The city was founded as Emerita Augusta in 25 BC by Emperor Augustus, making it a pivotal archaeological site from the early days of the Roman Empire. Initially meant to provide a home for retired legion veterans from the Cantabrian campaigns, the area quickly became one of the most important cities in Roman Spain. It was even modeled on the blueprint of Rome itself.
Emerita Augusta was the provincial capital of Lusitania, which covered Portugal and Western Spain. Today, the city is part of the Extremadura region. In its heyday, the city was the center of a road network that connected Emerita Augusta with other major cities such as Hispalis (modern-day Seville).
Over the centuries, Emerita Augusta's collection of buildings and monuments grew into one of the most impressive cities in the Empire. The city boasted three aqueducts, creating a prosperous environment for citizens and traders.
Emerita Augusta survived the fall of the Empire in 476 AD, playing host to a Visigoth king before being claimed by the Arabs in the Middle Ages.