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The Pont du Gard is the highest surviving Roman aqueduct


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The Pont du Gard is the highest surviving Roman aqueduct


It is unlikely that France can be called a country of paradoxes - everything is logical here - but there are still a couple. For example, the southern part of the country can be called paradoxical, in which more ancient Roman monuments have come down to us than in Italy and Rome itself. Not only are there more of them, but also the safety is much better! The most striking examples of surviving structures are the Nimes amphitheater and the Pont du Gard aqueduct, which until the second half of the 20th century was an active highway. To visit this place means to feel the ancient history, to see with your own eyes what will delight you with its beauty for a long time.

Pont du Gard: facts

For a long time, scientists agreed that the aqueduct was built by the order of Mark Agrippa in order to supply Nîmes with water. Recently, studies have been carried out that refuted the established opinion and discovered new facts:

  • The bridge was built in the 1st century AD
  • The aqueduct is composed of six-ton blocks; prototypes of modern cranes were used for moving and installation
  • Blocks were connected without the help of lime
  • The main goal is to provide Nimes with water from Uzes.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the water supply ceased to function, and the structure began to be used as a strategically important bridge: in the middle of the XIV century, it connected Rome and Avignon during the period of the Avignon captivity of the popes.

Architectural features

Who came up with the project is unknown. On one of the arches, the name of Veranius was found scrawled - perhaps someone had scribbled the initials of the architect. The aqueduct is an arcade of 3 tiers, created from yellow-pink limestone. The closer the aqueduct is to the shore, the smaller the width of the arches becomes. In order to get an interesting drawing - the small arches of the fourth floor do not coincide with the larger arches of the third - the builders had to change the location of the slabs. The peculiarity of the structure is that only one of the six supports of the aqueduct is load-bearing, all the rest are for beauty and convenience. This technology gives the right to call the structure a breakthrough in architecture of the 1st century.

Interesting Facts

  • Scientists are still racking their brains over how in the 1st century the architect managed to create such an accurate and technically complex project without modern computer technology.
  • The Pont du Gard is part of a 50 km plumbing system
  • The population of the city, which supplied the aqueduct with water - 50,000 people
  • In the Middle Ages, travel on the Pont du Gard was paid and quite expensive - not everyone could afford to cross the bridge
  • A large-scale reconstruction of the building took place in 1746.

The object belongs to bridges.

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