Merida

 

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Merida

 

If there was ever a case put forward for the usefulness of guidebooks then our visit to Merida was ample evidence. I have always had a sneaky admiration for the Roman Empire, or at least its architectural vestiges, rather than its brutality and was delighted to come across Merida in the guide book. There was the added plus that it was only a short hop from Caceres.

 

It claimed to have the finest example of a Roman theatre to be found anywhere and there is absolutely no debate around this point, it is absolutely stunning. What the guidebook did not mention was hand in hand, next door, was a superb amphitheatre.

 

Add in a Roman circus, the odd aqueduct, villa and temple and you have some of the finest Roman remains in Europe, dating back to the year 25BC.We also must not forget the Roman bridge,Puenta de Guadiana and for good measure there was an Alcazaba dating back to AD 835, one of Spain's oldest Moorish buildings. What was even more impressive is that we virtually had the run of these places to ourselves and we had a most enjoyable day wandering around these sites.

The entrance to the ampitheatre

The amphitheatre is impressive but the theatre next door is mind blowing - it is still used today

The theatre.

 

Nearby are the remains of a Roman House, the Casa del Anfiteatro, with underground galleries & large areas of preserved mosaics.

 

Other sites near the bullring are the Casa Romana del Mitreo and the Columbarios or funeral site

We stayed at the Merida Campsite which was about 2 miles outside of the town on an easily cyclable route; there is no public transport. We found throughout our trip to Spain that Spanish drivers are very considerate to cyclists and leave them with plenty of room.

The campsite itself was OK, the pitches were large and shade was available but it did lack that edge and you did question whether the cleaner was on holiday but it served a purpose. You would not plan to stay any longer.

 

Tip Buy a ticket at the Roman Circus to all the main sites. At 12 euros each It is excellent value for money. This is a massive area and is the one site where you have to use more of your imagination. It is the first site you came to as you cycled into town, with the Aqueduct de San Lazaro on your right.

 

 

The Temple of Diana - it seems everywhere you walk in the town, you come across Roman artefacts.

 

Walk down to the river to the Roman Bridge over the Rio Guadiana and to the Alcazaba, dating back to AD 835 and though the interior is somewhat barren, the walls overlooking the river are impressive.

 

 

The interior of the Alcazabar

Puenta de Guadiana - Roman Bridge

The Alcazaba

The Temple of Diana

The Aqueduct

 

We stayed at the Merida Campsite which was about 2 miles outside of the town on an easily cyclable route; there is no public transport. We found throughout our trip to Spain that Spanish drivers are very considerate to cyclists and leave them with plenty of room.

The campsite itself was OK, the pitches were large and shade was available but it did lack that edge and you did question whether the cleaner was on holiday but it served a purpose. You would not plan to stay any longer.

 

Tip Buy a ticket at the Roman Circus to all the main sites. It is excellent value for money. This is a massive area and is the one site where you have to use more of your imagination. It is the first site you came to as you cycled into town, with the aqueduct on your right.