Alcántara Bridge - History of Puente Trajan at Alcantara

Alcántara Bridge (Puente Trajan at Alcantara) is a Roman stone arch bridge spanning the Tagus River at Alcántara, Spain. Its architect was Caius Julius Lacer and it was built between 104 and 106 CE on the order of Roman Emperor Trajan from 98 CE. It iwas built on the road that connects Norba (Caceres) with Conimbriga (now the Portuguese city of Condeixa-a-Velha). Bridge is 194 meters long, 8 meter wide and its height is 71 meter. It has five pillars, two supports and six arches between them (some of them are 30 meters wide). At the center of the roadway is a Triumphal Arch. On it are two marble plates.

Alcantara Bridge

One with the date of construction and devotion to Emparer Trajan that says: “To Caesar Imperator, son of divine Nerva, Nerva Traianus Germanicus Datius, Maximus Pontifex, Tribunitia Potestas for the 8th time, Imperium for the 5th time, Pater of the Patria” and the other that says “Pontem perpetui mansurum in saecula” (I have built a bridge which will last forever). During time, Alcántara Bridge suffered more damage from wars than from weather conditions. In 1214, smallest arch on the left was destroyed by Moors.

Alcantara Bridge Gravure

It was rebuilt in 1543 using the material from the quarries that were source of the original material. Spanish destroyed second arch on the right twice. First time in 1760 to prevent Portugal invasion (after which Charles III, King of Spain, repaired it in 1972) and the second time in 1809, during the Independence War between Spain and France, it was blown up to cut off the French troops. It was repaired in 1819 but that repairs were made to be only temporary.

In 1890, the Queen Isabel II used mortared masonry instead of the temporary repairs and fixed the bridge. The bridge is still in use.

Name: Alcántara Bridge
Other Name(s): Puente Trajan at Alcantara
Country: Spain
Crosses: Tagus River
Location: Alcantara, Cáceres, Spain
Type/Design/Architectural Style: Roman bridge, Arch bridge, Stone bridge
Material: Stone
Designer/Architect: Caius Julius Lacer
Width: 8.6 m
Total Lenght: 181.7 m
Span / Longest Span: 28.8 m
Number of Spans: 6
Height: 45 m
Construction Begin: 104 AD
Construction End: 106 AD
Heritage Status: Listed as cultural heritage since 1921
Coordinates: 39.7224, -6.8924
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Alcantara Bridge  In The Penny Magazine 1935
Alcantara Bridge Or Puente Trajan At Alcantara