The Architecture of Merida in Spain The Roman Empire eventually consisted of more than 300 and 50 cities each having a population that exceeded 5,000. The political and cultural center of Hispania was Merida established by the Romans in 25 A.D. Today, Merida has some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Spain, dramatic examples of life on the Alberian Peninsula 2000 years ago. The Romans had a remarkable understanding of civil life and the architecture it acquired. The 59 is quarried from the local hills and developed a form of concrete made form ash and lime which is still in use to this day. They brought a host of architecture innovations with them, not the least of which was the arch, a self-supporting element that has found its way into constructions of many kinds of scenes. With an advanced culture came an understanding of and in need for entertainment. And arenas like this one which was designed to stage battles as men fought with each other and wild beasts and brutal spectacles of mortal combat. In Roman times, the depression area in the center would have been covered with wooden planks and sand forming the floor to the arena. Beneath the floor, were caged animals and equipment used to stage the spectacles. The arena was connected by underground passages to the theater next door making the entire area one large entertainment complex, a concept still used today. Even today, after 2000 years of decay the sound quality in the theatre is spectacular. The alternating shapes of the foot of the stage were designed to project sound into the audience and the farthest areas of seating. The Roman Theater in Merida was constructed around 15 A.D. and designed to seat about 6,000 people. By the late 400’s, the theater was no longer in use and its stones would be used in other constructions. It wasn’t until about 100 years ago that the excavation of the remains begun. Until then, only the upper portions of the seating area were above the ground. A vast network of Roman Roads carried progress and knowledge across the Alberian peninsula. Their infrastructure depended on official administration of conquered territories. These first roads were a remarkable in there advanced design, a straight solid surface and 346 for drainage, predecessors of today’s modern highways. Using arches to support these roads over water, the bridges they constructed was so sturdy that they are still in use today. It wasn’t until 1993 that the old Roman Bridge into Merida was decommissioned as the main entrance into town for vehicle traffic.



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