E.J.Wilkins

13 Sep 2010 596 views
 
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photoblog image Mérida, Spain

Mérida, Spain

National Museum of Roman Art

Mérida is an astonishing place to visit, not least because so much of the town is made of marble. The main reason people visit is because it contains 29 World Heritage sites listed in 1993 as the "Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida"

 

The description from the UNESCO site says:-

 

The colony of Augusta Emerita, which became present-day Mérida in Estremadura, was founded in 25 B.C. at the end of the Spanish Campaign and was the capital of Lusitania. The well-preserved remains of the old city include, in particular, a large bridge over the Guadiana, an amphitheatre, a theatre, a vast circus and an exceptional water-supply system. It is an excellent example of a provincial Roman capital during the empire and in the years afterwards.

 

The Museum is included in this list, and is home to a wealth of delights. It's a huge place with displays on three floors, and is welcomingly cool on a hot day (around 40C when we were there). We allowed ourselves just over two hours, it was only enough time to just walk around and gawp in amazement and take a few pictures, but nowhere near long enough to really take it all in or to try to retrace our steps to take a second, longer, look at any of the wondeful items on display.

 

The design seems to mirror Roman construction methods, to my eyes the arches are similar to those of both the amphitheatre and the theatre (pictures another day). The ceilings are high because there are several massive mosaics fastened to the walls - and they need that much space.

 

I managed to find this description of the Museum, and learned that it had won a prize

 

Mé­rida be­came the most im­portant city in Spain at the end of the Roman Em­pire. Ar­chae­lo­gi­cal ex­ca­va­tions have re­co­vered nu­merous ar­ti­facts and mo­nu­ments in­clu­ding a Thea­ter and Arena. Not far from these, over a por­tion of the bu­ried Roman town, is the site of the Mu­seum. The first in­ten­tion of the project was to build a mu­seum which would offer the people of Mé­rida an op­por­tu­nity to un­der­stand the pre­sence of the Roman Town. The use of a mas­sive ma­sonry be­a­ring wall al­lows the ma­te­ria­lity of the Roman brick wall to be­come the most im­portant ar­chi­tec­tu­ral fea­ture of the Mu­seum. A sys­tem of par­al­lel walls is hol­lo­wed out by means of a large arch, for­ming a vir­tual per­spec­tive, a nave that is the main space for the dis­play of the Roman ob­jects. The trans­lu­cent white marble of the re­lics may be seen in a dialec­tical in­ter­play with the ma­te­rial pre­sence of the brick walls. Na­tu­ral light, a cri­ti­cal preoc­cupa­tion in the Museum's de­sign, en­ters through sky­lights mar­king the rhythm of the walls while win­dows high up in the outs­ide walls admit an in­di­rect light which cla­ri­fies and ex­plains the wish of en­clo­sure which is al­ways present in the ar­chi­tec­ture of a mu­seum.

 

Awards:

Ma­nuel de la De­hesa Prize 1994

Most si­gni­fi­cant pu­blic buil­ding in Spain 1983-1993. Awar­ded by the Mi­nis­try of Pu­blic Works and the Cun­cil of Ar­chi­tec­tu­ral As­so­cia­ti­ons of Spain

 

The plaques and statues on the end wall are the original sculptures from what's referred to as the "Temple of Diana", now kept indoors for safety/posterity.

 

If you'd like to know more about this amazing Museum and some of its' priceless and awe-inspiring exhibits please take a look the text accompanying other pictures I've uploaded, they can be found - here -.

.

Mérida, Spain

National Museum of Roman Art

Mérida is an astonishing place to visit, not least because so much of the town is made of marble. The main reason people visit is because it contains 29 World Heritage sites listed in 1993 as the "Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida"

 

The description from the UNESCO site says:-

 

The colony of Augusta Emerita, which became present-day Mérida in Estremadura, was founded in 25 B.C. at the end of the Spanish Campaign and was the capital of Lusitania. The well-preserved remains of the old city include, in particular, a large bridge over the Guadiana, an amphitheatre, a theatre, a vast circus and an exceptional water-supply system. It is an excellent example of a provincial Roman capital during the empire and in the years afterwards.

 

The Museum is included in this list, and is home to a wealth of delights. It's a huge place with displays on three floors, and is welcomingly cool on a hot day (around 40C when we were there). We allowed ourselves just over two hours, it was only enough time to just walk around and gawp in amazement and take a few pictures, but nowhere near long enough to really take it all in or to try to retrace our steps to take a second, longer, look at any of the wondeful items on display.

 

The design seems to mirror Roman construction methods, to my eyes the arches are similar to those of both the amphitheatre and the theatre (pictures another day). The ceilings are high because there are several massive mosaics fastened to the walls - and they need that much space.

 

I managed to find this description of the Museum, and learned that it had won a prize

 

Mé­rida be­came the most im­portant city in Spain at the end of the Roman Em­pire. Ar­chae­lo­gi­cal ex­ca­va­tions have re­co­vered nu­merous ar­ti­facts and mo­nu­ments in­clu­ding a Thea­ter and Arena. Not far from these, over a por­tion of the bu­ried Roman town, is the site of the Mu­seum. The first in­ten­tion of the project was to build a mu­seum which would offer the people of Mé­rida an op­por­tu­nity to un­der­stand the pre­sence of the Roman Town. The use of a mas­sive ma­sonry be­a­ring wall al­lows the ma­te­ria­lity of the Roman brick wall to be­come the most im­portant ar­chi­tec­tu­ral fea­ture of the Mu­seum. A sys­tem of par­al­lel walls is hol­lo­wed out by means of a large arch, for­ming a vir­tual per­spec­tive, a nave that is the main space for the dis­play of the Roman ob­jects. The trans­lu­cent white marble of the re­lics may be seen in a dialec­tical in­ter­play with the ma­te­rial pre­sence of the brick walls. Na­tu­ral light, a cri­ti­cal preoc­cupa­tion in the Museum's de­sign, en­ters through sky­lights mar­king the rhythm of the walls while win­dows high up in the outs­ide walls admit an in­di­rect light which cla­ri­fies and ex­plains the wish of en­clo­sure which is al­ways present in the ar­chi­tec­ture of a mu­seum.

 

Awards:

Ma­nuel de la De­hesa Prize 1994

Most si­gni­fi­cant pu­blic buil­ding in Spain 1983-1993. Awar­ded by the Mi­nis­try of Pu­blic Works and the Cun­cil of Ar­chi­tec­tu­ral As­so­cia­ti­ons of Spain

 

The plaques and statues on the end wall are the original sculptures from what's referred to as the "Temple of Diana", now kept indoors for safety/posterity.

 

If you'd like to know more about this amazing Museum and some of its' priceless and awe-inspiring exhibits please take a look the text accompanying other pictures I've uploaded, they can be found - here -.

.

comments (21)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 13 Sep 2010, 02:20
Totally gorgeous space, Ellie.
EJWilkins: It was, but both 'gorgeous' and 'utilitarian' at the same time
  • SAVO
  • United Kingdom
  • 13 Sep 2010, 06:07
Very interesting read. Th Romans were experts at preserving their history.
EJWilkins: They most certainly did, until they abandoned places
  • zed
  • Australia
  • 13 Sep 2010, 06:35
Another place l have to visit, sound marvelous Ellie
EJWilkins: If you do manage to get there you'll need to make sure you give plenty of time to see all the wonders of the town. We had two days, but it wasn't long enough
What and excellent image, Ellie, accompanied, as ever, with such enlightening text. I love the restricted palette in this one (and the tiny splashes of red). It looks like a marvellous place. (:o)
EJWilkins: Absolutely marvellous, a 'must visit' if you ever get the chance
Lovely angle for this one, symmertry works well
EJWilkins: I tried really hard to stand in the centre to ensure it was symmetrical. Glad it worked out
  • Chris
  • England
  • 13 Sep 2010, 08:12
You have captured the scale of this place beautifully Ellie: it sounds like the perfect place to escape those Miditerranean temperatures
EJWilkins: It most certainly was a good escape, but we enjoyed the iced lemon from the street vendor over the road when we went outside!
  • Tracy
  • UK
  • 13 Sep 2010, 08:41
Wow this is one large building, the people give great perspective Ellie.
EJWilkins: It really did need the people to show the scale,
Wow - how big is this building. The people are tiny
EJWilkins: It's a massive building. To the right are two upper floors of exhibitions, sort of suspended between the verticals you can see.
  • vintage
  • Brisbane Australia
  • 13 Sep 2010, 11:14
Excellent photo its huge
EJWilkins: The building itself is awe inspiring, worthy of the contents
Quite an impressive and beautiful place Ellie. Very nicely captured!
EJWilkins: It really was an impressive place Richard
Gorgeous!!! A very beautiful composition!!
EJWilkins: Thank you
Lovely composition Ellie, the people really give scale to the size of this building. smile
EJWilkins: I managed to get another picture without the people, and it didn't really show the scale.
Great composition also, and the building is so high that it makes people look so tiny. I wonder if the guy that build this if he counted how many bricks he put in!! hehehe smile great shot! Ellie
EJWilkins: I'd never thought about an architect knowing exactly how many bricks would be needed, but I bet he did, exactly.
29!!! That's like an overdose of Heritage.
EJWilkins: Almost! And certainly too much to take in in two days!
A wonderful colonade of arches Ellie.
EJWilkins: It is, isn't it.
  • Scotia
  • United Kingdom
  • 13 Sep 2010, 21:46
Great scale here Ellie nicely composed. Amazing place. I must google it smile
EJWilkins: Thanks. smile No desperate need to Google it yourself, because I'll add a load of links with each of the pictures.
The central composition working to great effect here, producing some lovely shapes, colours, textures and great depth, very well done.
EJWilkins: I tried walking from side to side, but the central view seemed to work best on the day. Glad I was right
security is quite intense, great shot here of a magnificent building
EJWilkins: Oh yes, and there are people walking around too. The artefacts are irreplaceable.
impressive interior
EJWilkins: It is John, truly impressive.
  • Ginnie
  • Netherlands
  • 14 Sep 2010, 05:56
The lighting, the immense size, the symmetry, the arches, the beige tones on beige tones...all of it is a masterpiece of art, Ellie. It's beautiful.
EJWilkins: It is beautiful Ginnie, but the best thing about it is that the simple beauty of the building doesn't detract, or distract, from the artefacts on display. It seems to enhance them, almost as if they're 'at home' in their surroundings.
this is lovely - wonderful scale, and light and composition

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