The most interesting place in Mérida is the enclosure where the Roman Theater and Amphitheater of the capital of Extremadura are located, one next to the other.
Both buildings were founded in the 1st century BC and after several years of entertaining the Lusitanian Romans they fell into oblivion until centuries later they were recovered for the enjoyment of Merida residents and visitors.
As in any place with archaeological remains, if you are not an expert it is easy to get lost and not enjoy the place to the fullest. That is why we recommend this guided tour of the Mérida Theater and Amphitheater.
The Roman Theater of Merida
The Roman Theater of Mérida was built around the year 15 BC
Although its initial appearance underwent various modifications later, especially in the time of Emperor Trajan when the façade that we can see today was erected.
The theater was designed in such a way that the sound is naturally amplified so that everyone could hear the performances perfectly.
With the arrival of Christianity, the building was abandoned and was practically buried.
The Roman Theater of Mérida, with a structure very similar to other Roman theaters of the time, is made up of an 86-meter-high cavea that could hold more than 6,000 people, the orchestra with a marble floor and where the highest authorities were located and the choir, and the stage, the most famous image of the monument with 63 meters long and 17 high, with two heights and where there are numerous statues.
Today, every summer the Mérida Festival is held, the oldest classical theater festival in Spain, since it has been performed since 1933.
The Roman Amphitheater of Mérida
Located next to the Roman Theater but less spectacular than it, we can find the Roman Amphitheater.
This building was inaugurated in the year 8 BC and gladiatorial fights were held there, among themselves or against animals.
These events were more popular than the Theater performances which seemed to be aimed at people with a higher social status.
The amphitheater is elliptical in shape. In the center there was a pit where the animals were located and which was covered with wood or sand. Its grandstand was huge and could hold up to 15,000 spectators.
There was also a special area where the authorities sat. During the visit you will see large galleries that connected all the areas and various rooms used by the gladiators.
You can find more information at the Mérida Monumental City Consortium