For about 600 years, the area we now know as Spain was known as Hispania, a proud region of the Roman Empire made up of the provinces of Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. While the Emperors and Gladiators are long gone, spectacular cities like Cádiz and Mérida are still home to numerous monuments and ruins that recall this glorious, bygone age.
Take a trip into the past during your upcoming holiday in Spain and rediscover the area’s illustrious past by way of the spectacular Paradores’ luxury and historic hotels in these areas, a perfect way to connect with history in utmost style.
An Imperial Age
Spain flourished during the six centuries it spent under Roman rule, with roads built to unite the country with the Empire and emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius were born and raised in these wealthy western provinces.
The Spanish city with the greatest number of surviving Roman ruins is Mérida. Its modern name is a corruption of its Roman denomination Augusta Emerita. Once one of the Empire’s most important cities, Mérida still conserves wonders including the mighty Puente Romano – or Roman Bridge, the longest of all those that are still standing, the Teatro Romano, the beautiful Roman Theatre that hosts the city’s Classical Theatre Festival each summer, and the remains of the Circus Maximus, where dramatic races where once held.
You can take it all in from Parador Mérida, a wonder in itself. Located within a former 18th century convent, the Parador stands atop the ruins of an ancient temple and houses the Jardín de Antigüedades, an eclectic collection of archaeological specimens dating back to the Roman, Visigothic and Islamic periods of the city’s history.
The other eternal city
Another option is to head south to Cádiz, believed to be Western Europe’s oldest, continuously occupied city. Use the Parador – a gleaming, ultramodern glass and steel building overlooking the bay – as your base to discover this charming city’s Roman past.
Cádiz played a major role in the Punic Wars, serving as Hannibal’s base for the conquest of Iberia, but its later relationship with Rome was so good that Julius Caesar himself bestowed citizenship upon all of its inhabitants in 49 BC. Today you can rediscover that ancient past at the Museum of Cádiz, which hosts an exceptional collection retracing the illustrious past.
Ready to reconnect with Roman Spain? Contact Paradores Mérida and Cádiz to arrange your visit today!