If Merida is known as a place filled with Roman culture, a special mention must be made to the Roman Amphitheater.
I think this is without a doubt the most beautiful place in the city for many reasons. First of all, it’s just magnificent. It’s enormous from all angles. One of the best parts about visiting is that you can step on the ancient stands and take a seat. It’s important to keep in mind that we’re talking about a still-living place where they still perform plays. For example, when I was there, there were flyers for an upcoming Isabel Pantoja concert.
But the most special thing about the place is that it has been absolutely splendidly conserved. I mean, come on. They say it’s from 16 A.D. It’s hard to believe that looking at the great state it’s kept in.
It’s considered one of the 12 treasure of Spain, and will good reason. It’s spectacular! And the best is to go and visit it, and see many more corners of the city. After seeing the theater, head over to Merida’s Circus Maximus right next door. It’s another impressive, ancient structure.
The Roman theatre and amphitheatre of Mérida are next to each other and form, in my opinion, the most impressive part of the entire city. And while the theatre is more spectacular and well-preserved, the amphitheatre was much more beloved in its time and was the home to famous gladiator battles and duels between beasts and men.
It was inaugurated in 8B.C. and is formed by a sandy pit that measures 64 by 41 meters. The seats, which are divided into three sections (only two of which remain today), could hold up to 15,000 spectators. There were also two special viewing areas; one for the authorities and the other for the sponsors of the spectacle.
Nowadays, you can explore all the points of the amphitheatre, pass through the various gateways, and tread the sandy pit area. Basically, you can fully enjoy it. You can’t miss it!
If you don’t visit this area when you’re in Mérida, then you aren’t really visiting Mérida.
This summer on my trip to Portugal, we passed through Merida and Emerita Augusta. Everything that can be said about this beautiful city has already been said. Just seeing it in more detail for yourself by spending more than a day there will do you well. August is not one of the best months to visit its monuments and ruins. But the feeling of being in the midst of construction centuries ago briefly makes you forget your troubles. It's also very fun to walk through a modern city and occasionally have bursts where you discover the past. Well don't worry, have a good evening, day, or night, and a bear hug from me hehehe.
Walk around Mérida and discover its streets and architectural monuments is a true adventure. I know the experience because, while going for a walk one afternoon, we found the Temple of Diana full of people.
Two things stood out to me. One, the temple has been extremely well conserved, especially considering the harsh weather and the abuse of inconsiderate visitors. You have to keep in mind that this monument is from the 1st century A.D.
Two, it’s amazing how a monument like this could be found in the middle of a city. Think about it, there’s people who wake up every morning in Mérida and the first thing they see when looking out their window is this temple.
An interesting fact: although it’s dedicated to Diana, it was originally a worship temple for an imperial cult.
Don’t miss out on visiting the temple. It’s breathtaking. I mean, I loved it! The views are even better at night with the lights shining on it.
Badajoz’s most iconic square is the Plaza Alta. It’s found next to the Espantaperros Tower, La Galera, and the Alcazaba in the historic part of the city.
This is a large, rectangular square lined by arches which support buildings decorated in traditional Mudéjar motifs in various colors. It’s amazing!
When the square’s bars set up terraces, it becomes an ideal place to sit down and have a drink. The Plaza Alta is connected with the Plaza of San José by the Peso de Colodrazgo Arch. In the Plaza de San José you can find the Puerta del Capitel (the access door to the Alcazaba), the Mudéjar Homes Museum, and the Convent of the Adoratrices.
Both squares were once the centre of Badajoz and hosted weekly markets.
The Romans were an advanced society in many ways: Literature, the arts of war, law, language, and women's fashion. The Romans had all kinds of hair accessories, as well as accessories for their hands, wrists and necks. There were earrings and necklaces where you could put little pieces of perfumed cotton. Also, of course, they had evil rings for hiding poison. But today they're not for poison, but they make a good gift to remember the Roman Empire of Emerita Augusta. We were in the National Museum of Roman Art, one of the the few museums where the contents are actually from the same city the museum is in. We found a lot of good imitations of Roman jewelry for a good price. I got some long, pretty earrings. They look ancient. Long live the empire!
The Alcazaba of Badajoz is found in the highest part of the city near the emblematic Plaza Alta and close to the Casas Mudéjares and the Convent of the Adoratrices.
The Alcazaba was built by the Almohads in the 12th century on the ruins a pre-existing structure from the 11th century. It’s free to the public and you enter via the Puerta del Capitel in the Plaza de San José, although there are other doors which are closed to the public (Alpéndiz, Carros, Yelbes, and the famous “Traitors’ Door”).
Besides serving as a defensive fort, it also housed most of the town’s population in the 16th century, which is why the castle has several palaces and mosques inside like the Condes de la Roca Palace, which is currently an Archaeology Museum. The castle grounds also contain a 19th century Military Hospital which is now used as headquarters of the Extremadura Regional Library System.
During your visit to the Alcazaba, you can stroll along the walls and see the different doors and towers, the most spectacular of which is the 30-meter tall octagonal Espantaperros Tower which leads to the La Galera building and its gardens.
The Alcazaba de Badajoz was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931.
El Puente de Palmas is located just opposite the Puerta de Palmas and the bastion of San Vicente. It is 600 meters long and 32 wide, and passes over the River Guadiana. The current dates back to the sixteenth century; given the river's tendency to flood, it has been rebuilt several times. It is built in the Herrera style, with blocks of granite masonry.
Along with the National Museum of Roman Art, this was my favorite monument of the city. The sheer size of this aqueduct and the thought of building it in that era are really impressive. The aqueduct is located in a nice little park where you can take a walk and enjoy it in all its grandeur. The simple green park area somehow helps highlight the amazing dimensions of this enormous Roman construction.
No, this isn't the Giralda in Seville, but a reproduction of it, albeit on a smaller scale. It is made from brick and stone, with decorative balconies. The tower is topped by an identical statue to the one in Seville. It stands in the heart of the city, opposite the Ermita de la Soledad, and close to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Cathedral. This building was built in 1930, commissioned by the industrialist Manuel Cancho Moreno for commercial use; today it is the headquarters of Telefonica. The architect who designed it was Adel Pinna.
La Charca (that's the more common name for Proserpina Swamp) is an 8.5 square kilometer basin. The Romans built this dam over the Pardillas River. Merida welcomes you on one of its sacred grounds. It's a little paradise on earth. There's granite, fish, cormorants, herons, eucalyptus and peace... a lot of peace.
After lunch we went to visit the House of Mithraeum, somewhat far away from the rest of the Merida Roman beauties, but it is no less beautiful. In fact, it lies in one of the most beautiful mosaics, called the Cosmological Mosaic. In it you can see the evolution of the cosmos and its creation and the human figures that represent. The most striking thing about it is its colors, especially the shades of blue that represent the sky, the sea ... The rest of the room is a large Roman house, divided into three courtyards that give shape and luminosity. Very close to the house, in the current bullring, you can see some remains that were found. Having seen the house, the journey takes us to a path of land, to the columbarium, the area where the dead were deposited by the Romans. It is worth it if you have time.
Arriving in the noble town of Jerez de los Caballeros in the evening provides a wonderful spectacle that looks like a postcard. It allows you to see the five towers of the city's churches, which house the impressive steps and the evergreen cultural treasures that provide prestige to the guilds of each parish.
The Cathedral of Badajoz is located in Plaza de España (next to the Town Hall), although the tourist entrance is on Calle San Blas.
The building has a relatively modern look even though it was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. It has an annex on one side which is the Co-Cathedral of Santa María, built in the 16th century on the remains of a previous church dating back to the 14th century. It has several notable altars.
What struck my attention most about the outside was the tower on the left of the building and the entrance with the staircase. The entire façade is done in the Classical style in light-colored stone and is pretty austere as far as decoration goes.
It was designed in the shape of a Latin cross, with three halls supported by columns and arches. It also has three doors: the oldest is the San Blas door (16th century) which got its name from the image of the saint on the pediment. The second door is that of Cordero (17th century) which is made of white marble and carries the emblem of the church: a lamb and a cross. Finally, there’s the door of Perdón, which is the prettiest. It’s made of marble and is flanked by Ionic columns and is topped by an image of St. John the Baptist.
The interior houses an impressive Baroque altar created by Ginés López. It has Solomonic columns which line a polychrome image of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of this cathedral. Underneath it, there is an image of the Virgin as well as other tapestries and paintings. I should also point out the forged iron railings of the chapel and the choir area.
You should also visit the crypt, sacristy, and 16th century cloister. There’s also a Cathedral Museum in the interior that has some 16th century tablets by Luis Morales, objects made of alabaster and ivory, gems, and gold. It was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931.
This gate located in front of the Puente de Palmas on the Banks of Guadiana River near the Baluarte de San Vicente is the true symbol of Badajoz. It was once the most important entryway to the city and the former home of customs control. In the 19th century, it was a royal prison. It looks like an Arch of Triumph with two enormous circular towers on either side of the central body.
The arch has two different facades, one for each side. The exterior façade (the one that faces the river) has the imperial shield of Charles V and a commemorative inscription. The side that faces the square has a sort of terrace and a niche with the image of the Virgin. In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful monument in all of Badajoz. The Tourist Information office of Badajoz is located on the ground floor of one of the towers.
This theatre is located in Plaza Minayo, in the centre of Badajoz, directly across from the Provincial Hospital of San Sebastian and the Church of San Juan Bautista. On one side of the theatre is the Plaza de San Francisco. This is home to all that the city has to offer in terms of culture, especially performances of theatre, dance, music and film. In late October a 3-week festival theatre takes place. It has capacity for 800 spectators. The box office hours are: 12 to 14 and from 18 to 21 h.
I think that one of Extremadura’s best panoramic views can be found at the Castle of Puebla de Alcocer. From there, you can see four reservoirs and the Guadiana, Zújar, Serena, and García de Sola Rivers, the latter of which is home to a spectacular colony of spotted vultures. Springtime, when everything is green and there’s plenty of water, is the best time to visit.
The castles itself is also interesting and although it’s not in optimal condition, you can still walk the walls and explore the tower. The tower is in great shape and you can really get some amazing views. You can get there in your car and there’s a parking lot and even a bar-restaurant if you’re hungry or thirsty.
You can enjoy another great landmark and it's not a woman. Yikes, that was an cheasy joke. The only problem is that around noon here it gets very hot, and at night there's ideal lighting for photos at the Portico of the Forum. There are great places to go in the area, and don't forget to stop by John Lennon Street.