Mérida’s Roman theatre with capacity for 6,000 people



Photo and text: Antonio Colmenar


The Roman theatre is the most representative element of the monumental ensemble of Mérida (Badajoz), one of the best preserved of the entire Roman Empire. It was inaugurated between the years 16-15 BC and the consul Marco Agripa was the promoter of its construction.


During the centuries it was buried, only the top part of the stands made up of seven big blocks, popularly known as the Seven Chairs, was visible. The stands -cavea-, with capacity for 6,000 spectators, were built, in part, using the side of a hill. They are divided into three sectors: imamedia and summa cavea. The orchestra -where the choir was- is surrounded by three honor stands reserved for the authorities.


The most spectacular area of the theatre is the front of the scene, with two groups of marble columns. Between them, a series of sculptures completed the decoration: Ceres, Plutón, Proserpina and statues, some with togas and some with cuirass, which have been interpreted as imperial portraits. At the back, a small room dedicated, according to discoveries -among others the veiled head of Augusto-, to the imperial cult.



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