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Archive for roman theatre of merida

The Seven Chairs

By Linda Tancs

The Roman colony of Emerita Augusta (now known as Mérida in Spain) was founded in 25 B.C. by the emperor Augustus to resettle emeritus soldiers discharged from the Roman army. Like any great city of its day, it needed a theatre, which was erected between 16 and 15 B.C. and is known today as the Roman Theatre of Mérida. Hosting 6,000 people, they were distributed from top to bottom according to their social status. By the 1800s, the ruins were called the Seven Chairs by the locals because only the upper tiers of seats were still visible above the sediment. Excavations and renovations have resulted in a venue prized for its artistic events. The Classical Theatre Festival, held every year since 1933, is the site’s most notable cultural event.

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