• Registration Year

    1993

  • Registered Sector

    Archaeological ensemble de Mérida

  • Historical Function

    Economy and politics

  • Administrative Status

    Capital of the Autonomous Community of Extremadura

Location and site

In the historic Estremadura region and at the crossroads of major Roman roads, Merida is situated in the southwest of the Meseta and on the edge of the Guadiana River.

Urban Morphology

The very ordered urban design of Augusta Emerita is based on Roman standards. The bridge that crossed the Guadiana River, one of the longest bridges ever built by the Romans (792 m.), constituted a key element in the ancient route linking Salamanca to Seville. Traces of the very elaborate system of waterways that was constructed by the Romans can be found within the landscape today. It was on the site of the Roman city that the modern city of Merida developed.

Only the historic monuments are protected. These include the bridge, the amphitheatre, the theatre, temples, the circus, the Arch of Trajan and other monuments built by the Romans, as well as monuments of the Visigoths and the Moors, all of which are particularly well conserved and testify to Merida's historic significance.

Registration Criteria

The monuments of Merida constitute a remarkable example of public buildings in a Roman provincial capital at the time of the Empire and in the years that followed. (III) and (IV)

Historical Reference

  • The ancient Augusta Emerita was founded by Augustus shortly after the establishment in Rome of the imperial government in 27 B.C. It became the prosperous capital of the Roman province of Lusitania and one of the landmarks of the Conquest in the Iberian peninsula.
  • In the 1st century B.C., Agrippa constructed major monuments on the site. During the 2nd century, under Emperors Trajan and Hadrian, both of whom were descendants of the Roman bourgeoisie in Spain, important public buildings were erected.
  • At the end of the 3rd century, the administrative, fiscal and economic reforms of Diocletian increased Merida's prosperity. The Vicarius seat of the Hispanic diocese and the seat of Arch-Bishop were established there.
  • The city continued to grow when it became the capital of the Swabiens, then of the Visigoths, in the 5th century.
  • Conquered by the Moors in 713, Merida resisted Arab domination. In order to protect the Guadiana Bridge Adb-al-Rahman II, the Caliph of Córdoba, razed the walls and in 834 erected a fortress, the Alcazaba, at the entrance of the city. Merida began to decline.
  • The arrival of the Catholic kings led to a brief revival at the end of the 15th century. Portuguese and Catalanian revolts followed in the 17th century, and the Succession War and the war of the peninsula, both in the 18th century, contributed to Merida's further decline.
Sr. Don Antonio Rodríguez Osuna
Alcalde de Mérida
Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Mérida
Plaza de España, 1
06800 Mérida, Badajoz, España
Tel:
+34.924 38.01.17
Fax:
+34.924 38.01.87
Email:
alcaldia@merida.es