Mérida is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, western central Spain. It has a population of 57,127 (2010). The Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993. It was founded in the year 25 BC, with the name of Emerita Augusta by order of Emperor Augustus, to protect a pass and a bridge over the Guadiana river. The city became the capital of Lusitania province, and one of the most important cities in the Roman empire. Mérida preserves more important ancient Roman monuments than any other city in Spain.
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