Mérida (Extremaduran: Méria) is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain. It has a population of 56,395 (2009). The "Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida" is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.
Mérida is located in the province of Badajoz in the Extremadura region of western central Spain.
Merida has a continental Mediterranean climate with Atlantic influences, due to the proximity of the Portuguese coast. The winters are mild, with minimum rarely below 0 °C (32 °F), and summers are hot with maximum temperatures occasionally exceeding 40 °C (104 °F).
As for precipitation, it normally measures between between 450 and 500 mm annually . The months that record the most rainfall are November and December. Summers are dry, however, and it should be noted that in Merida, as in the rest of southern Spain, cycles of drought are common, ranging in duration from 2 to 5 years.
In autumn the climate is more changeable than in the rest of the year, and storms occur with some frequency, but are often dry.
Both humidity and winds are low. However, frequent occurrence of fog, especially in the central months of autumn and winter.
It was founded in the year 25 BC, with the name of Emerita Augusta (meaning the bachelors – discharged soldiers – of the army of Augustus, who founded the city; the name Mérida is an evolution of this) 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 (including a triumphal arch of the age of Trajan).
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