The 2017 Year edition of the International Classical Theater Festival of Mérida will be a historic event for Cáparra, a Roman city from antiquity located in the Spanish region of Extremadura. For the first time Cáparra will stage masterpieces of the oldest classical theater festival in Spain.
As a matter of fact this constitutes a leap of the Mérida Festival to the Province of Cáceres. And it adds Cáparra to the existing scenarios of Medellin and Regina, in Badajoz, and the main enclave, the Roman Theater of Merida. These are all places of the Roman antiquity at the Iberian Peninsula, where the spectator can feel the weight of history while enjoying masterpieces of classical theater.
Spectators are thrilled with each performance, which throughout the previous 62 editions have brought together tens of thousands of people that range from serious theater enthusiasts to simple tourists in search for a unique theater experience, since 1933, when Medea by Seneca was staged in a version written by Miguel de Unamuno. The principal protagonist was Margarita Xirgu, an incomparable actress from the Spanish theater.
The Mérida Theater Festival at the foot of the Arch of Cáparra
You are invited to be thrilled at the site of the Arch of Cáparra, while enjoying the staging of a magnificent work of Classical Theater. The only quadric -form roman arch in the Iberian Peninsula is the Arch of Cáparra. You might have learned about this construction in a class of history of art or in textbooks.
It still stands out today, proud, in memory of the city that in Roman times was an important cross roads that facilitated communications on the north –south axis, between Mérida and Astorga, the route also called “Via de la Plata” (Way of the Silver). This construction dates from the same period as the “Bridge of Alcántara”, or the Aqueduct of Segovia, and testifies to the strategic value that Cáparra had in the times of Roman Lusitania, together with Mérida, then called Emeriti Augusta, that boast its beautiful amphitheater.
The Festival of Mérida leaps to the province of Cáceres
The Arch of Cáparra is the treasure of this region and it surprises any visitor to the heart of the Valley of the Alagón River, in the region of the “Tierras de Granadilla” (lands of Granadilla), located in the North of Extremadura, just a few kilometers of Plasencia. Another historic neighbor, Granadilla, which is an outdoor museum, a must for any visitor, also shares touristic interest.
The Festival of Classical Theater of Mérida thus becomes an excellent opportunity to discover many jewels in the north of Extremadura, which is a region in Spain west of Madrid and borders with neighboring Portugal. In the middle of summer it also offers numerous bathing places in natural, river and reservoir pools that complement the stay of visitors. The Theater Festival starts in July at Merida, but the first performance in Cáparra will be in August. To enjoy Classical works under the stars and the moon at the recently restored Roman Theater in Cáparra will surely be memorable.
This program is a commitment by the “Direccion General de Turismo” (General Tourism Directorate) to convert Cáparra into the fourth venue of the International Classical Theater Festival of Mérida, following the restoration of the site by Government of Extremadura with the collaboration of the Council of the Province of Cáceres.
planVE la guía de ocio de Extremadura
Original article by Merche R. Rey
Translated by Susana Windt
Published in July, 2017