The Roman Theatre in Mérida is one of the city’s most iconic historic and cultural sights. It was built in the years 15 and 16 B.C. on the command of the Roman statesman Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.
It is located on Plaza Margarita Xirgu and, as well as being open to the public for visits, it has been the venue for the International Festival of Classical Theatre since 1933, the year that it was also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Given its age, it has of course been subjected to numerous restorations over the years. After the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity, the theatre was abandoned. In the early 20th century, archaeologists began to excavate the whole structure, because prior to that the only part that was visible was the top row of seating, which locals called ‘the seven chairs’. By 2007 the Roman Theatre of Mérida numbered among the so-called twelve treasures of Spain.
Located on Plaza Margarita Xirgu, the theatre also has a garden behind the stage area. This was once a peristyle and has a small Roman temple as well as the garden.
The complex as a whole is known as the Mérida Archaeological Site and is one of the most popular places to visit in the city as a whole, together with the city wall. To get to the archaeological site’s main entrance, you can either take Calle José R. Mélida or Calle Suárez Somonte. The main entrance is between the Mérida Tourism Office and the National Museum of Roman Art.
If you decide to get there by car, it’s a good idea to leave it in our Saba car park next to Mérida Train Station on Calle Carderos, near the Roman Theatre.