Alcazaba of Mérida

Mérida, Spain

The Alcazaba of Mérida is a ninth-century Muslim fortification in Mérida, Spain. Like other historical edifices in the city, it is part of the UNESCO Heritage List.

Located near the Roman bridge over the Guadiana river, the Puente Romano, it was built by emir Abd ar-Rahman II of Córdoba in 835 to command the city, which had rebelled in 805. It was the first Muslim alcazaba (a type of fortification in the Iberian peninsula), and includes a big squared line of walls, every side measuring 130 metres in length, 10 m of height and 2.7 m thickness, built re-using Roman walls and Roman-Visigothic edifices in granite. The walls include 25 towers with quadrangular base, which also served as counterforts. Inside is an aljibe, a rainwater tank including a cistern to collect and filter water from the river.

The Alcazaba is accessed from the Puente Romano through a small enclosure, traditionally known Alcarazejo. This was used to check the traffic of pedestrians and goods to the city. Annexed is the military area, whose gate is flanked by two towers; over the horseshoe-shaped arc is an inscription celebrating Abd ar-Rahman's patronage of the work.

The fortress has yielded other excavated areas containing remnants predating its construction. These include a well-preserved segment of a Roman road, which also extends to the Morerías Archaeological Area, and an urban Roman dwelling that has undergone multiple renovations and faces the same street. Additionally, a portion of the Roman wall is visible, adjacent to a powerful buttress constructed using recycled granite fragments. Similar to the Morerías Archaeological Area, this buttress is believed to date back to the fifth century AD.

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Founded: 835 AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Huw Thomas (12 months ago)
Only worth visiting if you’re wandering around and have the multi venue ticket. It doesn’t hold a candle to the alcazaba in Seville. There’s no comparison. If you’ve seen the Amphitheater in Merida this will be a major disappointment
Jorge Coelho (13 months ago)
Out of all the monuments in Mérida, this was the one that surprised me the most, as I had no expectation, but going here at the end of day, when the sun is setting, is a really cool experience. It has a very scenic view and it's a nice place to relax for a while.
Ryan B (13 months ago)
Good views of the bridge. Was quite hot when we went and we were tired from a long day of touring around, so it was difficult to fully enjoy. Would recommend trying in the morning to avoid the heat.
Matthew Taylor (13 months ago)
Very interesting history, nice place to spend an hour or so.
Brisippus (3 years ago)
Without a doubt the most interesting part of this place is the underground water source with clear blue-green water and a school of fish. The rest of the structure is also of note and some of it is well preserved, but my next favorite aspect of it was the view of the Roman bridge from its walls. The history is wonderful and it’s worth a visit, but wasn’t our favorite ruins in the city. Definitely go for the Completo/Conjunto pass, it’s €16 each but the teatro & anfiteatro alone are €12, so it makes sense.
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