sâmbătă, 22 octombrie 2011

Merida, Extremadura, Spain, Day #1

At this time of the year, every year, we take a short holiday abroad. We celebrate our marriage on 24th of October and we honour it with a short trip. We are lucky indeed to have my mother-in-law staying home with the kids and to not have to worry about them.

Two months ago, I bought the plane tickets for Madrid, with a plan in my mind: to rent a car and have a trip to Porto, in Portugal. One month ago, we started to read a beautiful guide named "Back roads in Spain", and after that we decided to celebrate in Extremadura, one of the Spanish provinces. We set our headquarters in Merida, an Unesco Heritage Site, city founded in year 25 B.C., one of the most important from the Roman Empire. 

At this time of the year, the city is quiet and is easy to reach all those beautiful places we wanted to see. For me, the most beautiful is the Roman Amphitheater, surprisingly well preserved, and fulfilling the same function for it was build. The Classical Theater Festival is held annually in July and August; the stage and seats are the ruins themselves.

The Theater is side by side with the Roman Amphitheater, and it was used for staging gladiator combats and fights between animals or between animals and men, which, together with circus performances, were the entertainment form preferred by the public. On the evidence of the inscriptions found inside, the building was inaugurated in the year 8 B.C.

Just in front of the theater we found a small tourist train, so we hopped in to have some fun and see the attractions located without a walking distance. One of the most spectacular views we found to be Los Milagros Aqueduct, which supplied water to the city from a reservoir: a long series of arches, 830 meters long with a maximum height of 25 meters, crossing the depression of the Albarregas River. Its slender arches were made of granite combined with bricks, giving the structure an original coloring.

From the little train we saw the main attractions, so we knew what we wanted to see closer. The Church of Santa Eulalia is a very important site of the city, due to its age and history. In the beginning there were roman houses, from the beginning of our era, until the 3rd century. Later, the residential area became a necropolis. Then, in the 5 century, the basilica was build and dedicated to the martyr Eulalia. The actual church was rebuilt in 1230, giving rise to the existing church.

The last point of our yesterday tour was the ancient Roman bridge over the River Guardiana, its construction was linked with the start of the Augusta Emerita (the first name of Merida) colony. Due to its vital importance the bridge was restored many times in history, but it kept many of its original features. The bridge is 792 meters long, with a height of 12 meters above the average water level. It was used (incredible!) until 1993, when it became an exclusively pedestrian area.

While I was sitting in front of an ice-cream, Bogdan went down to the river to take some more pictures. Imagine his surprise to find a goat heard on the other side of the bridge, together with their Romanian :) shepperd.

Bye-bye for now, a new beautiful day is expecting us!

Un comentariu:

Rural Revival spunea...

Wonderful photos of a beautiful country. My favourite of course! Looking forward to seeing more but you must make it to Porto some day too! : )

Happy Anniversary!