Sightseeing in Merida
The Templo de Diana, on the corner of C/ Sagasta and Sta. Catalina, dates to the first century AD and is Mérida’s only surviving Roman worship site. It is made even more spectacular by the Renaissance-era Conde de los Corbos Palace that was carefully constructed within its Corinthian pillars.
On Avenida de Extremadura, Iglesia de Santa Eulalia is a Christian church first built in the fifth century AD during the reign of Constantine to honor Mérida’s patron Saint Eulalia. She was martyred during the Roman era and is believed to have been buried at the sight along with a number of other archbishops. Underneath the church, which was rebuilt in Romanesque style in the 13th century, a veritable architectural treasure trove has been discovered – the original chapel honoring the early Christian martyrs, paleo-Christian stone sarcophagi and, still deeper, an ancient Roman palace. The museum displays works from each of these cultures and the depths can be explored along a series of walkways that have been constructed.
Spain’s only surviving hippodrome, the Circo Romano, once had a capacity for 30,000 spectators. Chariot races were held here and, once it had been flooded, mock naval battles. It’s in the southwestern part of the city next to the N-630/N-V, also known as the Avenida de La Princesa Sofía.
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