The land where Mérida stands has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but it is the Romans who have made the most lasting impact. In 25 B.C. it was known as Emerita Augusta and together with Astorga (Asturica Augusta) it formed the original Vía de la Plata, an important route used to transport gold from the northern mines to the capital.
To see most of what Mérida has to offer, you’ll need to step off the camino after it crosses the Puente Romano. Immediately after the bridge, looming large on your right, is the Alcazaba, a 9th century Islamic fort (paid). Continue up the Calle Cava to the far end of the Alcazaba and turn left when you see the Burger King, across the plaza is the unassuming DCo-Catedral Metropolitana de Santa María la Mayor. Return to the BK and once past it turn left up Calle Romero Leal which you can follow to the Templo de Diana (free). The portico from the Templo is 100m further up the road at the FPórtico del Foro Municipal.
Keep on this road until it meets Calle José Mélida and then turn right towards the spectacular Teatro Romano and Amphitheater. These two structures bring history to life, the theater is still in use during the summers, but gladiators are no longer in fashion so the Amphitheater gets less use. (paid).
Directly opposite the entrance to the Teatro is the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, which would be worth walking through even if it didn’t have such a fine collection.
The Acueducto de Los Milagros is the last major site, located on the camino as it leaves the city.
The camino does not make any real entrance into the oldest parts of Mérida and with the exception of the Alcazaba (the castle at the end of the bridge) and the Acueducto de Los Milagros it avoids passing any of the most significant buildings in the city.
From the shadow of the aqueduct, the camino proceeds northward to a set of roundabouts. At the first roundabout it bears left, and at the second roundabout, it does the same to follow along with the Avenida del Lago to Proserpina.