre served as stage for the celebration of popular shows, as gladiator games, beast shoots and wild animal fights. Forests, jungles or deserts where recreated in the arena on top of wooden platforms. Is contiguous to the theatre and has capacity for over fifteen or sixteen thousand spectators. On the middle of the arena there is a big trench where the platforms were supported and where they hid all the materials needed for the development of these kinds of shows.
Merida’s city centre hides many Roman Monuments in each corner. Walking around the historical centre you can find the Roman baths in Pontezuelas street, the Roman forum, the exceptionably well-preserved Temple of Diana, the Door of Trajano and the Co-cathedral of Santa María, of Visigothic construction.
Casa del MItreo
Is a Roman house built around the late first and early second century BC. It was built outside the city walls. Its extension and the decoration of some of its rooms are avidence that their owners were important personalities in Emérita Augusta. The complex is built around three patios and the existence of stairs still preserved raise suspicion about the existence of a second floor above. In some of its rooms there are floor mosaics that hold up to the pass of time.
National Museum of Roman Art
With a history of more than 180 years is the most important Roman archaeology museum in Spain. The museum is framed in the archaeological complex of Mérida declared as World Heritage. Its origin goes back to the 16 century, when it started as a private collection of dug out pieces. Nonetheless it was not until the year 1838 when it opened to the public under the name of Archaeological Museum of Mérida.