Apr 26 – As our whirlwind tour of Mérida continued, we walked to the edge of town to see the Aqueductos Milagros – ancient Roman aqueducts that are considered miraculous because they are still standing after more than 2000 years. These are one of the original four aqueducts that supplied fresh water to the city.
We were happy to see our friends the storks nesting on top of the aqueduct.
Next we swung by another church, but that one wasn’t open either. It did have an odd statue out front though:
I thought maybe it represented a pilgrim with sore feet, but the plaque said, “To those who make possible the Semana Santa (Holy Week) of Mérida”. I guess they hoist a lot of floats and parade around in this town too.
Now here’s an interesting story. In the 1400s, a knight of the Order of Santiago decided to build his palace on the site of the ancient Roman Temple of Diana. Rather than knock down the temple and use the bricks, which was a very popular construction technique, he incorporated the temple into his design, using it as the front porch!
In 1972, the city fathers were going to knock down the palace and restore the temple, but cooler heads prevailed and they decided to leave it as-is, as the temple would have fallen long ago if not for the upkeep by the owners of the palace. So, a win-win all around!
Finally, we visited Casa del Mitreo, a typical Roman villa that is currently being excavated and restored by archeologists.
Another tile floor, this one showing either the Roman gods or the zodiac – not sure…
And then it was time for lunch! We really enjoyed all that Mérida had to offer. Tomorrow, we’re back on the road!
A Piedad statue at the roundabout and view of our home in Mérida – the Hotel Zeus.