Mérida – Home to Some of the Finest Roman Ruins in Spain

Mérida is a bit of a well-kept secret from tourists and yet it has some amazing Roman and Moorish ruins. The town was founded by Augustus in 25 BC and was known as Augustus Emerita. Today, it’s a relatively small city (population of about 60,000) that feels smaller since much of the main town is walkable and most of the main sights are within the central part of the city. We were fortunate to find a lovely apartment just a block or so away from the main Roman ruins (we visited in March, and had most of the sights to ourselves). Check out this post for a map of Spain reference.

The Roman Theater in Mérida, still in use for classical drama.
Another view of the Roman Theater.
Detail of the Corinthian columns in the Roman Theater.
An entrance to the Amphitheater.
The Roman Amphitheater in Mérida, which sits next to the Theater.

Casa del Anfiteatro

Also next to the Roman Theater and Amphitheater is the Casa del Anfiteatro, which provides a glimpse into life of the Roman nobility. Baths, highly sophisticated plumbing systems, beautiful mosaics, and burial chambers are all on display at this excavated site.

The Temple of Diana (1st Century AD) was in the center of the Roman town of Augustus Emerita, about a ten-minute walk from the Theater and Amphitheater.

Other Roman Ruins Around Town

There are other Roman Ruins all over town just waiting to be explored.

Roman Bridge (Puente de Guadiana)

Alcazaba

One of the most fascinating sights in Mérida is the Alcazaba, one of Spain’s oldest Moorish buildings (AD 835), built over Roman ruins and right next to the Roman bridge (above). There are interpretive signs to help explain what life was like in the fortress.

This tunnel leads down to a still-functioning cistern in the Alcazaba.
Cistern in the Alcazaba – this cistern was part of a sophisticated plumbing system that brought water into the Alcazaba from the nearby river.

Los Milagros Aqueduct

Just outside central Mérida is Los Milagros Aqueduct, another reminder of Roman engineering skills and influence in this part of Spain. It dates from the 1st century AD and is part of a large park on the outskirts of Mérida.

This huge aqueduct is about a 20 minute walk from the Alcazaba.

Practical Matters

You can purchase a “Roman Ruins Circuit Ticket” for 16 Euro per person (as of March 2022) at the Theater which will get you into all the main sights. Well worth it. Our apartment, shown below, was fantastic – a very nice and accommodating owner, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, well-equipped kitchen and right in the heart of town. However, as the owner says in his instructions, don’t follow Apple or Google Maps for the address – they took us to a dead-end street right below the apartment and we had to go up a different street to get to the apartment (we read his instructions afterwards!).

Our apartment was in a perfect location (3 floors with a garage (where the “AT” sign is) – “Casa Museo”) – right next to the Museum of Roman Art and the Roman Theater (all located to the right in this photo).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s