Home to dozens of Roman ruins, town of Mérida sits proudly on the Iberian Peninsula only 174 miles (280 km) southwest of Madrid. This town is situated from the Extremadura region of Spain, an area in the Badajoz province.
Where to Eat in Mérida
Launched in 25 B.C., Mérida has rightly earned its name as a World Heritage Site. It boasts an outfit of Roman sites. The town’s name evolved from its original one of Emerita Augusta, meaning Army of Augustus. Mérida, also known as”miniature Rome,” was designated by the Emperor for Roman legionnaires and their families. Mérida included the area of Portugal and eventually evolved into the capital of Lusitania, that has been arguably the most important province in the western empire. Now Mérida is currently now home to more Roman monuments than any other Spanish town.
What to See and Do
Over time, the Extremadura region was held beneath Moorish, Christian and Portuguese control. These different societies not only influenced the culture, but also the many types of architecture located throughout Mérida. Due to its close proximity to the Portuguese border, Mérida shares a lot of its own history along with its neighbor . It is a popular stopover for those traveling in Madrid. As a little town, Mérida gives walking distances’ convenience. In 3 to 4 days visitors can quickly investigate Mérida’s attractions in addition to the day excursion cities of Zafra and Jerez de los Caballeros. Listed below are the must dos at Merida, Spain and sees!
Rex Numitor (Calle Castelar, 1) is hands-down the best boutique restaurant at town of Mérida. Founded in preparing typical dishes that are Extremaduran, Rex Numitor also offers a choice of wines for sale. Bottles of all kinds are exhibited throughout the restaurant, and that add each dining experience and allure. Juicy thighs of Jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) hanging at the far end of this restaurant also contribute to Rex’s warm, Spanish appeal.
My Experience in Mérida
Rex Numitor’s owner is a ham producer, so that you may be sure that what you’re getting is of the quality. You will find his shop, El Yantar, in front of the Roman theater only 1 block off from the Roman Bridge and Plaza p España (Calle Don José Álvarez Y Sáenz p Buroaga, 12/ Phone: +34 924 316 354/ www.jamoneselyantar.com).
El Yantar is a great spot to try different types of cheeses and Iberian hams. You can even order a leg of ham in order shipped to your house anywhere in the world (with the exception of the U.S.A. due to customs regulations.) It is El Yantar attention to details like the amount of salt, cooking temperatures, along with excellent management that makes it such a worthwhile spot.
Stop into Pizzeria Galileo (Calle John Lennon, 28) for a casual Dinner and a Piece of history.
Whilst vacationing the historical sites of Mérida this pizza shop is located facing the Alcazaba and leaves. Their menu provides over 30 kinds of freshly baked pizzas, calzones, and pasta dishes. After fueling up on specialties, go below for the topper that is true. The basement level of this restaurant features acrylic flooring panels, permitting perspectives of excavated Roman ruins. Pizzeria Galileo is available Tuesday through Sunday from 1:30 pm to 4 pm and from 8:30 pm to. Prices range from 4 to 12 Euros.
Open since 1949, Briz (Calle Felix Valverde Lilo, 7) is an tavern-style restaurant that has got a reputation as once of the best restaurants in the region serving significant Extremaduran specialties. Briz’s menu offers desserts such as bunny intestines and bull testes in addition. Patrons also stop in to appreciate pinchos and cañas When there are plenty of filling choices – Spanish-style beers on sticks with beer. The costs of briz are 1 reason it has enjoyed over decades of succeeding. Main courses will run you however, the quality of the beef is exceptional. Picky eaters and adventurous alike flock here to sample Extremadura’s noteworthy specialties. Don’t come expecting food demonstration that is show-stopping along with magnificent décor. Briz is a simple, institution. It is available Monday through Saturday.
Calle Felix Valverde Lillo, 7
Like Restaurant Briz, La Corrada (Calle San Juan de Dios, 5) serves up Conventional Extremadura cuisine.
It is found only two blocks which makes it a destination to walk to. La Corrada delivers a pub area located at the front of the building along with a dining hall for parties at the back. An intriguing quality of the front seats space is that the set of wooden barrels used as tables for the guests.
I sat at the barrels and purchased a cheese and chorizo appetizer, followed with a good Extremeño soup served by morcilla (blood sausage), meat and potatoes. Ordering various tapas is an excellent way to sample regional favorites and save room for dessert.
Dating back to 8 B.C., the Mérida amphitheater (Calle p José Ramón Mélida) is still one of the earliest archaeological sites from Spain. It was constructed in an oval form and made to chair. In true kind that is Roman, courses were unmixed along with the commoners’ chairs were separated from people of noblemen. The amphitheatre was employed for bloody gladiatorial battles between convicted guys and animals made from Africa and Asia.
The amphitheater is rundown with the sole intact portions being the inner columns of the grandstand, the middle, and the gladiators’ quarters. By the 400’s its own walls were taken down and harvested to build different structures. Renovations have allowed for mining of the corridors in which battlers and animals were stored prior to fights.
The amphitheater is available every day and admission is 8 Euros, that will grant you entrance to the Roman theater next door. I suggest purchasing one pass in the ticket office that covers entrance to several sites around Mérida. This Entrada Conjunta costs 12 Euros and this is an excellent value.
The Roman Theater is located next door to the amphitheater and is in a significantly better condition than its neighbor due to many renovation projects. Marcus Agrippa, Roman general and son-in-law of Caesar Augustus, built the theater at 15 B.C.. The theater was created to hold 6,000 spectators. The chairs are broken into tiers: first and closest tier (ima cavea), next tier (press ), along with third tier (summa). The initial 22 rows at the ima cavea section were reserved for the weakest of Romans.
Plays of all types were performed here to delight the audiences of Lusitania. The backdrop to the point, scaenae frons, has been well preserved. It has many inscriptions, Corinthian columns and marble statues. The theater is old, however, it is far from obsolete. During August and July the acoustics of the theater still echo throughout town during Theater Festival. Events include tragedies, Greek dramas, comedies, musicals, and dance shows. Go to www.festivaldeMérida.es for up-to-date Tracking info.
Not much to watch at the Circus Maximus (Avenida del Rey Don Juan Carlos I) an early Roman hippodrome employed for horse and chariot races. Built to resemble the one in Rome, Mérida’s Circus Maximus could sit over 25,000 spectators along the 1,312-foot (400 meter) course. The Circus Maximus is well preserved and still keeps a few of its original constructions like the triumphal gate along with also the judges’ panel. It has been a popular attraction in the town. The Circus Maximus is available daily. Entry is 4 Euros.
The Temple of Diana (Calle de Santa Catalina) is the only spiritual construction from Emerita Augusta still standing at its original location. Six granite columns that are Corinthian-style support what remains of those hexastyle portico. The temple, that was constructed sometime during the 1st century A.D., was most likely used to worship Emperor Augustus rather than Diana like the name implies. Sculptures of the family of the celestial emperor exist throughout the website.
If something concerning the temple interior arrangement appears off to you, that is as it is. During the 16th century Count Corbes made a decision to build his palace at the middle of this temple by re-purposing the majority of the first stones. Regrettably this is an elevated structure is located in the temple.
Aqueducto Los Milagros, or Aqueduct of This Miracles, is an extraordinary Case of Roman masterwork.
This 6-mile (10 km) structure was constructed to provide Emerita Augusta with water collected in the Proserpina cistern located only 3 miles (5 km) in the city. The water traveled across the aqueduct and gathered at a big square tank called castellum aquae. Having a scheme of arches developed to account for natural floor elevations, the aqueduct nevertheless stands as a nod to early engineering. Nowadays the arches are all home to heaps of storks. For incredible images of the website, visit an hour.
The Roman Bridge of Mérida luckily has stayed in excellent condition because of the Romans’ consistent efforts in maintaining it. In 2,591 ft (70 m), it is the longest surviving Roman bridge in the world.
It dates back to 25 B.C. and spans across the Guadiana River.
The rectangular stones and columns were designed to withstand winter flooding and strong currents. The bridge comprises 60 (initially it had 62) towering granite arches and has been employed as a footbridge since 1993. The Roman bridge is an 2-minute walk in Plaza de España.
Take a Look: Best Ten Roman Ruins in Extremadura, Spain
The Alcazaba (Plaza Del Rastro, Calle Graciano s/n) is an Arab castle entirely in ruins located on the north end of the Roman bridge. It offers views of the bridge in the very top. Constructed from the Moors from the year 835, the castle is known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built as a fortification within the Guadiana River and can be accessed via a little opening at the Roman Bridge. The Alcazaba was initially purposed to regulate traffic and goods . It is open every day and admission is 4 Euros.
If you’re a lover of everything Roman, then you will certainly appreciate the National Museum of Roman Art (Calle José Ramón Mélida, s/n). What makes this memorial unique is that a first Roman street runs through it. The street was uncovered through the structure of the museum and has been spared. Along the route of this first floor it is possible to catch a peek of Roman tombs in addition to displays of the Romans’ life. The second floor consists of exhibits of their objects such as stone tools and vessels. The floor of this museum features displays of aspects of life in the capital. Sculptures out of the theater and amphitheater are retained here. Tapestries adorn the walls. The museum contains over 35,000 artifacts in Emerita Augusta!
The museum will be closed on Mondays and is located in an 8-minute walk east of the Plaza de España. Entry is just 3 Euros, however, is free on Saturday afternoons, Sunday evenings, and also for those 18 and below. Go to www.mnar.es to find out more on exhibits, schedule, and specific occasions.
The Visigothic Basilica of Santa Eulalia (Avenida Extremadura, s/n) has been constructed at the 6th century and named after Saint Eulalia, patron saint of Mérida. According to writings that are Christian, Saint Eulalia was a young Christian virgin girl who opposed the notion in gods. She was tortured and burnt at the stake, and has been declared a saint because of her martyrdom. Barcelona in Asturias also regard Saint Eulalia because of their patron saint. Her feast day is celebrated annually on December 10th.
Exterior of the church turned into a shrine devoted to Mars. Excavations underneath the basilica have uncovered fragments of Roman homes. The basilica is available every day from 9 am to 8:30 pm. Entry is 4 Euros.
The Cornalvo Dam is an Roman gravity dam that was constructed through the 1st and used to provide the aqueducts of Emerita Augusta with water. Currently a tourist attraction from the lush Cornalvo Nature Reserve, the dam goes for over 636 ft (194 m). The Cornalvo Nature Reserve is located 10 miles northeast of Mérida and boasts a variety of things to do such as bird watching, photography and trekking along the banks of this Albarregas River. The book also includes the artificial Cornalvo Lake that functioned as a reservoir for Emerita Augusta’s citizens.
Emperor Trajan ruled the Roman Empire from 98 A.D. to 117 A.D..
He was born in Hispania nearby what is now Sevilla, Spain. He was regarded as a builder in cities throughout his empire and a ruler. Apollodorus of Damascus, his architect and scientist, is credited with urban masterpieces such as the Alcántara Bridge at Spain along with Trajan’s Bridge in Serbia. Trajan’s Arch at Mérida, although small in comparison with Mérida’s other Roman constructions, formerly stretched across the city’s most important road – that the Cardo Maximus, or main street. Emperor Trajan’s reign is represented by this simplistic arch. It is situated close to the historical heart of Mérida and is about 48 ft (15 meters) tall.
This well-preserved Aqueduct of Saint Lazarus Is Situated next to the Roman Circus and named after the Christian Saint Lazarus who rose from the Deceased at the Control of Jesus Christ.
This aqueduct is one of the first three that supplied water. What remains are 3 columns and two arches connected by ashars (rectangular cubes ) of thick granite. So little of their original structure remains, however what is left still impresses.
Spain is regarded as a country full of men and women. Mérida sailors like talking, drinking and hanging out particularly after the sun goes down. Nightlife at Mérida translates into then shifting gears going to a casual haunt in or about Plaza de España and heading to another place. Mérida nightlife can be summarized in 3 C’s: java, cañas (beer), and copas. There are a number of pubs, bars, and nightclubs to choose from, all of which can be walking distance from the historical center. Rarely do people have a set plan for the night, often preferring to”go with the flow” in your foot.
Where you can take care of a long day of sightseeing, bars in Mérida offer a relaxing setting. You were likely to rub elbows with locals in the bars of Mérida, but there has been a significant rise in people visiting each year, as word of the Roman paintings of this city has spread globally. No matter where you may be carried by the night breeze hospitality expects.
Zafra and Jerez de los Caballeros
If you appreciate Roman history and culture just as much as I do, then you are going to enjoy seeing this city. There is an advantage to its size; you can observe a whole lot of sites concentrated in and about one area. Out of all of the Roman ruins that I visited while at Mérida, my favourite was that the Roman Theater.
I didn’t expect it to be that massive or well preserved. Because I always have chosen roaming outside than drifting indoors, the National Museum of Roman Art was a surprising joy for me. This National Museum of Roman Art contained displays of coins, maps, and pillars- all of which can be intact. The exhibits provide additional testament. Is El Yantar. Try hams and their regular regional cheeses. This area will give you the opportunity to experience what the local produce tastes like and how the people are in little towns like this one. I have seen a number of Roman ruins throughout Europe, however, Mérida blew my mind just due to the sheer amount of them.
Everybody should give the time to this city that is little despite its mention in hot guidebooks. Make your plan- it is all right in case you get lost somewhere along the road since you might find something amazing.
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