The town of Mérida is famous throughout the region of Extremadura due to its antique Roman Theater as well as to several other antique constructions and spots. This Roman Theater was built between the XVI and XV BC, being one of the oldest constructions tourists could find not only in this area but in the entire country as well.
This Extremadura town was originally founded with the name of Emerita Augusta, which would derivate into the actual name of Mérida. The founder of Emerita Augusta was the Emperor Augustus, who created this town with the min purpose of protecting a strategically located bridge. Some time after its foundation, this town was recognized as capital of the region that was known as the Iberian peninsula during that époque.
The Theater of Mérida consists on a theater and an amphitheater placed one next to the other. Each one of them would be very popular through the pass of time and one of the main places were the town’s population would gather and enjoy of different plays and activities of different nature. Originally, the theater was built in such a way that it could receive about 6000 spectators and the amphitheater would receive as many as 15000.
The Theater and Amphitheater of Mérida has been iconic for the town’s culture since its creation. This Theater has been the base of several traditions and cultural elements which would pass from one generation to another, letting marks which can be sill noticed to the date in the local customs.
The Amphitheater, also called The Arena, was mostly used as a Gladiators structure. This way, this Amphitheater shows several different corridors with their respective entrances through which the gladiators would reach the central structure or stage. Many times, these gladiators were prisoners or servants, although some times they were professional fighters who were paid for this activity.
The central spot of Mérida’s Amphitheater shows a cross shaped lower area where sometimes animals would fight instead of human beings. Later, this place would be used for other popular events, but always maintaining the original cross shaped structure which can be still seen nowadays.