Founded in 25 B.C., Mérida has rightly earned its title as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (1993). It boasts an ensemble of Roman sites. The city’s name evolved from its original one of Emerita Augusta, which means Army of Augustus. Mérida, also referred to as “mini Rome,” was designated by the Emperor for Roman legionnaires and their families.
Mérida eventually evolved into the capital of Lusitania (Iberian Peninsula), which was arguably the most important province in the western empire and included the area of modern-day Portugal. Today Mérida is home to ancient Roman monuments and the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, western central Spain.