Merida: Where History and Modern-Day Meet

History Meets Modern-Day in Merida:

Founded in 25 B.C. Merida is home to some of the most significant Roman archaeological remains in the Mediterranean region.  Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, the Archaeological Ensemble of Merida is maintained in remarkably good condition, taking visitors back to the provincial Roman empire.

Walking through the streets of Merida visitors will find ancient ruins and modern structures existing side by side.  Many of the sites still maintain their original function, or have been re-purposed for modern day use.  Here you will find an open-air Roman Amphitheater, interesting boutiques, delicious tapas, modern conference centers and an ancient Roman bridge next to a modern-day suspension bridge designed by the architectural firm of Santiago Calatrava.

The Roman Theater and Amphitheater:
One of the main attractions in Merida is the Roman Amphitheater.  With a capacity to seat up to 16,000 spectators, the Amphitheater was the site of gladiator contests and battle reenactments.  Today, visitors can walk through many of the same interior rooms, corridors and spectator stands used by ancient Romans and Gladiators.


Connected by an adjoining road is the Roman Theater.  One of the best-preserved structures, and the only one in Europe that continues to host theatrical productions.

Each year in July and August visitors from across the world arrive to enjoy the Classical Theater Festival which is held in the Theater that now hold up to 3,000 guests.

National Museums of Roman Art:
Located across the street from the theater is the National Museum of Roman Art. Designed in 1986 by famed architect Rafael Moneo the museum halls a galleries house paintings, sculptures and mosaics from the Roman era.   In the lower level of the museum visitors can see the remains of several Roman houses and archaeological excavations that continue at the Museum.

Los Milagros Roman Aqueduct:
Known as Los Milagros (Miracle), these massive aqueducts were used to supply water to the city.  Eight hundred meters of the original aqueduct remain preserved today.

Puente Lusitania Bridge:
Built in 1991 the Puente Lusitania Bridge was designed to protect the Puente Romano, a Roman Bridge dating back 2,000 years, which previously served as the main entrance to Merida.  Designed by the architectural firm of Santiago Calatrava, and reaching a height of 112 feet, the bridge can be crossed on foot or by car and connects the modern metropolis to the historic city center.

Palacio de Congresos:
The Palacio de Congresos is a modern structure that was designed to maintain the look and feel of the ancient Roman walls of Merida.  Part of the Guadiana River bank environment, the Merida Conference and Exhibition Centre overlooks both the River and the City.  Meeting space includes an auditorium that can seat up to 1,000 people, a terrace and several smaller meeting rooms to meet the needs of your meeting or event.

To plan your visit to Merida, and the Extremadura area, visit Extremadura Turismo or the Tourist Office of Spain.


Beth Becker has more than 20 years’ experience in the travel/hospitality and meetings industry.  Beth's career has focused on high visibility enterprise-wide training programs, meetings and virtual events.  Active in the Meeting community, Beth currently serves as a Moderator for MeCo and a Global Correspondent and Talent Bench member for i-Meet, the online business community for people who plan meetings and events.  You can connect with Beth via Linkedin.


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