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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Mérida

Mérida

The Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida holds the remains of many public buildings that were the trademarks of a major Roman provincial capital.

Mérida was founded in 25 BC with the name of Emerita Augusta. The city became the capital of Lusitania province, and one of the most important cities in the Roman empire.

Mérida preserves more important ancient Roman monuments than any other city in Spain. They include:

- Guadiana bridge

- Amphitheatre

- Theatre

- Temple of Diana

- Arch of Trajan

- Circus

- Water supply system

- Baths

- Residences

- Tombs

Some later monuments (like the Moorish Alcazabar and two early Christian churches) are also part of the as world heritage site designated area.

Map of Mérida

Legend

  • Cultural

Visit March 2008

Already at Mérida's admission in 1993 there were 20 other (Mediterranean) Roman heritages inscribed on the List. And many more followed, currently I count 28 of them and even last year one was added (Serbia's Gamzigrad-Romuliana). "Ancient Rome" is one of the most common site categories. One just wonders how many is enough? My personal favourites so far have been Rome, Pompeii and the Villa Romana del Casale. Before my trip to Extremadura I wondered what Mérida has to offer that all the others don't.

March 2008

Modern Mérida feels a bit dilapidated at first sight: graffiti, poor housing. I started my tour of the Roman monuments at the amphitheatre and the theatre. For 10 Euros you get an entry ticket to these and the other important sites in town, which can be used over several days. Good value I think. The prize piece is the ancient Roman theatre, which could seat 6000 people and still has the formidable stage with marble columns and statues (although these are replicas).

Close to the theatres is the Roman Museum, which is very much worth visiting. This is were my initial concern faded away. The accomplishments of the Ancient Romans continue to amaze. Remember that the Civilization of Ancient Rome existed really early in history - more than 1000 years before Angkor Wat or Machu Picchu were constructed - and that so much is left, both physical and in writing. There's a well presented exhibition here about the local Roman road system, the Via de la Plata. Entry to this great museum is only 2.40 Euros (and free to minors, seniors and the unemployed!).

March 2008

The numerous Roman monuments of Mérida are scattered around the modern town. Their quality lies in their ensemble: it would be a great destination for a school trip as you can point out every aspect of life in a Roman city. It shows how they lived (how the rich lived anyway), what they did in their spare time (the theatres, the circus), how they travelled and how they buried their dead. So, Yes, Mérida surely deserves its place among the 28 Ancient Roman WHS.

March 2008

Community Reviews


Klaus Freisinger Austria 18.01.15

Mérida was, in Roman times, the capital of the large province of Lusitania, which stretched across parts of southern Spain and most of Portugal. It was one of the most important Roman cities on the Iberian peninsula and today is one of 2 Roman-themed WH sites in Spain. The other is Tarragona on the Catalonian coast, also a former provincial capital. Mérida does have a star attraction - the very well-preserved Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre -, something that Tarragona doesn't really provide, but Tarragona probably has a higher number of different Roman sites and buildings than Mérida has, so if you are interested in ancient history, it may be worth checking out both places. There are a handful of reasonably impressive Roman-era buildings sprinkled throughout Mérida, such as the Arch of Trajan, the Temple of Diana, and the Roman Bridge (which can still be used today, similar to the one in Salamanca), and there are some nicely preserved remnants of aqueducts which housed many storks' nests when I visited in October. And right next to the Amphitheatre, there is an excellent Roman Museum with a fantastic collection of mosaics. So even if Mérida is certainly a bit off the beaten track, it is definitely worth a visit for anyone with an interest in Roman history.


Clyde Malta 22.08.14

Mérida by Clyde

I visited this WHS in August 2014. Merida was my first stopover point after a long road trip in Portugal. It was very hot and dry so the free entrance (being a national holiday) to the National Museum of Roman Art was a godsend. It houses several Roman remains and above all beautiful mosaic floors. Next I visited the Temple of Diana, the Arch of Trajan, the crypt beneath the floor of the church of Santa Eulailia, the thermal baths and a couple of Roman residences and tombs. The combined ticket now costs 12 euros but it's quite worth it for what you get to see. The main highlights are the Roman Amphitheatre and Theatre but before leaving town I also visited the Roman Circus, the Guadiana bridge and the aqueduct. On the whole I must say that I prefer Tarragona due to the amphitheatre's proximity to the Mediterranean Sea and the superb aqueduct there. Merida's star attraction to me was the National Museum of Roman Art.


John booth New Zealand 31.03.10

Mérida by John Booth

There were a lot of sites to visit within a small area in Merida. The outstanding features for me were the pristine mosaic floors of ancient houses near the amphitheatre and the necropolis in the crypt beneath the floor of the church of Santa Eulailia, which contained more mosaics.

Besides containing interesting exhibits, the Museo Iberico also provided a selection of tasty meals in its restaurant at lunchtime.


Jose Gomes, Portugal 07.06.05

The archaelogical sites (ruins) are impressive and it seems that we go back in time.


Patricia Harper, England

I visited Merida in 2003 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Make sure you arrive early to the ruins as it can get very hot and crowded. The museum must not be missed. It is a work of art in itself with many exhibits. I would love to go there again.


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Site Info

Full name: Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida

Unesco ID: 664

Inscribed: 1993

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 3   4  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 1993 - Inscribed 

Locations

The site has 22 locations. Show all

  • Mérida: Alcantarilla Bridge Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Casa Herrera Basilica Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Church of Sta. Clara and Visigothic Art Collection Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Cornalvo Dam Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Guadiana River Dam, Roman Bridge over Guadiana River, Alcazaba Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Local Forum Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Los Milagros Aqueduct Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: National Museum of Roman Art Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Proserpina Dam Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Roman Bridge over Albarregas River Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Roman Theatre, Amphitheatre, the Amphitheatre House Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Roman Wall and Albarrana Islamic Tower Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: San Lázaro Aqueduct
  • Mérida: Sta. Catalina Basilica Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Sta. Eulalia Basilica: Interpretation Centre, Temple of Mars Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Sta. Eulalia Obelisk Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Temple of Diana Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: The Mithraeum House - The Columbaria Funerary Area Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: The Roman Circus Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Thermal Baths at Alange Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Thermal Baths at Reyes Huertas St. Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain
  • Mérida: Trajan's Arch, Concordia Temple Province of Badajoz, Autonomous Community of Extremadura, Spain