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Merida is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, located in the western central part of Spain. Merida was founded in the year 25 BC, with the name of Emerita Augusta by order of Emperor Augustus, to protect a pass and a bridge over the Guadiana river. The city became the capital of Lusitania province, and one of the most important cities in the Roman empire. Merida preserves more important ancient Roman vestiges than any other city in Spain.
Top Attractions Within Merida
Puente Romano is a Roman bridge over the Guadiana River at Merida. It is the longest surviving bridge from ancient times, having once featured an estimated overall length of 755 m with 62 spans. Annexed to the bridge is the Alcazaba of Merida, a beautiful Moorish fortification built in 835. Close to the remains of the Los Milagros aqueduct bridge, there is another bridge at Merida, the much smaller Puente de Albarregas.
Cathedral of Saint Mary Major of Merida is a beautiful church located in downtown Merida. The cathedral includes three decorated doors. Above it rises the bell tower, with a square base and in which there is a 16th century music box with 10 bells and a clock of incalculable historic and artistic value.
Roman Theater was built in Merida by the Roman consul Marcus Vespasiano Agripa in 15 VC. The theater built to give good acoustics for the public and it was built on the hill of San Albin, whose inclination favors the good acoustics. When the Christians came into power, the theater was abandoned because they thought that it was immoral.
National Museum of Roman Arts is a beautiful museum in Merida. The museum is a stunning display of authentic Roman artefacts, located in a huge cathedral-like building. The exhibits are well presented with English explanations of the history of the Roman period of Merida which was very important as the capital of Lusitania.