Pont del Diable - Tarragona
The Mystery of the Devil's Bridge: A Roman engineering masterpiece
A country steeped in history, Spain boasts countless remnants of its Roman past, each with its own unique story. One of these ancient wonders is the Pont del Diable, or Devil's Bridge, a fragment of a grand aqueduct that once quenched the thirst of the Roman city of Tarraco in the first century AD. As we delve into the history and legends surrounding this remarkable structure, we discover a story that intertwines Roman engineering prowess and the allure of mythical tales.
During the time of the Roman Empire, the city of Tarraco relied on two aqueducts, which drew water from the Gaiá and Francolí rivers. The Devil's Bridge, also known as the Les Ferreres Aqueduct, played a crucial role in ensuring a constant water supply from the Francolí. A testament to Roman engineering excellence, this aqueduct spanned more than six miles and wound through a network of pipes and arches.
Built under the reign of Emperor Augustus in the 1st century AD, the Devil's Bridge is a fascinating example of Roman engineering. It consists of 11 arches in the lower part and 25 in the upper part and was built to bridge the Arcs ravine. It is an aqueduct of impressive dimensions, 217 meters long, almost 2 meters wide and 27 meters high.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Devil's Bridge is the legend surrounding its construction. According to local folklore, a desperate builder, faced with the challenges of completing the bridge, exclaimed that only the Devil could build something lasting. In a twist of fate, the Devil himself appeared and offered to complete the bridge in exchange for the soul of the first to drink the water that passed over it. Cunning as they were, the builder and the workers made sure that a donkey drank the water first. Thus the Devil was deceived and the soul of the ignorant ass drinker was spared. This legend, passed down from generation to generation, adds a touch of mysticism to the Devil's Bridge.
Despite the centuries that have passed, the Devil's Bridge still stands proud. The section we see today is just a fragment of the colossal aqueduct that was once about 10 kilometers long. Its impressive state after 2,000 years led to UNESCO declaring it a World Heritage Site, recognizing its historical significance and the technical prowess of the Roman era.
A blend of Roman engineering excellence and enchanting folklore, Tarragona's Devil's Bridge continues to intrigue and inspire. Standing before its ancient arches, we connect with a past that echoes through the centuries, reminding us of the ingenuity and creativity of those who came before us. In exploring such wonders, we bridge the gap between the modern world and the timeless appeal of our historical roots.
A blend of Roman engineering excellence and captivating folklore, Tarragona's Devil's Bridge continues to intrigue and inspire. As we stand before the ancient arches, we connect with a past that resonates through the ages and reminds us of the ingenuity and creativity of those who came before us.
For those who want to see this splendor, the Devil's Bridge can be reached from the AP-7 highway towards Tarragona or the N-240 highway towards Valls.