31.05 – 2.06. Merida, Extremadura, amazing city of Romans
From our friend the estate agent in Matalascanas, where we spent the afternoon and who now stores my bicycle and suitcase full of light summer clothing we went straight to Mérida. Mérida is the capital of western Spain’s Extremadura region. We did not plan on staying but on seeing the amazing aqueduct we decided to explore the city a bit more.
Merida was founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. You can still admire the remains of the ancient city which includes the still-used Teatro Romano, which has a double tier of columns rising onstage and the ancient Puente Romano, a 792m bridge spanning the Río Guadiana. This adjoins the Alcazaba, a 9th-century Islamic fortress built over Roman walls (see above).
Above you can see photos of the Roman Amphitheatre and the Theatre, where a summer festival of classical theatre is presented, usually with versions of Greco-Roman classics or modern plays set in ancient times. The Roman Amphiteatre was used for Gladiator fights as the figures of different styles of weapons depict.
The Acueducto de los Milágros, (whose name means aqueduct of miracles), is the second most complete in all of Spain, after that in Segovia. It stands in a pleasant park, straddling a small canal connected to Mérida’s river. On top of the arches storks can be seen rearing their young.
It was a very hot day and we were delighted when, sitting in a café, suddenly under the awning sprinklers started to diffuse to a fine mist of cooling water over us. What a refreshing delight, we had never experienced this before. Of course this invites you to have another beverage, and another just to sit there and be cooled.