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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our visit to Merida began at the Circo Romano de Merida. It's a good place to start because it's right next to the tourist center. And, although it is a crucial place to visit, it's the worst preserved of all the sights in my opinion, although you could still get a sense for how it once was here. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the legends that have been adapted throughout the grounds. You can get an idea of their use and original form. For example, the carceres they were from came from the chariots, and you can see the white line that was the starting point of the race. The races were 7 laps (or about 5,000 meters). Everything here was a sports event.
Saturday mornings. One of these markets during a lazy winter where sunlight wakes you up. It's in the Spanish Square, and from early on in the day artisans put their tables full of their own products out for display. They're usually simple things. Ornaments and beads. Felt pins and pendants, a lot of pottery and wicker baskets. Some things are made of leather, and sometimes there are figurines carved out of a peach pit. You can get your name carved in wood, too. And there's always someone there with enough patience to make miniature things for doll houses. People walk up and down the market, slowly, enjoying this quiet morning. The atmosphere here invites you out to the street to buy some of their crafts to promote the craft market, traditional arts, and culture. It's a good way to spend a Saturday morning.
The Alcazaba de Merida is a clear example of how architecture is reinvented and recycled throughout history. The Romans built this site next to the bridge over the Guadiana River, one of the gates of the city, which the Romans built with great walls to protect the Romans from potential enemies. When the Empire fell and Merida was conquered by the Muslims, they reused this building in order to create a fortress, which according to historians was one of the finest examples of the first defensive constructions dating from the Islamic period in the Iberian Peninsula, and which was indeed the first of its kind to be lifted.
Built by Rahman II in 835 d. C. as a stronghold to control from which to the city, which since 805 had rebelled continuously against the Emirate, is a complex construction, which consists of a large square enclosure that measures 130 square meters, and is capable of accommodating a large number of troops. Inside you will find an 'aljibe', which is a building consisting of a tank of filtered water from the Guadiana which was reached with a double corridor from the ground floor of a tower. Currently, it is open to the public and from its ramparts you can admire a stunning and beautiful view of the Guadiana River, the Roman bridge, as well as the the beautiful promenade that was built along the river bank.
In this tourist office, as soon as we walked in the front, we found ourselves in front of the person you were going to ask the question to, and before we could even open our mouths she started to tell us where the famous monuments were that we could visit. What I mean is that you probably think everyone who comes into the tourist office wants to know the same thing, and it's not the case. We were actually going to ask for an interpretation that was going to be held that evening, instead of letting us ask, she just started talking. They should listen first and let you ask your question.
"Try a little bit of carnival, you'll see how you'll like it". In Extremadura the most famous carnivals are those of Badajoz and of Navalmoral in Cáceres. But I was surprised by Merida, with this festive spirit.
If you're looking for what to do in Merida, you've come to the right place! On minube, you'll find tons of tips and photos from real travelers who've visited before and have shared their recommendations for the best things to do in Merida.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic city center is home to many of the most important monuments and things to see in Merida. From the Roman to Visigoth to Moorish, each section has its own history and architecture to discover! Some of the most popular attractions in Merida are Roman in origin. You'll love exploring the Roman amphitheater, bridge, and the stunning Temple of Diana.
Another of the top Merida activities is visiting the Moorish Alcazaba, a large fortress built by the Umayyad emir Abd ar-Rahman II in 835 AD. Fans of medieval art and architecture will also find plenty of stuff to do in Merida like the well-preserved Basilica of Santa Eulalia, the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Hospital de Jesus Nazareno.
From there, you can move on to the modern age and visit sights like the Lusitania Bridge and State Public Library.
To find more things to see in Merida, have a look at the tips and recommendations from our community of travelers and start discovering all the best Merida attractions and activities.