The Roman Theatre of Merida, UNESCO world heritage in Spain


Teatro Romano

Top choice in Mérida

Mérida's most spectacular Roman monument, and the only one to once again fulfil its original function – by hosting performances during the Festival Internacional de Teatro Clásico in summer – the Teatro Romano is the city's indisputable highlight. It was built around 15 BCE to seat 6000 spectators. The adjoining (slightly less-dazzling) Anfiteatro opened in 8 BCE for gladiatorial contests and held 14,000; the gladiator-versus-lion fresco in the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano was taken from here.

The centrepiece of the theatre is the dramatic and well-preserved two-tier stage building of Corinthian columns; the stage's facade (scaenae frons) was inaugurated in CE 105. Statues of gods frame its central entryway, with the right-hand figure being interpreted as both the Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis and Pluto, and the left-hand one considered to be either a muse or Proserpina.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mérida attractions

1. Anfiteatro

0.06 MILES

Attached to the grand Teatro Romano, the (slightly less dazzling) Anfiteatro opened in 8 BCE for gladiatorial contests and held 14,000; the gladiator…

2. Museo Nacional de Arte Romano

0.12 MILES

Even if you visit only a handful of Mérida's sights, make sure one of them is this fabulous museum, which has a superb three-floor collection of statues,…

3. Casa del Anfiteatro

0.14 MILES

Outside the main gate to the Roman theatre, the Casa del Anfiteatro, a 3rd-century mansion, has some reasonable floor mosaics but was closed for…

4. Los Columbarios

0.17 MILES

This garden-fringed Roman funeral site contains two well-preserved 4th-century crypts and is decently documented (in Spanish) and illustrated. A footpath…

5. Pórtico del Foro

0.26 MILES

The restored 1st-century Pórtico del Foro, the municipal forum's portico, is 100m northeast up Calle de Sagasta from the Templo de Diana.

6. Templo de Diana

0.32 MILES

The soaring columns here are one of Mérida's most dramatic, incongruous sights, surrounded as they are by the buildings of a modern Spanish city…

7. Casa del Mitreo

0.33 MILES

Beside Mérida's Plaza de Toros, the Casa del Mitreo is a late-1st- or 2nd-century Roman house with a well-preserved fresco and several intricate mosaics…

8. Cripta de Santa Eulalia

0.39 MILES

This basilica was built in the 5th century in honour of Mérida's pat­ron saint, who is said to have been martyred in the 4th century. It was then…