Roman Aqueducts

In the ancient world, aqueducts were built to convey water from a remote source to a specific location, like a town, city, or agricultural land. If we talk about the primitive form of aqueducts, they were basically used in ancient Egypt and Babylon. And in today’s time, the United States boasts the largest aqueducts. However, Romans were the most famous for building the best kind of aqueducts that were marvels of engineering. Because they were far from being primitive. Said to have had the best engineering skills in the ancient world, the Romans constructed some magnificent aqueducts which helped them get a wonderful water management system for the good of the populations. And today in this article we are gonna talk about some of the best Roman aqueducts which showcase spectacular architecture in addition to fulfilling necessity. 

Over a period of 500 years that was from 312 B.C to A.D. 226, Romans made so many aqueducts and they transported water to several bathhouses, latrines, and public fountains. With time, the designs of the Roman aqueducts only improved. With the water’s nature to always flow downhill, the concept behind the construction of an aqueduct was very simple. But when the terrain over which they had to make the aqueduct became rugged and inconsistent, the job got tougher. So now we will get to the topic of the best constructed Roman aqueducts that are amazing works of engineering and are of great importance. 

Best Ancient Roman Aqueducts That Are Worth Visiting:

Pont du Gard, France:

Photo by: Tiberio Frascari, Creative Commons Attribution Licence

This ancient Roman structure in France is the highest Roman aqueduct bridge. With its impressive structure, a height of about 160 ft, and a length of 900 ft, Pont Du Gard is one of the most well-preserved Roman ruins and also is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its utmost historical significance.

It was built in the first century AD to supply water to the city of Nimes. It crosses the Gardon River in Remoulins, in southern France. Standing at a height of 48.8m and with a gradient of only 1 in 3000, Pont du Gard is a marvel to the eyes. Estimated to have carried 200000 cubic metres of water to the fountains, baths, and households of Nimes on a regular basis, Pont du Gard was so important as a working aqueduct. After the Roman Empire collapsed, it lost its importance as an aqueduct.

Today Its extraordinary dimension and excellent preservation have made it one of the most treasured constructions of antiquity. 

Les Ferreres Aqueduct, Spain:

Photo by: Roberto AI

Constructed during the reign of Augustus, Les Ferreres Aqueduct or Pont del Diable was built to supply water to the ancient of Tarraco which is today’s Tarragona in Catalonia, Spain. 

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this aqueduct is a part of the Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco. It supplied water to the city rerouting the water from the nearby Francoli River. 

Today it is considered as one of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts. The valley on which the aqueduct was built was really steep and that is why engineers had to make it about 27 meter high at the highest point of the bridge. Having a total length of 249 meter, the aqueduct had 25 upper arches and 11 lower arches.

Valens Aqueduct:

Built in the late 4th century AD, Valens aqueduct’s job was to serve the city of Constantinople which is modern-day’s Istanbul. By that time, Constantinople was the capital of the eastern Roman empire. Though the bridge was started being constructed during the reign of the Roman emperor Constantius II, it could only see its completion in 373 when it was the reign of the emperor of Valens. And obviously, the aqueduct got its name after the name of the Roman Emperor Valens. 

Now it is one of Istanbul’s most distinctive landmarks and it is famed for being a part of the single longest ancient aqueduct system that was ever built. This aqueduct was the longest of such a system carrying water for over 250 kilometers. Today there is a section of 921 meters that is still surviving and the Atatürk boulevard passes under the arches of this one of the most famous historical Roman aqueducts.

Aqueduct of Segovia:

One of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts that was built under the Roman emperor Trajan, the aqueduct of Segovia is a construction that is still in use. A marvel of Roman engineering, it carries water for about 16 km from Frío River to the city of Segovia, Spain. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the fascinating facts to know about this construction is related to the materials that were used in its construction. It is amazing to know that some 24,000 dark-colored Guadarrama granite blocks were used in the construction of this aqueduct and that too without the use of mortar. It is considered the most distinguishable symbol of Segovia. 

Aqueduct of The Miracles, Spain:

The Aqueduct of The Miracles or the Acueducto de Los Milagros is the ruins of a Roman aqueduct bridge and is one of three ancient Roman aqueducts that were built at Merida which is in modern-day Spain. The aqueduct was built to transport water to the Roman colony of Emerita Augusta and today a small part of the construction still stands that contains 38 arched pillars. Said to have been constructed during the 1st century AD, the aqueduct is preserved as part of the Merida archeological landmarks as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The second phase of building was done around 300 CE. Built using different materials like brick, stonework, masonry, and natural work – The aqueduct of the Miracles is one of the best Roman ruins too to visit in Spain.

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